07 December 2013

1. - 7 December 2013: Arrival in South Africa and tour of Port Elizabeth

Upon arrival in South Africa customs must be cleared at the first port of entry, in my case in Johannesburg. It's a pain to have to collect my bags and go through customs (no one pays any attention anyway) only to have to check them in again.

As I walk to my check-in counter I notice that everyone wraps their luggage in plastic wrap. For 60 r (4 euro) at least a dozen station will wrap your bags. Maybe it helps, and I d ecide to do it, as Johannesburg has a reputation for theft from transiting bags.

Arrive in Post Elizabeth. I live in the XXI century and decide to do first things first: get online with my smartphone. I try to buy a Vodacom sim card with a data plan but meet no success. I need a mini sim for my Samsung but those in stock at the Vodacom airport shop don't work. The salesman can't complete the required installation online. He also has "normal" (old) regular size sim cards, that can be cut to fir mini sim phones. Try and cut a big one but no success: no connection. They only have micro sim but they are no good for my samsung. Give up.

I proceed to pick up my rental car but not before I am persuaded to upgrade to a larger model. We have lots of bags...

First tour of the town. The former president, larger than life Nelson Mandela, the liberator of the country, died the day before yesterday and the country is in mourning. It is moving to see the lowering of the huge flag that is flying at half mast on the hill overlooking the town. Only a few foreign tourists look on while a military detachment performs the procedure as the commanding officer yells out a succession of orders.

I have reviews a movie about a life defining episode of Mandela's life here on this blog.

Nelson Mandela

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