Sunday, December 13, 2009
Adventures in Africa, Let the Games Begin!!
So...my trip to Africa has begun - and it would not be a trip of mine without a little adventure, and the adventures started before the plane even took off the ground in Atlanta. http://www.youtube.com/ATLtoJoburg Due to my flight delay out of Atlanta, I missed my connection from Joburg to Durban; my travel partners were successfully rebooked that night, but I was not. The taxi driver took me to the hotel the airline offered, and after seeing the gates, bars and getting that "bad-not-so-safe feeling", I promptly asked him to turn around and take me to the Intercontinental Hotel that I spotted on my way out of the airport. The Intercon was a breath of fresh air (beautiful, new city), and I got a nice work out in, a good 3 hours of sleep, and conveniently walked across the street to the airport at 5:45 in the morning (notice how light it is there that early). http://www.youtube.com/JoburgtoDurban I arrived in Durban, South Africa, to see the opening of the first Hooters in all of Africa. I was greeted by Jono - one of the Directors for the restaurant, resident expert on all things Africa (the man has more knowledge about more things than anyone I know!), he is also the unofficial Mayor of Durban. As we drive down the street, he yells out "how ya doin' mate!" to everyone - and he knows them by name! Security officers, street sweepers, shop owners and more - it's awesome, and makes me feel very much at home! After dropping my bags at my hotel (another Intercontinental...theme on this trip, as my Hotel in Rwanda is the former Intercontinental as well) - we go to see the restaurant (before the big party that night). Jono introduces me to GoGo...which means granny in Zulu...she has worked for him for 18 years in many of his businesses - she is a kind woman in a long skirt and a black Hooters T shirt. We visit the restaurant, she begins cleaning and making us coffee while Jono and Ox (one of the managers), give me an official tour and tell me about their challenges and successes in getting the restaurant ready. There is a saying in Africa "TIA"..it means This is Africa - it's an expression to remind you that things are different here, less high-stress, lowered sense of urgency, and just a different way of doing things. Like any continent, one country or culture does not describe the entire place, but throughout South Africa, this culture of TIA is particularly visible. TIA is also a reminder to chill out, don't stress, and go with the flow - as one must remind oneself when trying to open a business here! I can't wait to see how everything operates tonight at the opening party!
Posted by Kat Cole