We finally arrived in South Africa after the 10 hours flight from Amsterdam, the longest flight in my entire life. At theJohannesburg airport the customs and immigration procedures were possibly the quickest and esiest that I ahve ever experienced. Unfortunately the exchange banks were out of Rand at the airport and we decided to take care of that later. We had no problems working with the white Afrikaner rental employees, until we had loaded all of our luggage into the new Ford focus and realized that for some reason the car was not picking up speed like a regualar car. As soon as you took your foot off the gass it would stop completely. After driving a ways on R24 towards our hostel for the night we stopped at a red light. When we stopped a plume of horrendous rubber smelling smoke engulfed the car from behind. What was burning rubber? We soon realized that we had been driving with the parking brake on! Quickly release, we were well on our way.
We stayed at City Lodge, a very plush, under-construction hotel in the Johannesburg area. As far as I was able to see in the night Joburg is a large industrialized city like any other – the only difference may be the strret signs, languages spoken, and the zebra striped curbs. I have much more to write about the first week here and pictures to add – the internet at the Zonkizizwe library is extremely slow and I hope to find a faster connection soon! All is well in South Africa, check back for more updates.