Arrival to JoBurg’s airport was not a biggie, pretty extensive immigration lines, but luckily there was not much going on. Got my passport stamped and visas issues, changed some money to have for tips and looked for my driver to take me to my hotel and my new home for next few weeks until my company arranges for the apartment. I truly expected the airport to be chaotic, full of people and up to teeth armed gun guards and army personnel. Before I left Jane (our political and world issues, world travels and news guru) told me about it from her own experiences, but nothing like that! I the midst of little madness I located my driver whom I found very interesting and my FIRST REAL South African person to whom I could talk to! Well what an opportunity!!! I think I questioned him almost on everything just get the glimpse of the “true living conditions” of some of the less privileged folks!
From what I gathered in those 15 minutes, that he is from Zulu tribe, that Soweto is a fun place to go and more importantly where the “old man” (Nelson Mandela) was born, that he did not like that the “old man” allowed all the immigrants from other countries to come with such ease, as they take all jobs for so much less money than the “south Africans would”, that he was not much fan of Zuma the current president because of all the corruption in his party and the mystery of poor wages and huge rewards for all the big CIO’s (seems to me as ALL people may have a problem with the way CIO’s get rewarded NOT just me!), then he told me he worries for his job as there is not enough jobs for all folks and they are very poorly paid. I could sense the frustration with the system and the fact that there is NOTHING he could do about it, just hope for better future. I know he was very much looking forward the world coup and he said though it appears as the economy may improve for the folks, he said it will ONLY improve for big companies as they will monopolize the market and they will not care or give to the ordinary folks...simple conversations like these this just keep me in check every day how blessed we are!
While chatting with him, looking outside of my big safe caravan transport I saw large and huge city spread in front of me in between rolling hills, glittering lights in the background, lots of steaming and interesting billboards and commercials, 8 lane highways, fancy AND expansive looking cars, shacks on the side of the road, mad people running in the middle of the highways (never figured out why), scary looking wild faces searing into the window of the caravan at the stop lights, making me cringe every time our eyes met as if they were the hunters and I was the pray, who knows perhaps I was just tired after long ass flight, perhaps I was overwhelmed with the polarity and the unmistakably HUGE gap between the poor and rich, or whatever else, but I was glad when I finally arrived in my hotel. I wondered afterwards, if my driver found me a very annoying American chick or if he thought I was truly and generously interested to suck up all the knowledge out of him because I wanted to learn and live South African!
Regardless, I was glad to get to my hotel, where I was greeted by glass of champagne and lovely happy wide open smiles and white teeth folks. Got a lovely room on the top floors overlooking Sandton and after a dinner in a Thai restaurant I completely blocked and passed out from all the travels and emotions of the day. YAH just to wake up at 2AM not being able to go to sleep…Ahhh I just LOVE jet lags!