There’s was a last minute panic in Buenos Aires before the taxi came to take me to EZE airport to board my Malaysian Airline flight bound for Cape Town South Africa. My cellphone rang and there’s Silvina speaking with a shortness of breath. Seems that there was one document that the cargo people at Malaysia Airlines wanted a slight modification and a new signature. In just a few hours Delfino had a messenger at my hotel with the documents in quadruplicate ready for my signature. Gee? Why couldn’t we act with such swiftness before? Some questions are better left alone.
I couldn’t resist the wine section at the duty free store at Buenos Aires International Airport. The sales guy assured me that I could drink the wine aboard the 747 that would take 8.5 hours flying across the Atlantic to the African continent. But I didn’t have a glass. The guy solved that problem for me, too. Amazing. The airline actually let me drink my own bottle of wine in coach with my meal before snoozing most of the flight away. Okay. So didn’t finish the entire bottle, but it sure beats those pint sized bottles of wine offered on flights.
But I am actually in Africa! Though it doesn’t seem so. I haven’t seen an elephant, giraffe or lion. But these things will come in time.
The plane landed about 9:30am. Without reservations for accommodation and temporarily without transportation I needed to kick into action. I was told that the probability of getting my motorcycle through customs the same day it arrived were low. So rather than spend my first day walking into bureaucratic roadblocks, I resigned to the fact I should find accommodation, get some rest and formulate a plan.
First step: acclimation. Wow. So I’m in Africa and everyone speaks English. I still find myself talking to the tourist information, transportation and taxi people in Spanish with a few words of Portuguese thrown in for good measure. Second is money. A new currency and a new exchange rate. In South Africa the money is called RAND and the current exchange rate is about 6.7 Rand to one dollar. As it turns out the cost of transportation to the town center and then back again (for when I retrieve my motorcycle) costs more than a basic rental car for a day. When I hopped into the tiny VW Citi there was no steering wheel. OOooops. It’s on the wrong side. Which also means I’ve got to drive on the wrong side of the road, too.
Ah. The joys of acclimation to a new country, a new continent, a new adventure and a new world.
Welcome To Africa!