Remember that one time I had a mid-life crisis and booked a ticket to Africa?
I've been back for 48 hours and part of it seems like it was just a vivid dream. Now that I'm unpacked, cuddling with Mace, and burning a Christmas candle - it feels distant and secondary to how good it is to be home.
The other part of me wants to go back asap. Not to Jo-burg (definitely not to Jo-burg, we'll chat) but to the road and who I am (and who we all are) when we travel; humble, brave, a perpetual student. Traveling allows you to be inspired, excited, and return with pen pals from around the world. Hi Bror!
But how bout I get on with it and show you some pics?
My favorite thing I did in Johannesburg was go to the weekly Neighborhood Market - a tip I picked up from a NY Times JoBurg travel guide and it didn't disappoint.
I was TERRIFIED to go though because, well, Jo-burg was scary and shady as f@ck.
Upon leaving Houston I wasn't scared. I'm well traveled, my brother had given me a low down on the South African economy (if you know him, you'll understand this), and I'm a former city girl, how bad could it be? Immediately upon boarding the plane and telling my two seat mates (both native "African Americans") that I was rolling solo, however, their nervousness for me was palpable.
I will say once I arrived at the market, and the other handful of destinations I visited, it was fine and I could breathe deeply. But from what I saw in the backseat of the car that I'd hired through the hotel, I was scared. Before I'd leave for the day I'd take my case off my iphone. My money out of my wallet. I'd prepare to be mugged and only brought what was truly essential - yet ample enough for my prospective mugger (that son of a bitch) to have something to "take" and not search me for.
It wasn't just me. For a quick while I was with a trio of strong, Aussie, sailor "mates" in their 20's and their precaution was equally strong. (Hi Matt, Matthew, and Nick!)
The market though was FANTASTIC. The first floor had different types of food from around the world while the second level had a bar and a handful of artisan booths.
This seems weird.
I have no idea who this guy is but he seems awesome.
I was assigned a white ticket.
Apartheid Museum entrance.
I was in Jo-burg for three days so I'm not about to pretend like I'm an authority on race relations there. I'll just say it I felt uneasy about it and during "the bush" part of my trip I learned firsthand (well secondhand I guess) about the inequality of pay between whites and blacks doing the exact. same. job. We may have a gender pay gap but its way less overt then what's happening in South Africa.
Let's end on a high note though - The Salvation Cafe. The food and ambiance there, and the entire 44 Square warehouse block in general, was worth the 16 hour flight.
Tomorrow I'll post my safari pics because that's the good stuff.
Back to the grind for me. =(