Wait We Are Moving Where?! Journey To Johannesburg Pt. 1
Updated: Jun 23
Contrary to what others may have thought, I was not excited when Rickey said that we would be going to Johannesburg, South Africa. Not beyond my ordinary ambition to travel and see the world. I've been traveling worldwide ever since I was seven years old, and I've visited 24 countries. South Africa would have already been included in that number if I hadn't been 7 months pregnant with our daughter Rain on the trip my husband, youngest brother, and father took to Port Elizabeth only 6 years before. Unlike most of our previous vacations, I did not plan anything. I arranged the flight and accommodations per Rickey's request, but everything we would do during our vacation was entirely up to Rickey. I hadn't even spent time looking up photographs of Johannesburg. I merely checked the weather forecast so that I could pack appropriately. When we boarded our flight, to my surprise, it was completely full. Who knew so many people wanted to travel to Johannesburg, South Africa. Though I could not tell the nationalities of many individuals on the flight I heard a British accent here, a US accent there and every now and then an indistinguishable accent or dialect. Skin tones varied from white to brown or dark brown. When meal service came through the isles I would get a better idea of what cultural influences were on the flight based on the food selections available. To my surprise there was an Indian dish. I hadn’t considered that many of the brown skinned individuals I was surrounded by were Indian but now that I absorbed my surroundings I realized I felt as though I had flashed back 7 years and was on a flight to Hyderabad. As we woke up and straightened our seat backs in preparation for breakfast before landing, the sun shone brightly on my skin. We had traveled through the night and into the break of dawn after a 16-hour non-stop trip over the Atlantic Ocean. Rickey was in a deep conversation about black Israelites with the African-American gentleman next to us who was journeying with a friend in hopes of purchasing land after being scammed in Ghana, purchasing land from someone who did not even own it. It looked like the dialog was happening more so by force than choice so instead of joining in I buried my head in a book I had brought and kept distracted until we deplaned.
When we entered the airport I was shocked. It was just like an international airport you would see in the States. The language translations were different but still everything was listed in English first. We made our way to the luggage bay and stepped outside to grab an Uber. It was dusk by the time we stepped into our driver's car and began the journey to our hotel. The first thing I looked for was the wide open park land like we had seen coming from the airport when we traveled to Nairobi, Kenya. We had seen lions, zebras and gazelles only moments after leaving the airport and I ignorantly assumed I would see the same in Johannesburg but I didn't.
As we drove I couldn’t help but notice the small homes we passed as we went to the hotel. They were a bit rundown, but not unlike a rural town you may see on the southern belt of the US. The only difference was that instead of a line of rundown trailer homes, my visuals were lines of shanty homes. As we continued to drive into the night's light we strained to look around even more as the buildings and homes seemed to be getting larger and reflectant of architectural engineering that I hadn't expected. It was… beautiful. We started to pass by high rises that lit up the night skyline and I realized I was in a part of Africa I had never been told about before. I was in Johannesburg, South Africa. And it was Amazing.