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First impressions of South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA | Wednesday, 19 February 2014 | Views [404]

My first opinion arriving in South Africa, disappointment! I was picked up from the airport in a car, not on a giraffe and then we drove down man made roads, not across open plains. We even passed shops and building with electricity. White people walked alongside black and restaurants sold steak and chips and pasta. Crazy!

I’m not really that naive but it’s funny talking to people about what I’m getting up to because people seem to forget South Africa is just another country and not another planet, and there is more than poverty, war and HIV. Sure it has its floors, big gaping ones that anywhere else wouldn’t be accepted but it’s a country trying. Unemployment affects 30% of people and you presume they’re not trying to better this, you presume until you see people in uniforms everywhere. They have men pumping gas at petrol stations, men guiding you out of parking spaces, men at helping you reach ticket barriers from your car window and the women help in the homes. Everyone has a house keeper or live in maid/nanny, which gives women a chance to earn a living too. Compare that to England who have replaced people with talking machines, who are we to pass judgement on unemployment, at least they’re trying and they do it with a smile on their face.

So not really disappointment when I landed, excitement. So much to do and see. I mentioned it wasn’t another planet but there are some strange going ons. A man shaving his armpits at the crossroads, the traditional carrying of bags on their heads but not as you’d imagine. Suitcases, supermarket bags, not pales of water or baskets of food. After all we are in the city centre.

Stalls line the pavements, selling an array of fruit and veg, as well as tax disks and pirate dvds. So yes, the same planet but a million world away.

Each night, storms erupt in the sky and the lightning burns up the clouds to leave a clear blue canvas for the sun to float in front of the very next day.

Apart from the animals then what else is there to do...oh the list goes on. You could shop away all your money, or you could save it and lay on a sandy beach. Fill your brain with African culture or fill your belly with fresh cuisine. You could volunteer with children or take a walk through the botanical gardens where you can head north to get a magnificent view of Africa, giraffes and everything.

Tags: south africa, travel

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