Posts Tagged ‘south africa’

Location: Jo’burg, South Africa

 

I had a few hours to kill before dinner and my brother was taking a nap, so I decided to grab a light lunch of instant noodles, cookies and other nutritious stuff at a corner store. I looked at a map, tried to get directions from the front-desk people but they were no help. “It’s too far! You should take a taxi!”

“But it’s only 1k away! and it’s lovely out! I want to walk!”

“Oh no… You shouldn’t do that. Take a taxi for anywhere outside the compound. We’ll call you one.”

“No thanks.”

 

Because I’m an idiot, I totally ignore them. Leaving with just a little bit of money in my pocket, I set off down the road towards the corner store that I found on google. I left a note for my brother:

“Hey fathead,

I’m going meandering. If i’m not back by 4pm, I’m probably dead- but you’re my beneficiary, so….yay(?)

Love, LN”

 

I should note that I found out AFTER the fact that Johannesburg doesn’t have the best reputation for being safe. During the fact, I could tell this as well- as all the houses were in compounds with electric wires running around their property or broken glass on top of the walls and all the “No Trespassing!” and angry dogs that seemed to be everywhere.

 

A security guard at a hotel waved me over. I walked over and greeted him with a big smile. He asked where I was going and what I was doing. I told him I was looking for instant noodles and cookies and motioned towards the corner store that I saw down the street. He looked me up and down and said “take off your watch and hide it. Don’t talk to anyone.”

huh… ok.

I did what he said and continued walking. I finally get to the corner store. It’s a tiny little cubby of a store with 1 isle and a freezer in the back. (In Latin America and NYC they call these Bodegas). I’m walking through the store and a guy approaches me and starts questioning everything about me as if he’s a 4-yr-old.

“Where are you from?”

“Why are you here?”

“Do you like Nigerians?”

…..what?

Apparently this guy was a Nigerian. He apologized for his accent because he was raised in a french colony and speaks quickly. He informed me that he’s an engineer and “totally trustworthy!”

Then he proceeds to open up his jacket, like the “store” guy in Resident Evil, and show me every single drug you could imagine.

“Hey sister. Do you want anything? I have it all. All great quality! You can trust me, I’m an engineer! Smack? Acid? Hash? Rocks? Molly? Morph? Xan? Hero? I got it all.”

“No, thanks. I really just want cookies.”

“I have those, too!”

“Do you have lemon-flavored ones? Because these (points to some on the shelf) look really good.”

“Nah, mine are better, though.”

“I believe you, I mean, you’re an engineer, but I think I’m going to take these. Thanks so much for the offer, though.”

“No problem, sis. You have a great day.”

 

It’s a shame, really. Part of me wanted to find out what the hell he was talking about- but the other part of me wanted to get the hell out of that store ASAP— ignoring the fact that he was (obviously) SUPER TRUST WORTHY.

 

Advertisements

Most people are terrified by the thought of getting close to Great White Sharks. (Not to mention PAYING to get close to them)

But why???

Movies have given a harsh prejudice against Great White Sharks- which I would like to address today. Listen to my experience cage diving with the Great White Sharks off Gansbaai, South Africa.

I want feedback! Give me your comments, questions, concerns. What do YOU want to hear?

Send me an email at LN.Lurie(at) yahoo.com

or tweet @hydrix13

Thanks to John Williams for the Jaws soundtrack and Dexter Britian for his music contribution.

Listen to my latest episode!

Ah, Cape Town.

I feel like I have lived, died, got reborn, and lived again here. Between love and fear, the past 2 weeks have been a roller-coaster of emotions.

Love: 

I adore this city. It reminds me of San Francisco, Baltimore and Melbourne all mixed into 1. Sometimes I’ll turn a corner and something will be there that will remind of something else. Either which way, Cape Town reminds me of some cool places.

There is a cat in the Hostel named Kai. He’s ginger, just like the Whore. He’s stupidly needy and cuddly and I will constantly find him in my backpack, bed, etc sleeping. He makes me happy.

The community and dancing and singing that goes on in this city is just miraculous.

The interest in where I’m from, what I think of Cape Town, the city itself is astounding! Never have I been in a place and able to communicate so clearly what I think, feel and how I act and feel like I’m understood. I’m also having fun learning Afrikaans (I made sure to learn all the cuss words first).

I’ve met some friends (mostly South African), and have spent a great deal of time with them. Cooking, talking, sharing, exploring the city, sharing languages. Hearing their stories. Their fables. Their good and bad times.

I am constantly reminded that THIS is the reason why I travel. 

Of course, with it comes the flip-side of the coin. The fear. 

I was mugged a few days ago. And while this wasn’t my first rodeo- this WAS the first time I fought back/ran after the guy and got everything back. (phew). But the damage to my ego and trusting myself was done and I had to get over that.

So I forced myself to take short walks when the sun was out. During these walks, I had day-mares of what I SHOULD have done. How I should have attacked him/countered the attack. These day-mares would be so graphic, I would have to duck into a coffee-shop and take a breather. These visions have subsided, thankfully, because I learned to re-trust myself and my instincts and be more aware of how I look. (Which- is still white, curly-haired, girl…. but I can’t help those things.) I smile broadly, say “hello!” and wave and strike up more random conversations with people.

The other thing I’m scared of is Ebola- which, to be honest, is a RATIONAL fear! It’s a virus. A really bad and deadly one. Let me educate you on what I know about Ebola:

1) It’s super contagious (through blood/blood spray)…. or monkey meat, apparently.

2) Eventually, your body, essentially, dies and you just become this shell of a person. (read: Zombie). Your skin is ashen, your stupid sick and your body is oozing blood (because the virus needs to take over something else…. fast!)

3) The biggest Ebola outbreak has killed 1300+ people in 2014. It used to be 100% fatal, but in the recent weeks there are some cures that seem to (HOPEFULL!) work!

For the 10 nights straight I had dreams of Ebola. Someone in the backpackers vomiting all night and I go in to ask how they are doing and there is blood every where and they are ashen/zombie-like. I take a picture of them (with the phone that the mugger did NOT get!) and shut the door immediately and tape it with duct tape- careful to not cut myself or expose myself in the process. I text the picture to the health officials and tell the hostel owner that he needs to evacuate everyone immediately. I get all the HEFTY plastic bags out of my suitcase and wrap myself in plastic and don all 4-pairs of rubber gloves and condoms that I can find and tape everything down with plastic-tape. I go towards the door and interview the guy on tape: “How long have you been sick? Where did you come from? What made you sick? Where all are you bleeding?” etc.

I send this information to the health officials, as well and wait for the Hazmat suits to get here.

I wake up in a cold sweat. it’s 4am. I use the internet (because that’s peak times to use the internet!) I try to go back to bed, it doesn’t work. I go for a run and watch the sunrise over the cape and the tide swells and my breath gets taken away again by the beauty of this city that I forget everything all over again. My heart feels light, my head is clear. The sweat from my run gets taken away by the tornado-like-gusts of wind that Cape Town gets, I get goosebumps. Every bump is a memory of good, bad, indifferent… A story.

Ek Glimlag.

 

This is why I travel.