This post is long overdue.. I have been back home for some weeks now. But since I went for work, the report for my boss was a bit more pressing than the blog post :-)
I had been to South-Africa before but it was almost 9 years ago so I knew I was in for a treat – but that a lot must have changed in the meantime. For someone that lives in Sub-Saharan Africa, South-Africa is heaven. It is the best of both worlds: the comfort of Europe and the beauty of Africa.
I must admit (shame on me) that I had not been to Johannesburg yet and I had a bit of prejudice about it but boy, was I wrong! It probably helps to see the city through the eyes of ‘locals‘ – who then also happen to be extremely friendly and the most efficient colleagues. A modern and big city but it still felt comfortable and cozy, it did not have the atmosphere I expected from the biggest city in SA.
I had one morning off before my flight to Cape Town, to drive a bit and to visit Maropeng, the cradle of mankind, beautiful and interesting. The link to Olduvai Gorge, which is in the Serengeti, was an added interesting bonus to me. The exploration of the caves where the skeleton was found, was actually kind of fun, I felt like a kid on an adventure. The exhibition afterwards was diverse and entertaining and I actually learnt a lot. I would never have chosen this excursion myself but now I would most definitely recommend it to others. Working in tourism is a perk, you see places you would not chose and they surprise you immensely:-)
And then there is of course Cape Town. I was very much looking forward to visiting Cape Town again and it did not disappoint. I noticed that a lot of high-rises and new buildings had been added, partly due to the FIFA world cup 5 years ago of course. Obviously, I enjoyed good food and shopping. Well, if you give a girl a hotel room at the waterfront, on her one day off (that happens to be her birthday) during a summer sale.. what do you expect? I even met up with an old student I used to teach in Leuven. That was an unexpected and nice reunion.
Actually, Cape Town always reminds me a bit of Knokke. And Canal Walk reminded me of Wijnegem. I guess the Belgians will know what I mean.
Travelling for work sometimes feels like a pity because you would prefer to enjoy and experience it all in the company of your family (I guess it gives me a reason to go back), but the big advantage is that I get the greatest hotel rooms – I have to be careful not to get used to that sort of stuff. And always conveniently located. (I admit it is easier to show up at the office in a good mood when your breakfast was served and you were not stuck in traffic.) And before you doubt whether I worked there at all.. I did! And it was most useful. And fun. Love my job, apparently also when I do it in other countries.