Saturday, June 12, 2010
South Africa: Day 3/4
The only word I can come up with to describe this day. Here I sit thousands of miles from home, on the continent of Africa, in a small hotel room that just happens to be only about 200 miles from where my brother and his family are. Tonight, I will sit by myself in this hotel room and watch my brother and nephew on a 13-inch television screen.
Probably not the way most of you imagined I'd be spending this day. But that's sur-reality, I guess. In a way, I wish I'd figured out a way to get to the match, but in a way, it's probably better for me to watch it alone.
I keep telling myself, it's just a game. And I know it is.
Meanwhile, adventure has kicked in for me. I'm in the township of Polokwane, which used to be known as Pietersburg. The driver who has joined me out here could not be nicer. We had a great chat and I learned a lot about South Africa and, believe it or not, there's a lot of issues here that mirror those in the States. Things like illegal immigration. He explained to me that a number of folks from Mozambique and Zimbabwe make their way to South Africa to become day laborers on farms and on constructions sites. Many risk their lives to make their way across the border.
"Some come by way of the river and are eaten by crocodiles," he explained. "Some come by land and are eaten by lions." He explained how many of these people are willing to work for 70 rand a day (about 10 bucks) and put in more than a full day's work.
Anyway, not going to get too serious here, because I've lived a virtual Bloopers Video here in South Africa so far. You heard about the monkey/pigeons growling outside my window in Johannesburg, well that was just the beginning.
Yesterday I had my first freakout moment when I thought I'd lost my passport. Understand, I'm about to embark on a bunch of travel and losing a passport would be catastrophic. So, I went nuts. I checked the pocket of the jeans I "knew" I'd worn the night before. Nothing. So I began to turn my hotel room upside down.
I saw "another" pair of jeans, but I "knew" I had not worn those the night before, so I emptied my two suitcases and my laptop backpack (that was ugly, sort of like when Brodie cut open the shark's belly in Jaws and the unthinkable appeared). No passport.
More on the laptop backpack in a minute.
Now, the 9 a.m. bus was leaving for the stadium and I was, well, panicked. I went down to catch the bus and was told there'd be another leaving at 10. I did not say a word to anyone about the missing passport, but simply said I'd take the 10. I repeated the process described above. Suitcases emptied. Crap strewn everywhere. No passport.
I mean, there was still that pair of jeans that I "knew" I had not worn. Well, what the heck, at this point, I figured I'd check them even though I "knew" I had not worn them. Well, what do you "know." There was my passport. Sigh of relief.
Meanwhile back in the laptop backpack, I was a bit disgusted by all the crap, so I went to cleaning it out. First time in a while. Nice clean backpack for my travels.
So, with my nice clean backpack, I took off for Polokwane and when I got here, I took out my laptop and prepared to do my workout DVD (stop laughing), the DVD would not go in the slot of my MacBook. What the heck? Well, turns out in my nice, clean backpack there was an old hotel keycard that somehow found its way into the disc drive.
Now my DVD doesn't work. The lesson I learned is, don't clean out your backpack.
Peace everyone. Go USA.