Homeward bound


1/13
Drabby morning in Durban today. Got all my stuff packed and had some time to dwell on the last 18 days a bit. I had the whole wing of tekweni backpacker place all to myself. Was pretty nice. If you are coming thru Durban, Berea area is definitely a good spot to stay. The Internet as well as the power plugs were both occupied so I didn't get a chance to send one last holla at my peeps. Lee came by around 10ish to take me to the airport. He's been a doll this whole time. People really do more for each other here. It's amazing. Or maybe it's just him. Everyone seems to know the guy. A connector in his element. Nomzani. We had time to kill so we went to the gateway mall - Durban's largest shopping mall, equipped with skate park, climbing wall, putt-putt, big wave machine, IMAX, musical theatre, among other things. Epic place. SA sure love their malls. Had pretty damn tasty bruschetta, bought some souvenirs, drooled over this pair of hot heels from iron fist (not available in nyc) , etc. Blasted deepdish gu 21 disc 1 - rapture on the way to the airport. One of my fave house tune of all time. Coincidently, we have the same CD & like the same music. What are the chances. Got to the airport ... low n behold, lee surprised me with the shoes I drooled over earlier. Omg. Total left field. He said it's his investment for free place to stay when he visits NYC. Haha. Play on, playah.

I had some logistics problems earlier so i'm flying out of Durban via this airline called 'mango' instead of SAA. Bright orange plane. There are a bunch of these domestic airlines available. Still not cheap tho. Durban - jo'burg is only about 1hr, followed by 4 hrs overlay, and 17+hr to JFK via Dakar. At least it's not a full flight. Then 2 more trains to Penn station to connect to subway to Port Auth and then a bus to 'boken, if I don't get a ride. Ugh.

I can't seem to find my USD stash anywhere. The last I saw of it was in port st johns. Some douche baggage people prolly took it or I burried it somewhere else I now forget. Bummer. Given how thoroughly careless I have been with all my shit on the trip, I'm actually surprise that's all that was lost.

A random airport woman came by to do a survey with me about the trip. She asked what was the most memorable thing. I couldn't really pick one. Everything was memorable: the landscapes, the animals, the traveling, packing n unpacking, the food, the parties, the little girl at the church, embracing the unexpected, meeting people, sharing past stories and present experiences, and making real friends.

It is so easy to get into a groove at home, rollin' with the same crew, doing the same things. Not to say that's bad. I love, love my friends and my life at home. But traveling alone does bring an all new perspective to life. It forces you to be self sufficient, to be aware of your footprints and your destinations. It questions and challenges your current moral values, your view of the world, and all the material possessions you have. It makes you truly appreciate the journey that is life, and whatever comes along the way. 


South Africa is the shit. I'm in love.

 

(Next big trip? Probably SA again. Honest. Wanna come? Holla!)

...

Logistics helper. Google is your friend.

South Africa Airways. There is direct JFK-JNB flights from $1000-$1500 as well as numerous domestic ones.

Other domestic airlines are Kulula, FlyMango, and I forget one other one. .. They are not cheaper than SAA but sometimes you can score deals. Airlines are totally reliable. Actually all transports between cities are. SA people are usually on time.

Exchange rate was R7.50 / $1USD .. A beer cost about R10 (same as soda, weird..) and food in a nice resto range from R40 - R120. Dorm bed at backpackers cost R100-120. All are in good conditions. 

BazBus: Backpacker's way of traveling around SA. For one weekly price (R1350) you can do hop-on hop-off at various backpacker destinations along the coast.

Best way to travel around SA though, is driving. There are plenty of the usual suspect car rental places. You'll definitely want a GPS. Roads are awesome but petrol stations may be far away in some areas. They drive the opposite side of the US. To go even more rugged and economical, bring a tent. Loads of camping to be had. Most backpackers have campsites available with full bath/kitchen for R40/n.

Lonely Planet - South Africa, Lesothos, & Swaziland book, 2008 edition. Usual indispensable.

There's no good way to get your shitty American phone to work in SA so pick up a local phone at VodaCom if you need it. Cell network is good.

Use your head when deciding on the malaria meds. I didn't take any. Just sprayed a ton of deets. Those meds make you craaazy.

And no, it really isn't that dangerous if you are smart about it. Don't get racist like the book says. Except for maybe in downtown Jo'burg .. lol.