Bad Day – Jo`Berg, South Africa

Warning: This is not an uplifting or inspiring entry so if you have a weak stomach, turn away. If you are having a nice day, you may not want to spoil it. But if you are having a really crap day week or month like me, then read on baby, cuz misery loves company.

Well, the flight went ok for the most part. I mean, it was only about an hour so how bad could it have been. First thing that went wrong is when I walked up the wrong passageway to get out and realized it after about 5 mins of walking. I felt a little silly as I tried the locked door. I felt alot silly when I turned around and found that I had quite a large following. About 30 people (sheep) herded back down the plankway grumbling and groaning.

Next I could not get help or information from anyone at this airport even tho I didn`t feel unsafe at anytime despite Johannesburg being one of the most dangerous cities in the world. I thought that if one more person brushed me off or gave me wrong directions, they had better be afraid of me cuz I would make that danger stat a little more warranted.

Finally I got picked up by the backpacker landrover and whisked off. I found that the three guys that were checking in at the same time as I were old Buccaneers guests. They remembered me but unfortunately having names like Matt, Joe and James made them a little more generic.

We had a great night playing pool in the bar until I tried to sleep. They were pretty much snoring in unison…so much for my “abnormal dreams” promised me by the anti malarial meds (in prep for the heavy malarial zones I am heading into next week) I had taken earlier. There was to be no sleeping in that room so I ventured out and about in the deserted hostel. I listened to a few cat fights outside but other than that pretty uneventful.

Laid around all the next day until I got motivated to go get some shopping done. Drove through the city center on the way there and was surprised to see that it really wasn`t as bad as everyone made it out to be. I mean, I was waiting to see the war zone people had warned me of but really it was more like downtown LA. I didn`t see anything that menacing. Then I was also in a vehicle so maybe thats why.

The mall was a cutout of any westernized mall I had ever been to and I found most of what I needed. Then I ended up waiting for two hours to get picked up but the hostel owner never came. I was not a happy camper. I was there on time and even asked someone who was waiting if they had seen the vehicle but they said they knew the one I was talking about but it hadn`t come. So I waited. And it got dark. And the mall closed. And I couldn`t get anyone to give me the phone number of the place or even a phone book.

Jo`berg is full of the most unhelpful people I`ve seen since crummy Athens. Hum…that was about a year ago…maybe it`s just my timing. I can`t believe I did this next thing but I was hungry, tired and grumpy. So when this decent looking couple asked me if I needed a ride I just sighed and jumped in (sorry mom). I had tried to find a taxi but there were just none around. So next we drove around trying to find the address or get directions to the hostel but nooooo…ofcourse no one could help.

So we drove around and around the mall carpark until we found a taxi who had to ask someone else for directions. Anyway. I finally did get home 80 rand later (I know I got majorly ripped off because it was only a 5 mins ride) and angry as. When I confronted the owner, he just casually brushed me off (like almost every other JoBergian) and said that he was going to send someone but it must “slipped his mind”. Um. Yah. Ok. Nice one.

My only suggestion for anyone going to Jo`berg is: make sure you don`t expect service with a smile…they haven`t quite grasped that yet. Stay in Pretoria which is only only half an hour away and much much prettier, safer, friendlier, cleaner, and helpfuler (I know its not a word but it should be).

So I did get to Pretoria yesterday and actually got a very decent night sleep (yes, the abnormal malaria dreams kicked in full throttle) because as they were fully booked they put me in my own little cottage. I ended up getting a Dutch roommate called Irene (yep, another one) who was really nice and YAY! didn`t snore! Even tho she left at 530am for a tour she was quiet as a mouse so as not to disturb me. Sweet.

This morning I was up in a great mood until I found that there are some major emergencies at home. So I tried to go to the Canadian Embassy but it closed about 3 mins before I got there. So really things are not happy at the moment in Carmellaworld.

I have been warned time and time again that I should just skip Jo`berg but rather than the threats of being filleted and raped and pillaged, I am more in danger of the psychotic and suicidal side effects of the anti malarial pills I am taking. Ok. So just breathe. All these big mean guard dogs that keep barking their heads of at me as I walk down the street had better watch themselves because at this point, I bet I could give them a run for their money with the mood I am in.

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