“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss
We’re back on African soil! It has been an incredible 3 months backpacking through Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil. Every country was so different and we had so many unique experiences. It’s difficult to say what the highlight of the trip was, because to me the whole trip was one big highlight!
Our flight with SAA from Sao Paulo to O.R Tambo was a comfortable 8 hour journey. When you walk out the plane they always seem to purposefully make you walk through the 1st class section to let you see what you missing out on!
The security seemed more strict at Joburg Airport than usual. When we landed, a policeman with a sniffer dog came onto the plane and we had to walk past many other security guards with dogs before customs. We thought these were extra security measures because of all the important people entering the country for Madiba’s funeral, but apparently they always double check flights arriving from Sao Paulo because of the high drug risk. We didn’t see any famous people at the airport and it was not at all as busy as what we were expecting.
We spent two days in Sao Paulo before our return flight. Ibirapuera park is apparently similar to New York’s Central Park and has beautiful, huge trees with comfy benches. The Afribrazil museum in the park is also interesting. Hostel Paulista, where we stayed, was in a nice area and had good facilities. They recommended that we go to the Mercado Muncipal Food market where there is lots of local cuisine and colourful fruit.
Brasil is soccer! I even started taking a liking to soccer. We visited Sao Paulo’s soccer museum and stadium. Very cool! The museum has all these interactive displays, mostly in Portuguese though. They are obviously excited to host the world cup next year. We were impressed with the city’s public transport system, and, their coconuts were cheaper than in other parts of Brasil. (Big smiley face.)
Tata Mandela was all over the news and on magazine covers in Sao Paulo. We were quite chuffed to tell people we are South Africans and everyone said something in Portuguese to us…but Nelson Mandela were the only words we understood. It was a bit embarrassing sitting in a restaurant when they broadcasted the news about that atrocious sign language interpreting at the memorial service! Jonathan, one of our friends wrote this about that incident: “Faking sign language is like rocking up at an ANC event, grabbing the mic and shouting molo wolo polo, funa wuna, faga gaga, putu pap wena ka pela or whatever. I’m finding it difficult to find a stupid equivalent.” I thought that was quite a good comparison.
Brazilians are really friendly. The one waiter ran to another shop to buy me a coconut because they didn’t sell any in their restaurant. That was nice of him.
Our time in South America has been unforgettable! It’s so lekker to be back in South Africa though. We ate braai-vleis (barbecued meat) and cupcakes tonight with the family. Earlier today Marc and I got so excited when we saw South African flag stickers on a car. (We temporarily forgot that it’s not abnormal anymore.) It’s also good to hear South African languages and South African accents again! I almost hugged this lady in the mall today who was speaking Afrikaans with a strong “Cape coloured” accent. (Not sure if it’s politically correct to say coloured?) Anyway, with all its kak and drama, we have a great country and it’s good to be home.