So it’s been 1 week since I got to South Africa. Actually a bit more if we want to be strict about it. 1 week in South Africa seemed like a long time but the truth is I felt like I’ve just been sitting on a bus the whole time! South Africa is so huge that it takes so long to go everywhere. It also has so much to offer that the more I read, the more I feel I don’t have enough time to do anything!
I am writing this from Durban. So I’m doing this in reverse. This is the 4th city I’ve been in and for the first time felt that I got off the bus. I landed in Johannesburg where I spent 3 days, then 4 days in Kruger Park, then finally 1 night in Pretoria before heading to Durban.
Durban is one of those amazing modern cities where you have the beach (one mile long) and a thriving cityscape for background! I was reminded of hip and happening Tel-Aviv, Lima, and Rio De Janeiro.
It already made huge impression on me because it has an amazing bus system. Unlike Johannesburg where it’s impossible to go anywhere without a car. And because it’s so huge, taxi out of those suburbs are quite expensive. I like it when I can get around a city by myself. This is when I feel that I’ve experienced the place.
Today, I took the People Mover Bus Service to the Victoria Market. I love markets and would generally visit the one in the city, especially when it has a cultural value. Durban has a huge Indian population and this market supposed to be interesting. But apart from the Spice Lady near the entrance, the market inside is not that interesting. The area that surrounds the market is like Divisoria. And by that I mean, Made in China clothing and stuff. Anyway, I bought some spices to bring home, which I’m sure I can easily get in the Indian town in Manila. And here I have to lug it for the rest of my trip. Finger’s crossed they won’t explode in my bag.
What’s curious about my experience today is that everyone stared or called out to me. This occasionally happens to me when I’m in a country where Chinese (or Asian) isn’t the predominant population. In Joburg, my friend there told me that politically (or technically), I am considered black. Well, I guess not in Durban! I was walking around half the day before I noticed that there were not a single white person anywhere. I saw 1 Chinese store inside Victoria Market, but other than that, I understand why I stood out like a sore thumb. Anyway, I was not scared or anything. I don’t mind the staring, but I’m very annoyed with those who yelled out stupid garbages. Those I encountered in the stores, restaurants, or strangers in the streets who said hello politely were okay.
In fact, I am super thankful to the girls who work at LegIt Fashion on Dr. Kaseme Street. I forgot my iPhone when I walked out the store and did not realize until I’m about to hopped on a bus. This has been 15 minutes or more. I was already a couple of blocks away and had been sitting in the bus stop for some minutes. Panic stricken, I ran back retracing my steps, luckily it is just one street. I had to popped in a couple of shops to see if the store layout was familiar because I didn’t know the name of the shop. And when I got to LegIt, the lady guard waved for me to come in. While the store looked familiar, I was not sure if this is the shop. She then told me, “come in, come in, you are looking for something.” Oh my god, I almost cried. This is the familiar feeling of happiness and gratitude, like when my passport was returned to me in Valencia, Spain.
So anyway, I have one more day in Durban and will explore the beach and the stadium. Maybe visit a nice mall, try some bunny chow, and just hang around. The sun came out today. I’ll be back soon to update what happened in Joburg and Kruger.
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