Day 6, Johannesburg

Originally posted 1/7/18


A few things about Johannesburg that I don't think I've gotten to mention yet:

1. Johannesburg is the capital of South Africa. It is a large urban city where a lot of people live, work, shop, to go school, etc.

2. Soweto, the other city I keep mentioning, has the same kind of relationship with Johannesburg that Minneapolis has to St. Paul.

3. They drive on the left side of the road here.

4. Johannesburg is commonly called "Jo-burg". It is pronounced exactly as it is spelled. Jo-han-(like "hand") es-burg.

Jackie and I spent our last morning with our host family sleeping in. After a late breakfast, we headed to Soweto to meet up with Makgotso’s brother, Moeketsi (Moh-ket-see) and several other family members for a Braai (rhymes with eye). Moeketsi's family was hosting two of my classmates, and his daughter was also hosting two of us, so we got to catch up with a few of our friends while doing food preparation.

A Braai is a weekend barbecue with family and friends. Thanks to friends I have from Zimbabwe, I knew about the idea of Braai, but I’d never experienced one before. The main components of a Braai are lots of family, lots of friends, and lots of food. Everything was delicious, and I got Makgotso's recipe for creamed spinach to make when I am back home.

We got very close to our family in the span of two days. Jackie and I both agreed that saying goodbye to our mom and dad (as we call them out of respect) and Nkuli and Ayanda was one of the most difficult things about the trip so far. We have promised to keep in touch, and to call them and visit if we are ever back in Johannesburg.

After making a van trip around Soweto to pick up the rest of our classmates from their families, we spent the night back at the guesthouse, packing for our flight to Windhoek, Namibia tomorrow morning. It was nice to be back somewhere familiar, but still bittersweet to have left our families.

My last night in Johannesburg was a little frustrating on several accounts. Vegetarians are not common in South Africa. Typically at meals, there is a meat entree, a starch (usually rice), and a vegetable side. The women who cook the meals will point to the rice and the vegetable and tell me that those are the vegetarian options.

Don't get me wrong, rice and vegetables are fine, but all I've been craving since I got here is grilled cheese. That will likely be the very first thing I eat when I get home.

Couple my “h-anger” with no running water in the guesthouse, and some WiFi connectivity issues, and it had been a very long day. Good parts and bad, but in all, very long.

We're on to Namibia tomorrow! It'll be an early morning wake up to get everyone to the airport, so stay tuned for further adventures!