I’d like to start by saying THANK YOU to every single person who donated to my fundraiser. You made this throbbing head and achy body possible!
I kid. Seriously, thank you for believing in my goals for this trip and for supporting me in this way. You are what literally got me here. I know not everyone was able to donate, so special shout out to everyone who has sent me words of encouragement over the past few months. It has meant the world.
To all, I’m inspired by your generosity and kindness. I can’t wait to continue sharing all that I learn with you. Thank you.
Four pilots, 11 flight attendants, two movies (HIDDEN FIGURES WAS AMAZING!!), three rounds of walking up and down the aisles, three meals, two hot towels, and two sunsets later, we all arrived safe and sound without a hitch at Johannesburg airport.
By the time we stepped outside, at about 6:30 p.m. local time, it was dark. Don’t forget, it’s winter here in the southern hemisphere.
We met our tour guide and took a 45 minute bus ride to Sandton, where our hotel is. It’s is known as the most affluent suburb of Johannesburg (henceforth: “Jozi”). Or as the slogan goes, “The richest square mile in South Africa!” Not sure why this is where we’re staying, but on the way there the guide did talk a lot about safety.
Through the dark we could see the sparkling lights of some of Jozi’s tallest buildings in the distance. We also drive right along the edge of the township of Alexandra, separated from the road by a wall. The homes on the other side, the guide said, belonged primarily to blacks. In the early 1900s, the government designated Alexandra area as part of the only 13 percent of land in the entire country where blacks could own land – known during apartheid as “homelands.”
Today, South Africa’s government is seeking ways to speed up the post-apartheid reparation promise of giving blacks more ownership of land. The challenge is that this also means someone is going to lose land – white South Africans. You can read more about this tricky process here: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-safrica-land-explainer/explainer-south-africa-aims-to-expropriate-land-without-compensation-idUSKCN1GQ280
Now, I’m hurrying off to get ready for our first full day.
Trivia Challenge: How many cups of coffee will it take to get over this jetlag?
The way my body is screaming right now I’m guessing many a cup.
It’s not like I haven’t traveled to this time zone before. Paris is apparently in the same time zone. I usually adjust there pretty quickly, hit the ground running. The tiny difference is that it doesn’t take 15 hours to get to Paris from the U.S. east coast. It does take 15 hours of flying to get to South Africa.
Forgive me for belaboring this point, it’s just that I’ve never been on such a long flight and I’m a nervous flyer. Yes, odd for someone who travels so much. I agree. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
To be honest, the flight was nowhere near as dreadful as I imagined it to be. I know for a fact, I am so excited to be here that this jetlag will fade into the background soon enough.