Reaching South Africa!
Two years prior to this moment, I walked these very halls of the Johannesburg Airport. Not terrified per say, but not 100% confident either.
So this time around?
I knew my grounds, the layout and the culture. There is no other culture I have ran into quite like South Africa. In Frankfurt, Zurich, Chicago and New Jersey I had not experienced anything quite like this.
My first experience I walked these halls, rolling my black pink and white polkadot luggage.
Step one. Get more adult luggage that doesn't scream I'M A TOURIST AND DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING!!!
Step one. I came back with new luggage. Solid army Green.
Then I walked out into the bottom area you see pictured below. FILLED with loads of people waiting on their loved ones to return or arrive. I had no clue where to go, and instantly began sweating with a flushed face.
A man who works there approached me.
'WHERE YOU GO?! I TAKE YOU THERE!"
Stumbling out "I'm not sure.."
He takes my luggage and begins walking with it wanting me to follow.
"YOU FOLLOW ME I TAKE YOU WHERE YOU NEED TO GO!'
Stumbling again I hesitated.
As luck would have it, a gentleman I had met in Frankfurt during my last 7 hour layover saw me and asked if I needed help. I shook my head yes and the worker man said,
"WHY YOU LISTEN TO HIM? YOU DON'T KNOW HIM, FOLLOW ME!"
The gentleman said, "If you go with him, he will expect a tip."
I said, "I have no money!"
The man threw my bags down and walked away angry.
Then the gentleman pointed to where I would need to go, said to shop the mall within the airport til closer to my time since after security there was nothing to do and showed me a nice coffee shop.
Second time around, new luggage. Headphones in my ears. Nothing playing. I want to be aware of everyone around me, but I also want to look like I am not new. I grab my luggage and take some photos at the wall I loved so much my last visit.
Enter into the ring of crazy on the bottom floor, but know where I am going. A man approaches me like the last asking for my luggage. I say "No thanks" and pursue on. Head upstairs. Shop. Coffee. And catch my flight.
See South Africa is just a little louder, and more upfront.
But if you carry the confidence within you, you will have no worries.
And if you lack that confidence the first time? Learn, grow, and go again. You've got this!