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Arriving in Pretoria

Is this really Africa?

28 °C

Dear all,

Another year, another job adventure, another blog.

It took me some time to decide whether to write another blog like for Cambodia but after many encouraging words I decided to go for it again. I wasn't sure whether to do it again because last time I didn't get much feedback but that's how it goes with blogs. However, this time its possible for everyone to write comments without having to register, which I hope some of you do from time to time.

I've been in South Africa for 3 months now and so far been completely absorbed by all the new impressions, people and things to organise. This is why this comes a little late but I also had to get my head around everything and develop my own view of how to see things and how to write about them. Still, I'm often not sure yet what perspective to take as you'll see.

I arrived together with another colleague I already knew from the preparation in Germany and who works in Lesotho. We met in Frankfurt airport and checked heaps of luggage in before embarking on the 11h flight to Johannesburg. I'm not a friend of long haul night flights really...

Ankunft Pretoria, 15.01.10

Ankunft Pretoria, 15.01.10


Arrival at Jo'burg Airport

When we eventually arrived at 9am, we were picked up by a colleague and driven to Pretoria. My first impressions in the airport and then on the road (they drive on the left here!) were along the lines of:
- there is road construction and building sites everywhere - a lot to finish until the football starts
- there is a LOT of traffic and some very unconventional driving methods (read: nobody really sticks to the rules)
- I thought they only had 6 lane highways in the US...? Apparently not!
- most drivers seem to be white people in new and big cars
- is this really Africa???

DSCN0444.jpg
Lost contrstruction worker?

To be honest, it was a bit of a shock arriving here between Jo'burg and Pretoria, which clearly is the most densely populated area in South Africa. Probably about 1/5 of the population live here and it really feels like a different planet from the rest of the country. In the city, it looks like a mix between US and some European culture and maybe a little bit of Africa. But there are also big differences between different areas of the city and even though Apartheid officially ended in 1994, its still very present in the way people live here. There are many distinct upmarket "white" residential areas with neat houses with gardens and pools and surrounded by walls, gates and electric fences. Black people live in other areas of town or outside in the townships, coloured people again in other areas. Of course there are exceptions but the general pattern is clearly visible.

DSCN0485.jpg
Pretoria Church Square

Blue Bulls, vs. Oz, Pretoria Rugby

Blue Bulls, vs. Oz, Pretoria Rugby

As long as I hadn't found my own place, I stayed in a shared house with other colleagues. This was also in an enclosed security compound where all the houses look the same and you don't see your neighbours very often. It is a requirement for all of us in the major cities to live in a compound like this but I didn't really want to feel enclosed behind walls and fences and eventually managed to find a lovely house with a wild garden and no fence (but in a security complex) where I settled in quite nicely.

DSCN0493.jpg My new home - very Euro-Scandinavian, I think

Social life in the city is often centred around what's on offer in the numerous shopping malls but the longer I live here, the more I get to know the 'nice' spots as well, like cool cafes, bars, parks, etc. and by now I refined my views a little bit - there is a lot of nice nature within short distances from the city.

Mountain Sanctuary Park, North West Province

Mountain Sanctuary Park, North West Province

Fountains Valley NP, Pretoria

Fountains Valley NP, Pretoria

I've also been on a couple of trips to the coast, which was really great - there are many pics in my photo gallery and I'll write more about it in another story SOON (I promise!).

Take care everyone, sunny greetings,

Britta

Posted by Brizie 25.04.2010 09:26 Archived in South Africa Tagged business_travel

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Comments

Hey Britta, well done! Actually, I had a comparable experience with my India blog, that's why I am confining myself to facebook now. Just uploaded pictures from the house warming party.
Best regards from the Mountains of the Moon, Uganda
Cheers
Oliver

PS: I just watched "Invictus", did not know it was about South Africa. Nice movie, isn't it.

25.04.2010 by Oliver

Looking good :)!
Hope you have a great time there...
and If there not enough comments on your blog..it's always a nice diary to keep ;)

25.04.2010 by Taco

Liebe Britta,
ich freue mich auf jeden Fall über Deinen neuen Blog. Sieht ja echt alles sehr USA-mäßig aus. Wie groß ist denn Dein Haus? Das sieht ja riesig aus. Ich hoffe, das Wetter ist wenigstens afrikanisch .-)!
LG Mine

26.04.2010 by Mine

Hey!
Thanks for your feedback, good to see that the moaning worked a bit ;-)

@ Oliver - will look you up on Facebook, still remember your 3d presentation about the Mountains of the Moon in Bad H. Would like to see the real one now!

@ Taco - thanks Mr Taak, you're right. Still love to look back at the Cambodia one from time to time. Takes you right back there.

@ Mine - ja, das Haeuschen ist etwas groesser ausgefallen aber echt schoen. Hab Schwein gehabt. Hab auchn Gaestezimmer, also falls ihr Lust auf Urlaub habt... Auch das Wetter ist mittlerweile weniger afrikanisch - wird grad Herbst mit Laub und so aber insgesamt ist es schon nett warm und super angenehm. Da kann ich mich nun echt nicht drueber beklagen. Liebe Gruesse an alle!

Britta xxx

26.04.2010 by Brizie

Dear Britta,


Keep blogging, you're the best!!
And keep traveling round the world,

aurélie

26.04.2010 by aurélie

Hi Britta,

finally found the page to leave comments!! Photos are fab! Hope you had a great Birthday, just sent you a text hope you get it! House looks very nice and the blue skys, how we've missed the blue skys here (having said that we've had some great weather lately). C+H are coming over for two weeks in June for Glasters and then a bit of sight seeing and we may go down to Devon if we have time. Moved into new house, very nice! Are you due back in Europe anytime over summer or not? Let me know we're planning another party and it would be great if if conincides with your visit. Anyways must get back to work, take good care and keep us all informed of what you're up to. Nickx

30.04.2010 by Nick1234

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