Arriving in Johannesburg
Just like that we are off again! Can you believe that we spend nearly 3 months in Europe? Nope, me neither, but I can tell you all now it was truly brilliant. I barely had any free time to blog and to be honest I wanted to use this time wisely spending as much quality time with my family and friends as possible, oh and also TRAIN FOR KILIMANJARO which we will be starting Jan 1st 2020… Christ, what a month we have planned!
So, back to present day, we have now arrived in Johannesburg and apparently, it’s usually a very very hot section of the country but rains for about 10 days a year… guess what? It’s the week we arrived, oh, and it’s freezing. It was 35 degrees on Tuesday and when we arrived on Wednesday it was 13! 13 degrees, thank good god that we were in Scotland just beforehand as it was bloody freezing there as well, so we built up a resistance.
I’ll tell you a little about the flight, as it wasn’t super eventful apart from the fact that I forgot that I had a lithium battery in my case and as I am so terrified of flying, after checking in and sitting waiting to board I had a full blown panic attack and made the Emirates staff get my case back off the plane. Yup, I was that person. Not my finest moment but Leo made up for it by getting wasted on the free booze and spewing at the end of our first flight to Dubai. Couple of the year award definitely goes straight to us! What I will say about Emirates, all jokes aside are that their standards a have dropped significantly. I remember it used to be warm towels upon arrival into the plane, lots of snacks along the way and various people constantly asking how everything was… and now it’s pretty basic and more of a help yourself if you really need to kinda scenario. They have unfortunately lost their podium title with me after that flight.
Dubai made up for it with their strong WIFI, excellent amenities and even though we had a 4 hours over night stop over still found the time to piss around and have a Maccas at 3am. It was great – well done Dubai Airport!
So, after 19 hours we arrived in a cold Johannesburg and after a power cut which stopped our baggage carousel for an annoying amount of time we got our act together and were ready to explore. This week we are staying with family which makes things easier (much easier) as I don’t know how I would feel arriving and making it around here on my own just yet. Still feel like a child who has left home for the first time after spending so long with my parents again.
I have literally so much to write I am bursting at the seams but I will begin with – our first day was excellent! It was raining and cold but our fascination for the culture and history of Jo ’berg saw us head out on a tuk-tuk tour of Soweto. Once home to Nelson Mandela, Soweto Township is a fascinating urban settlement on the outskirts of Johannesburg and is full of history and culture, so it seemed like a great idea.
Oh, and it was. We wanted to see the true African life up close with no filters and had heard that there's no way to do that in the city unless you go to Soweto and see for yourself – so we did!
Soweto itself is huge, with a population of over 1.3 million and an area of about 120km square. We learned it initially sprang up during the Witwatersrand Gold Rush to house black mine workers who were forbidden from living in the city center due to South Africa’s strict segregation policies at the time.
The tour started at the main Soweto market in the centre of Kliptown where we learned about the Freedom charter- statement of core principles of the South African Congress Alliance. We learnt that the symbol ‘X’ stands for freedom and is very important to the people of Soweto as it was what was used to make your mark when the vote was opened for all.
In case you fancied a read, here is a synopsis of each of the clauses, which list various rights and stances in detail.
As I said, I have so much to say so I will continue this on the next blog.
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Hey! I'm Ally. I left the UK in 2011 to move overseas and ended up in New Zealand - my new home. This year we are taking a gap year to loop the world stopping in some AMAZING destinations - and I'm passionate about sharing these adventures with you!