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Our journal of our first trip back to SA


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I don't even know where to post this, so I'll put this in Journals as I think it is most fitting. :ilikeit:

We left Cairns Friday morning at 10am, arrived in Sydney at 13.45. Our flight to Joburg was at 5pm via Bangkok. Le t me tell you that Bangkok is the most boring airport there is. Not much to see or do there. Reminded me a lot of a hospital. While waiting to board our flight in Bangkok, we started hearing Afrikaans around us. At first my ears thought they were deceiving me, but hell no it was really Afrikaans. After being in Aus for 19 months and only speaking and hearing Afrikaans in our own home, it was a bit weird hearing it here being spoken by so many passengers. Was a nice feeling.

Anyways we landed in Joburg eventually at 6.30am on Saturday, after flying for almost 2 days. Oh my glory, what a welcome was OR Tambo International not. Was a real shock to see that this is how international travellers see us. Was real scruffy, and ceilings were starting to fall apart. Just looked very bad and thought to myself... Welcome to Africa. Eish!

Then we collected our rental car and drove all the way to Sun City to surprise my mom, who works there. She had no idea we were coming. Listen my bum was so sore I couldn’t sit for another second in that car, so the long trip there was quite interesting. Got there and my tummy starting turning and was starting to get very excited about seeing my mom again after so long. Everyone at her work knew I was coming, so I called one of her staff and said they should call my mom and say there is a very difficult client and she needs to come to the front asap. Well, when my mother saw me she was in tear and I was in tears and we just hugged each other that felt like eternity. It took my mom about a day or two to actually realise that we were there.

Being a bit jetlagged I forgot to remove my cellphone from my jeans, so my dear mother washed the poor thing deurmekaar. Needless to say... it had a good washing and it don’t work no more.

Spent about a week with her, was really getting gatvol of Sun City as a week is really too long. Then surprised my mother again. She was flying with us to Cape Town, as it was her sisters bday and thought it would be a good for us all to be together again. All my family is in Cape Town, except my mother.

Got in Cape Town, when I saw the mountain I shed a little tear. Can’t believe how much you can miss the sight of something like that. But that was short lived.

Eventually surprised all the rest of the family and they had about the same reaction, couldn't believe it.

Just some things that I have noticed while being away for so long:

In general things are so expensive, I really don't understand how people afford basic things. Not even talking about the price of petrol. Holy cow!! Even though we earn aussie dollars now, I can still remember what basic things cost before we left. No you pay R14 for 2l of milk, R50 for the big box of Pronutro, cheese & meat is so bleddie expensive, no wonder everyone is eating chicken. :lol:

Take aways are so expensive. For two people it is almost always around R80 for a burger, chips & coke. Just so shocking.

Cape Town seems so very dry to me, don't know why, because family said they had a good rainy winter. They are just building everywhere. Brackenfell as really boomed and couldn't believe how many flats and new complexes there were. Don't even want to imagine the traffic that all this is generating.

General TV (SABC1,2,3 and ETV), oh my word, what is going on. Really nothing worth watching on normal tv anymore. We used to listen to KFM, but geez don't know who is running the show now, they are just playing crap music.

On the TV front, one thing I did notice is that major crimes were almost never on the TV news. You will read about it in the Sondag Rapport but they hardly ever show really bad crimes on TV news. :thumbdown:

Driving around SA, we drove in Joburg, in the country and in Cape Town and everyone drives like maniacs. Oh my word. Some guys like sitting on the car infront's backside and the speeds some of these guys travel at. Driving 120 km/h was getting used to again, as we don’t go over 110 here in Aus.

Going to the movies, we didn't have the time to go, but hell is that expensive. R42 per person. Enough said. :blink:

Then it was a thing getting used to be harassed at the robots, etc with everyone trying to sell you something that you don't need and hiding your handbag and everything else that is valuable.

Getting to sleep while in SA, was proving to be quite interesting. Not talking about jetlag here, but just the thought that someone can break in your house. Every sound that you hear, makes you wonder, every dog bark makes you even more uneasy. :ph34r:

We said when we get to SA we definitely need to eat at the following places



Good ol' KFC


Ocean Basket, Yum!

Tried some other things that we also longed for, but eish it didn't taste the same like we remembered and tasted weird to our taste buds for some reason. Just shows you how your taste buds change when living in Aus.

Some TV ads that made us laugh

Coca Cola Brrrr http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wR4bJsxpeUs

Vodacom Meerkat & his lady http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEbPJp0PSG8

Ford Bantam http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPrBZ7bzg-E

Klipdrift met Eish http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnTuEwP2M5w

Our two weeks in Cape Town went by quickly, seeing all the doctors and others for the RAF case I have going, was tiring and we did not get time to do all the things we wanted to do and to spend more time with family and friends.

The most import thing that I was worried about was going back to SA so soon. We have only been in Aus for 19 months, and I had a very bad bout of home sickness at times and always wondered if we would go back one day.

Well, to tell you the truth. Being back did the world of good. I can say with true honesty it did not feel like home anymore. I couln't wait to get back to our new home in Aus, where we have finally settled and can call our HOME!

We arrived back in Cairns on Saturday 01/12/2007. With the hottest day on record in the last five years. 37 degrees with 85% humidity. WOW! That was a real welcome back home present.

Few days later on Tuesday we finally received the letter via email that we wished we could get on our visit while in SA. We have our PR, but need to let them know when we are leaving the country again. So we'll be off to NZ early March, need to recover financially after this very expensive trip.


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Hi Dedrei - I posted a very short experience under Chit Chat as I was under the impression that is where it must go but to get back to yuor post I know exactly how you feel - also had a short trip to RSA and it was a shocker - I agree with absolutely everything you said. the prices went up something horrible. We stayed with the family in Pretoria and had lunch at the Spur - R50 for a hamburger ? that's without sauce or a coke ! We've only been gone for 4 months so I can imagine how big the change was for you. The trip for us was a good lesson, now we definitely don't wonder...... Welcome back and congrats on the 136. We landed in July and in August our 136 was granted. Wanted to pop in at NZ but hubby thought with both our parents over 70 we must visit RSA - I dreaded it from the beginning as it was too soon. But it was a good trip and it opened our eyes !

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Hi D and Mandy

I am so glad that you guys posted about your experiences and that it's in line with what we experienced. Althoug we lived on a small Island with nothing but the basic needs we also found SA very scary indeed on returning. Being away seemed to have highlighted the situation South Africa was in/ going thru.

People still living there are just so desensitized to the negative changes that they don't even notice it!!

I cry for my beloved country!!! I cry for her people!!!

I thank God every day that we are so privaledged to be able to live in Australia!

Australia is HOME now, that's for sure!!

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I must be a bl..dy great "sook" (wimp)

I started getting tears in my eyes reading about you meeting your mum for the first time and she didn't know you were arriving.

I was wondering what was going on??

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Deidre, glad you got to spend time with friends and especially family. I can't really say 'welcome home' as I am still this side of the ocean. But why not. Welcome home girl!

On the trend of JNB Airport. The general experience on arriving back from an overseas trip is that the international arrivals is dirty, not maintained well and the staff are rude and unhelpful in that department. Not once in all my husband's o/s trips has any clerk at customs said to him: 'welcome home, or welcome back to RSA'. Makes you want to turn around on your heels and go back to where you came from.

About experiencing RSA. Friends who are now 2 yrs in Aus, returned recently for a visit. When asked if they noticed any changes since they left, the answer was quite embarrasing... the country is dirty and everyone does as he pleases, with no concern for others. They also mentioned that the crimes reported are more violent. I was shocked to realise that we are truely desensitized, and that we couldn't say that we have noticed.

Anyway, can't wait to be in Aus and return for a visit to RSA, just to realise as all of you have, that you did the right thing.

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Hi Deidre

Welcome home!! I'm doing pretty much the same thing you did - going to visit family in RSA for Christmas and none of them know we're coming.

Only 13 sleeps before we leave... Not that i'm counting. :ilikeit: Can't wait to see my mum.

I have to admit, i've been quite nervous about going back, and reading your account of how bad things have gotten there, has reconfirmed the fear.

Thanks for sharing your experience with us!


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That's the other two things I forgot to mention.

How dirty/filty everything is on the streets and all over. And the service in general. Eish!!! Everything happens, well when it eventually happens, happens on African time. :ilikeit:

Noddy I know how you feel, I was counting down the days. Enjoy your trip.

Another thing that happend to us on our way back at Bangkok airport. When we were at the gates for boarding from Bangkok to Sydney, a lady took our passport and looked at it with this big magnifying glass. Checking if we have illegal passports. Didn't understand it at first, but after watching the Borderline (NZ tv program) I know why. Apparently Bangkok is the hub for counterfeit passports. And on this program they sent a guy back to SA, well Soweto, cause he didn't have enough evidence to be able to go to NZ and not work. Was actually so funny to watch. He was gonna live with family for 3 months in NZ, can you believe it. With no money and way of supporting himself. Eish!

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Oh and some more details on the flights with Thai Airways. BRILLIANT AIRLINE!!!!!! Really tops, in another class compared to Qantas. Service is EXCELLENT, food is EXCELLENT. Except for the landings, some of these Thai pilots can't land to save their live. Geez! On our way to SA we landed in Bangkok and I thought we were for sure going to skid of the runway, so skew the pilot came in with the plane.

If you can avoid stopping at Bangkok please do. Either stopover in Singapore, as this airport is by far the most boring big piece of steel you will get to walk around in.


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Hi Dedrei,

Toe ek terug kom van 'n kuier in Suid Afrika, kry ek 'n sitplek reg langs die kombuis. Dit was die bymekaar kom plek vir al die Suid Afrikaanse lugwaardinne en was dit nou vir jou 'n gebabbel! Eers is die vlug vertraag omdat daar 'n rondloper hond op die runway was en toe ons uiteindelik weg trek toe val al die bakke uit die kaste uit in die kombuis. Hulle het nie die kaste behoorlik toegemaak nie. Ek het amper op die vlerk buite die vliegtuig geland van skrik. :blush:

Hoe lyk Sun City nou? En hoe was die weer daar? En kon julle ook net kies tussen 'chicken or beef' op die vliegtuig soontoe? Ek was maar te bly oor die stukkie kaas en beskuitjies wat so mooi steriel toe gewrap was. Die tee is ondrinkbaar.....sies, ek moan nou. Dis hoekom ek daai klein botteltjies met die sterk goed in gedrink het. Dit het die vlug korter gemaak..... :blink:

groete, KD.

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Hi KD - Jip dit was chicken en beef op ons vlug - en jy is 101% reg - daai kaas en beskuitjies het wondere gedoen........ ek het maar gestick by die water was bang vir iets anders want dan klap die lewer weer hande en dink hier kom 'n kuier....

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Hierso is die menus van ons kos op die vlug asook paar piccies. Hierdie kos was regtig BAIE lekker. Kan nie compare met SAA of Qantas nie. Verskoon die kwaliteit, hierdie is met die selfoon geneem







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Jip daai is economy kossies. :o

Jy kry die first serving so 2 ure na opstyg en die second serving so 3 ure voor jy land.

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This is such a fantastic thread for many reasons:

1. It was so interesting to see what you thought after being away, and all the things you mentioned are things that I have taken tons of photos of. Like the dirt in the streets. The "warning, crime hot spot" signs etc etc

2. I have been very fortunate to have been able to travel to many countries in the world. Every time I returned I always felt welcome and at home. That was until my trip in March to the UK. I arrived home and apart from seeing my wife and kids I was not happy to be home. And then my most recent trip to the UK, last month, just re-confirmed that. I did not enjoy walking into JHB airport at all.

3. Those photos taken of the menu and the food on the plane bring back so many great memories. I took my wife (Girlfriend at the time) on her first ever plane ride......to Thailand. Thai airways is superb, and the food was great. Never spent much time at the airport in bangkok, but the city itself is also very dirty and smelly. having said that, it is an awesome city to visit. We went back the following year.

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Hallo Deidre,

Baie dankie vir jou oulike post! Jip, ons kan alles beaam wat jy sê. Ons was self nou in SA gewees vir 'n vinnige besoek en was net so geskok oor hoe JHB lughawe nou lyk! Nooit sal hulle met sulke dinge wegkom hier in Aus of NZ nie! Die drade wat so uit die dak uit hang is 'n health & saftey hazzard!

Die diens wat ons by ons bank van alle plekke gekry het was pateties om die minste te sê! Ons wou traveller tjeks reel by ons tak, maar aangesien ons vliegtuigkaartjie oorsee gekoop is (aus). kon hulle ons nie help nie! Ons moes op die ou end die geld oorplaas na die travellex tak verder in die straat en dit daar kry en natuurlik meer komissie betaal!

Nog 'n ding wat my opgeval het is hoe vinnig die groente en vrugte wat mens daar koop "af" gaan! Niks hou langer as omtrent 3 dae nie. (het by Pick & Pay gekoop)My skoonsussie koop haar goed by woolworths juis oor die rede, maar genugtig dis darem so duur en nie almal kan bekostig om daar te koop nie! Ek het ook op my rug geval toe ek die prys van goed sien! Nee wat, hier hou my groente my letterlik weke in die yskas!

Die Tv het my eintlik laat lag! Daar is net mooi niks om te kyk nie! Die mense wat die nuus lees is so styf en lyk asof hulle aan bomskok ly! Het nie een van hulle sien smile die hele tyd wat on daar was nie!

Wou ook bietjie klere koop daar, maar daar was regtig niks mooi's in die winkels nie! Al die toppies daar laat mens swanger lyk! Nee wat, gaan maar hier koop!

Ek kon ook nie wag om terug te kom na Australie toe nie! Jammer as ek niks goeds het om te sê oor ons besoek daar nie, maar daar was niks- behalwe natuurlik om weer al ons vriende en familie te sien! Moes ook weer gewoond raak aan al die diewerings en veiligheids hekke!

Welkom terug!



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Ons wou traveller tjeks reel by ons tak, maar aangesien ons vliegtuigkaartjie oorsee gekoop is (aus). kon hulle ons nie help nie!

Ja kyk ek het half geweet die geld omgeswaaiery gaan 'n issue wees oor die nuwe FICA ding. Dis why ons maar in Sydney so paar rand gekry het en toe maar die krediet kaart heeltyd gebruik.

Wou ook bietjie klere koop daar, maar daar was regtig niks mooi's in die winkels nie! Al die toppies daar laat mens swanger lyk! Nee wat, gaan maar hier koop!

Dit was my plan ook om te shop. Al wat ek op die ou end geshop het was Afrikaanse kinder boekies, by die hordes. Het ons hand bagasie tas vol boekies gehad en terug gebring Aus toe.


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