• Joanna

My Adventurous Last Day

Updated: Mar 21

After the thrills collected at the mall had subsided and the fun had run its course, David headed to meet his new Nomad tour crew and I called an Uber to take me to my new BnB... Doveton House.

Located in a very posh part of Johannesburg, as well. I felt very elite.

It was exquisite.


I had a gorgeous, spacious room on the 2nd floor with a balcony that overlooked the pool, very much in the style of Romeo & Juliet. If I had hair, I would have let it down and allowed someone to climb up, Rapunzel style.


It was beautifully furnished en suite bedroom. Fashionable, yet upgraded slightly from where I call home, to consider itself a ‘home away from home.’ (Their words...) 

I have been so lucky with the bookings I have made in South Africa. Most of them really make me question if I even belong there. Most of the trip, I have been dirty and wearing sweat infested clothes. Sandy, dusty shoes. Big backpack. Canvas over the shoulder purse. Nothing about me screams money or style... or luxury.

I had made a request to leave my bags in the office after check out, as today was my big “not so extreme sports” bike tour. I was being picked up at 9am to journey to Soweto to end my African “adventure” with a 4 hour bicycle trek/tour.

Soweto is an acronym derived from “South Western Township” and is considered the mother of all townships, with a population of 1,271,628. It was created in the 1930’s when the White government started seperating Blacks from Whites... 

Stood on the heartbreaking spot of the 1976 peaceful protest/youth uprising and even ventured as far as to see Nelson & Winnie Mandela’s house ❤️

Although you are surrounded in some areas by such poverty and filth, the community co-exits in unison. History. Shantytowns & Slum. Middle class. Extravagance & affluence. Equality. Community. Love. Happiness.  They have a common goal to build a bright future... together.

Shanty towns and slum dwellings suddenly become fancjy and grandiose homes, depending on where you are. There is everything from kids selling candy bags, eggs and cigarettes underneath an umbrella, beside a mud puddle. 

Paved roads become cobblestone which suddenly morph in to dirt roads, eventually become litter infested streams of mud winding their way through shanties housing impoverished families. Roofs of asbestos still remain to cover some of the slums, regardless of the fact that there were supposed to be removed after Apartheid ended in 1994.

The government had made promises to build new housing for everyone in Soweto, but unfortunately they never got around to it. Building seemed to cease soon after Nelson Mandela’s presidency. In one of the townships, the government received a large tenement building, meant to house 500 people. When it came time to move in, they asked the people if they would wait until the 2010 FIFA was over. All was fine. After FIFA was over and the people were ready to move in, the government slapped a charge on to all of them. This caused much uproar considering all other townships had received free upgraded housing prior to this. The building has now been empty for over 10 years now, as the community sticks together and everyone refuses to give in.

There were 4 of us on the tour.South African girl who seemed nice, but nervous about being on a bicycle. Sounds like me on a quad.A arrogant Ukrainian who decided that our tour would be a good place to start handing out his option on the politics that go on regarding Soweto. The guide was getting quite visibly upset, and the rest of us had to step in and remind him that “this is not the place.” 


That’s exactly what I look for in a bicycle tour... opionions on communism, socialism and fascism.


And last but not least, a pretentious little American shit. I love how Americans will give you the exact location of where they are from.“Los Angeles, California, United States of America.”

Someone asks me, I simply say,

Vancouver.


From there, I let them determine on their own that I’m from Canada. If they’re confused as to where Vancouver is, I step in and help with location. If they express even more interest, I let them know that I’m actuallly from a smaller town outside the city.


It’s how I roll


He is currently doing a flight around the world... in 6 weeks

South Africa, Korea, Japan are his only stops... that’s it. I asked him if he chose those countries because they’re on his bucket list.He responded that he’s 24 and hardly needs a bucket list yet.


Pretentious. Prick.


Bucket List” is a manner of speaking.

Winnie Mandela in the Background. Nelson & Winnie’s house. He only stayed here 11 days after being released from jail though. Too much paparazzi. Then he let us know that he’s staying in 4 star hotels and each tour he’s booked, he’s been the only one on the tour.

You’re 24. Don’t you think you should be trying to make some friends and sharing experiences with others like you?”


No response. I suspect he has a difficult time making friends. There were other incidents that he had to fact check us all by pulling out his phone and proving to us that what we said was wrong... which is always a good time in a casual conversation. All in all, I think we probably did about 3-4kms on the bike, as we kept stopping to listen to what the guide had to say about the area.

There were a couple times that he gave us “8 minutes to look around” when we were in the middle of nowhere and there was really nothing to go see. We caught on real fast though when we realized that he was sneaking off for a cigarette!

When the tour was over, we made our way back to Ledo’s backpackers and we all go to sit around and enjoy a sip of the fermented beer that they used to make way back in the day. It was not bad actually... but nothing that I would feel compelled to drink every day.

Back at Doveton House, I fell asleep by the pool for a bit. Then I rearranged my pack and called Uber to come pick me up for the airport.

It was 6pm... and my flight was scheduled to leave at 11:58PM.

As soon as I walked in to the terminal, I was overcome with such exhaustion that it was difficult to even try to keep my eyes open.

I was too early for check in, so I sat down to have some pizza and wait a bit. A bum sat beside me with he intention of stealing my purse, but was soon shoo’ed away by worker and management. I thought it was rather amusing... and watched him the entire time, waiting for what his strategic move would be.

PS- it’s an ugly, brown canvas purse with straps going around my neck.He would have had to have stolen me as well.


My final goodbye to the fabulous weather. Finally the hour came where it was acceptable for me to check in and I rid myself of that stupid, heavy bag.  Wine time... I found one place in the entire airport that was licensed... and I ordered it. Perhaps there were more, but I was too tired to keep looking. I actually couldn’t even finish my glass and I drifted in and out of slumber on top of my iPad... head down in the airport lounge. Finally I just got up, left my wine and made my way directly to my boarding gate. Passed out on the chairs there until they started making announcements to board. Everyone is warning me to stay away from home right now... and if I could financially make it work, I would continue my adventures. I will be arriving in freezing temperatures, snow, wind... without shoes... I dread the cold... but right now, I dread the 26 hour travel I have in front of me. The plane food, my motion sickness, my restless legs, my attention deficit disorder, the cramped area in which you have to accept, the potentially strange people next to you...

When you leave Africa, as the plane lifts, you feel that more than leaving a continent you’re leaving a state of mind. Whatever awaits you at the other end of your journey will be of a different order of existence.” Francesca Marciano

Goodbye Africa....

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