After sixteen hours of in-flight entertainment, bilingual exchanges, and surprisingly edible meals courtesy of South African Air, I have finally arrived in South Africa! As expected, Johannesburg is unlike any city I have ever seen before. For the next two nights I will be staying at Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers, an incredibly welcoming and historically rich hostel that offers great company, food, and city tours. I could not have asked for a better place to stay during my first few evenings outside of North America!
Although tonight mainly provided an opportunity for us to unpack and unwind after a long day of traveling, I have already begun to meet new friends and learn a bit about South African culture. Two of the hostel employees, Kuna and “X”, showed us around the camp and acquainted us with several designated “chill spots” where guests can choose warm themselves by a campfire during these rather chilly winter nights, enjoy a game of darts, or even watch a soccer match from a treehouse! I’ve also met a few young tourists who are staying at the hostel along with us, including some from Southern England who were spending their summer holiday exploring all of South Africa. Their Essex dialect was not the only type of international speech I became acquainted with, as Kuna and “X” taught me my first word in Zulu! “Hello” translates to “Sawubona” when greeting a single person and “Sanibonani” when greeting more than one person. I cannot wait to learn more about the language and culture of the fascinating Zulu people!
I may take a moment to relax at a chill spot and enjoy the company of my fellow travelers for now, but I look forward to documenting all of my experiences in Johannesburg tomorrow!