Sunday, 29 December 2013

First thoughts on re-entering a developed country

I am currently on a little holiday in South Africa!  It’s very exciting and there is a lot to look forward to, especially as my parents are arriving here on Thursday.

We left a hot, dry and dusty Chad on Friday lunchtime.
Take-off from N'Djamena
26 hours, 3 planes and 1 hotel room in Addis Ababa later, we arrived in Durban.
View from hotel in Durban
I’d been told that Addis was fairly developed compared with Chad, and my first thoughts as we descended into Addis in the dark was ‘wow, there are so many street lights!  Obviously no electricity problems here!’ 
On descending into Johannesburg (short stop before the last flight down to Durban) my first thought was ‘wow, it’s so green!’
On arrival into Durban our first port of call was the beach!  Yes the beach!  Coming from Torquay where I would see the sea on a daily basis, living in a land-locked country for the last 7.5 months has meant I’ve missed seeing that blue expanse and the white crested waves.  Although it was about 7pm we still paddled as the water was so lovely and warm.
Today has been my first full day here.  I am spending a few days as a lone traveller before my parents arrive and am loving it!  My hotel room has sea views which are amazing and I’ve enjoyed just being able to walk up and down the promenade, take in the views and experience the South African holiday vibe.  The weather is warm but humid and it rained today too.  I enjoyed sitting out in it as it wasn’t that heavy.  I’ve walked a little into the city and came across a supermarket.  The choice and range of stuff available was immense and slightly overwhelming.  I bought a random assortment of things – mince pies (Rebecca made some in Chad which were great but when I saw them for sale here I had to taste more!), a twix (you can get in Chad sometimes but usually melted and re-solidified, was nice to have one of factory quality!), a can of pepsi max (my favourite soft drink, can’t get it in Chad), two bananas (staple fruit for me in Chad, buying them is a habit now) and a bottle of water (I am so used to drinking litres and litres of water a day that I’m getting really thirsty here).
Having a holiday where your starting point was a developing country means what you do on holiday, and what you consider ‘holiday treats’, is going to be different than normal.  I am looking forward to hopefully getting my hair cut, buying new flip flops, buying new clothes, getting gifts from home via mum and dad and just being able to relax with no heat/sweat/dust getting in the way!  Oh and obviously doing the standard tourist stuff too, don’t get me wrong!
It’s been a strange 48 hours and I’ve definitely felt reverse culture shock having come from a fairly basic existence in Chad.  However though it all I’ve known that God is the same wherever I am in the world and that’s helped me a great deal :)

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