We were now on our second flight and southbound to South Africa. We spent our 8 hours eating, drinking, watching movies and attempting to sleep. It was the sort of night which afterward seems more like a confusing blur than anything tangible. Still, it wasn’t all that bad.
We landed in Johannesburg and thankfully we were not too grumpy or tired. We picked up our luggage from the carousel and proceeded to get money and change to call our hostel for an airport pickup. We had chosen an hostel close to the airport since we would be leaving for Cape Town in a few days and there was nothing in Johannesburg that interested us anyway.
Bob from Bob’s Bunkhouse came to pick us up and brought us to the hostel. There, we made many discoveries about Johannesburg, and South Africa in general. This was based on the hostel, but also who we met there and what we saw walking around the neighborhood.
- Johannesburg is like a fever. It’s burning hot in the sun and frigid cold in the shade and at night. Indeed, at this time of year it’s about 26C during the day and 5C at night.
- There is no such thing as heating in this country. It’s called putting on more layers / blankets.
- They love rugby.
- You can’t really buy water at most stores – just drink the tap water instead (it had been a while!).
- Even if you drink 5 liters of water you’ll still be dehydrated.
- Most tourists come to volunteer or work in some capacity.
- A “good” neighborhood still feels dodgy for us Canadians.
- Every house has tall fence, with electric wires and/or barbed-wired on top of the gate. Then, every window and doors also has a gate.
- When I first read about “security measures” in our guidebook, I thought that it was against wildlife: it’s not. It’s to keep people out.
- It’s scary out there. Unlike other countries where people will rob you and not harm you, here everyone is afraid of getting killed (while getting robbed).
- We don’t really like Johannesburg.
- We should have flown straight into Cape Town instead.
We spent the evening talking to fellow travelers and watching rugby on Bob’s massively giant projection screen. We found a super tasty burger joint close by and drank our first bottle of South African wine (in SA). Finally, after such a long day, it was time to go to bed.