Obama vs. Mandela

… or how about Good Morning, South Africa!

After a bit over 50 hours of travelling, Lindsay, Nani, Joanne, and I are finally reunited! But why did it take us so long? Well, while their travels seemed to go according to the plan, mine didn’t. But I can’t quite complain. After a 9.5h flight from Seattle to London, I arrived to Heathrow being waited by Monica, learning some hours before that my connecting flight had been delayed by 12 hours (which would add to a total of some lovely 22 hours of layover). After checking in an the Renaissance Hotel (a very decent choice of British Airlines for its grumpy passangers), Monica took me to the city.

Needless to say, coming from an unusually sunny and warm Vancouver, I wasn’t quite prepared to deal with the snowy London, and as such neither was I dressed properly. Although I had several layers on me, the lack of a hat took its toll… forcing me to accept Monica’s generous offer of wearing her *pink* toque. Did I look ridiculous? I surely did not care a penny.

After dragging myself to see some points of interest in the thamsian wind, and had a great time in not one, but two London pubs, I finally crashed at my hotel. Few hours later I was on a half empty plane to Johannesburg (the reason for the delay was ” last night we were short of one of aircraft” — umm, what??), which meant I had an entire 10-seat row all to myself. At my height of almost 6’5, that was a blessing that made me indulge myself to a 9h sleep and a 2h movie  (“Loopers” — combined with the Malarone, the anti-malaria pills I’m drugging myself with, it might give you hallucinations or nightmares).

Arrived on the Or Tambo Airport in Johannesburg, I quickly passed through customs and immigration, picked up my luggage (probably the fastest ever) and started looking for my friends. They were all supposed to arrive in the same time with me. After not locating each other, I found my way to the shuttle area (long live the self-requested $10 bill that still makes wonders among the local porters, these largo factotums of the Johannesburg airport).

I ws picked up by a very nice man working at the Europrime Guest House Hotel, who apologized for the small delay of our drive: he had to pick three other hotel guests from a nearby restaurant. Apparently it was the third attempt in doing that. I was the lucky three ride, it seemed, as the three white South Africans finally decided to leave their long list of alcohol-flavored bottles and joined me and the driver in the mini-van, thus sharing the not-so-pleasant vapors of happiness. Nevertheless, they were extremely friendly and colloquial, and even offered me, upon arriving to the hotel, to join them in trying their local specialty of a South African brandy. Blaming it on my jetlag, I politely declined.

Soon after, Lindsay, Nani, and Joanne arrived (it seems at the airport we missed each other by a hair), and the music team decided to go for food. We arrived at a nearby club that would still serve freshly oven-made pizza even after midnight (the club looked like any other fancy North American club), and for R189 (about $23) we enjoyed two large pizzas. These were no ordinary pizzas, I may add : how could one even think of such banality, when from all the choices, we went with one large Obama and one large Mandela? Just on a side note, Obama was a little to spicy for our taste buds to finish it. And while Mandela needed perhaps a little more salt, it was rather delicious.

Here is to a new day in Johannesburg, where our journey begins. It’s just past 8:00 of a sunny and crisp morning and I can’t wait to have breakfast. Our first concert is tomorrow and we can’t wait to get things rollin’.

NB: while I have tried to attach motivating pictures describing all the things I mentioned above, the Internet connection is waaaay too slow for that. I’ll try again later.As always, if you have anything to say, I’m all ears!




One response to “Obama vs. Mandela

  1. The “pink hat” picture would have been fun to see 🙂 I’m glad you are there, safe and sound, and already with some interesting stories to tell. Have fun with your first concert in South Africa. I’m guessing the audience is in for a huge treat!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s