Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Post Scriptum (after South Africa).

A final post on South Africa; this one from Nairobi Airport where there is free wifi (just like at Kigali Aiport). Schiphol, Newark, JFK, Heathrow, and all those other European and US airports: do you hear that! Free internet!

In contrast to many people Roy and I did not have a pre-organized trip in South Africa, did not fly from city to city, and did not stay over in hotels. First, this was much cheaper. Second, because this was for both me and Roy the fourth time in the country we felt comfortable not knowing where we would end up the next day. Ex post we are so happy we did this; we have slept in so many different places, met such nice and friendly South Africans* and were able to experience part of their lives.

In Durban we stayed at a nice B&B where a young couple just started managing it and did everything to make us feel at home. In Plettenberg we had one of those real backpackers places. In Capetown we slept in Kathryn’s living room and met her friends. In Bloemfontein we lived in an Afrikaner family’s house with the rest of the family. In Amanzitoti we stayed in an empty backpackers where the owner lived as well. In Uitenhagen we stayed in a beautiful B&B, and in Pretoria we stayed with Jaap and Dora where we were received as their lost sons.

All these people were so hospitable and with all of them we talked much - and often until late in the evening. It helped a lot that Roy and I speak and understand Afrikaans. There were two common themes. First, people perceive the state of South Africa to be worse since 1994: crime and corruption were the keywords. Second, the World Cup is seen as having brought black and white closer together. Now let's hope it is enough and that it will last. Anyhow, it was really special for Roy and me to have been part of that! Also, a few more days to go and the Dutch will have the Cup.

* That is, we have met and interacted mainly (and unfortunately!) with white South Africans.

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