Please read experience (1) & (2) before moving to (3) as it is a series of events…Enjoy 😉
We finally made it to the airport 17 minutes before the gates close, we were running & running and it only got better when the security check point was beeping uncontrollably while we were passing through it, I had to take off my shoes, my belt, my earrings, loooots of things…Might seem frustrating, but I’ve got to admit that this was the BEST part of the day, it felt like if we were part of the famous AMAZING RACE show, it was absolutely AWESOOOOME. While checking in and getting our boarding passes, the guy at the counter asked us with astonishment “Why are you soooo late?” we told him that it’s the damn company’s fault, we asked for a ride at 5pm while they insisted on 6pm as they claimed that the airport is close by & the traffic would be prefect by then. From his tone we could feel that we missed our flight again, and we’ll spend another day from hell in Nairobi, but luckily he smiled and said “Relax, don’t worry, the plane is waiting for you”, in the back of my head I was like “What, the plane is waiting for us??? Seriously ? I feel so important” and yes we were relieved after he told us that they were waiting for us, the plane was waiting for us,hahaha. Ok, I felt like Pffffff, South Africa Babyyyyyyyyy!!!
The flight was much better than the one from Cairo, comfortable chairs, lots of space, the food was delicious, everything was great, but as usual I couldn’t sleep much, though dead from exhaustion, I have no idea if my insomnia had to do with excitement or with the fact that I am not a big fan of sleeping inside a moving vehicle.
And now we landed on the South African territory, Jo’burg to be more precise, I could feel it in my fingers, could feel it in my soul that a life changing journey is about to begin. A so clean airport, but not special, it’s not a Schiphol Airport style -Amsterdam Airport-, the thing I noticed was the wrapped screens that they will be using for Commercials to promote for the 2010 World Cup that should be held in SA. I took 250$ out of my hidden pockets in my backpack very carefully, as I was freaked out from all what I’ve read about SA’s lack of security, gave them to Dr. Mohamed for exchange at the Bureau de Change which unluckily was closed. Wally & Emil were waiting for us, took us to Avis Cars Agency at the airport to pick our rented cars. The guy working there was a sweet heart, seems like south africans have potential ;). We all headed to the garage to pick a Hyundai & a Toyota. I went with Emile & Christine in the Hyundai, Magdi & Dr.Mohamed with Emil in his black EOS car, Karen & Sarah with Wally in the Toyota and the journey began. It was too dark to see how Jo’Burg looks like. Half an hour later we were checking in at Randburg Inn that wasn’t fancy which isn’t really a concern, we are the kind of people who aren’t fans of luxury, what else could we need but a clean bed, bathroom & good eatable breakfast? Wally & Emile left to sleep over at a friend’s place. I shared rooms with Karen, once we got in we unpacked & slept like a ROCK.
We woke up the next morning around 8am, packed, and got ready to leave. We had continental breakfast, I actually had a very healthy breakfast Yogurt mixed with Paw Paw & Red Guavas, it was my 1st time ever to see and try those guavas and second for the pawpaws, the Red Guavas are VERRRRY DELICIOUS. Emil joined us at the table along with his gorgeous friend who rents lenses and camera equipments, he kept telling us about what we should taste in South Africa, he was specially speaking of their national alcoholic drink “Amarulla”, I have to admit that later on when I saw how the bottle looked like I wished that I wasn’t a Non-acoholic person, hahaha. I had Marulla drink though, the fruit from which the Amarulla is made.
Wally paid the bill, we hurried out of the restaurant towards the cars, Emile, Wally & Emil stuffing the bags inside the cars, we the girls taking photos of the surrounding area, mainly the hotel and the buildings around, we didn’t cross the fence that surrounded the hotel, then Wally & Dr.Mohamed decided to go the bank for money exchange, they were really late, I have no idea for how long but I was worried and thought they were kidnapped as the bank was being robbed by burglars or something -again fears from what I’ve read about SA’s lack of security. They were finally back & we were SOOOO ready to go.
On our way the 1st thing I noticed that there was south african beggars in the streets, as well as people selling nuts, caps, flags, anything & everything. Our 1st stop was like 15 minutes from where we started. We stopped at a Gas Station. Gas Stations in SA are way more bigger than Egypt’s, more fancy & tempting, you can waste a hell of time inside in order to buy snacks. Freshly baked cookies & pastries everywhere, chocolates & energy drinks half priced from Egypt’s. I bought myself a Muton Curry Pate -Lamb Curry Patte AWESOME- that Wally suggested, an Energy Drink, Biltong (South African Pastrami that Wally & Emile tried to persuade me that it’s the best south african snack, but I didn’t like it at all, I’ve tried ostrich with barbecue sauce and gazelle, but sorry guys it’s YUUUUK!) & Energy Raspberry candies, a pack that contained fruits -apples, a pear & a banana-, a Ginger Cookies sachet -the BEST GINGER COOKIES I’VE EVER TASTED- & a Vodacom Sim Card -an SA line to get in touch with my folks-, my snacks were very safari & adventures oriented :D. Everybody got himself enough snacks to be ready for the next 5 hours drive to Phalaborwa.
SA highways are totally different from Egypt’s, other than being too damn clean, you see greenery everywhere, and by greenery I mean plants that are green, not mostly grayish -Egypt residents you know what I mean. The ramps were extremely high going up & down all the way, I was a bit concerned that the cars won’t be able to run over those ramps. The city seemed to be very nice and clean, people seemed to be civilized, it looked like Europe that I only see on TV & that I have never been to – by the time I wrote these stories, I haven’t visited Europe yet, but now I have visited 8 European countries. The weather seemed to be not bad at all; it was sunny, a typical summer day. Suddenly the weather totally changed; as we were driving it was sunny, on the left there were grey clouds, on the right it was SHOWER RAINING, then it was no more sunny, there was lighting -not similar to the one we have in Egypt, you know how it looks like in movies when you see those lines of electric charges? This is how it was- and thunder -usually i get really scared I was literally petrified, it seemed like the end of the world, like we would be swallowed by the sky. On the way I saw one of SA’s football stadiums; I was really glad and hoping to see them again live in 2010 SA World Cup. There’s always Rainbows after the Rain, and that was it. We saw like 4 or 5 Rainbows, it was something that we Egyptians have never experienced. We stopped again in a Gas Station, and bought some more snacks that I didn’t include in my diary (so I don’t remember what they were). But while arranging one of my drawers back in Egypt I’ve found a receipt from Belfast One Stop from which I bought Homebake Pies that cost me 12.75 Rands -I really don’t remember at all.
We went on and on and on, it was a 5 hours drive. We were having fun, talking every now and then, Dr. Mohamed & I completely stunned & admiring what we are watching all the way, Wally bragging about his homeland, & Karen telling us about the beauty of nature in the US. It began to get dark, not because we were close to sunset, but because of a fog. Hell it was scary; it was intense to the extent that I bet that Wally wasn’t able to see anything while driving. Seeing forests was the most exciting moment to me, I was day dreaming of seeing them live one day. Extremely tall trees, a looot of them, hundreds sitting next to each other maybe even thousands.
We were sick of sitting in the cars, so wanting to start our Photography Experience, our Expedition. And FINALLY Wally pulled over, I thought it was another stop & didn’t dare to ask, since I didn’t wanna know that this is another stop. The view was a bit scary, we were surrounded by the bush, entering a wooden yet fancy house. A woman was waiting for us, with 2 dogs -I am one animal hater who feels uncomfortable in Pets’ presence, specifically dogs licking hater-, 2 teenagers – a boy & a girl. They welcomed us & Wally told us that this is the lodge where we are going to stay. Suddenly I was in another world that took me to survivor TV show, I was SOOOO EXCITED, I’ve heard and read about lodges but never been to one. I felt like we are in a Scary yet Suspense Movie where the kidnappers would hide in the bush around the lodge and the hero will come out of nowhere to save the hostages -hahahaha, i am hallucinating. It’s time to get some good sleep…
( More photos will be posted to the upcoming posts 😉 )