Sawubona! Welcome to South Africa

At more than 16 hours, the journey from New York City to South Africa is tough. My flight was so long that the plane had to land in Senegal to refuel. By the time I arrived in Johannesburg, it was more than a full day later. This is because of the time change. I hope I can quickly adjust to the seven hour time difference.

After getting off the plane, I show my passport to an immigration officer. She puts a cool sticker in my passport. This sticker is my visa, and it will allow me to visit the country.

As I drive from the airport to the hotel, I notice that high walls with razor wire surrounded many houses. People here are serious about protecting their homes.

People warned me that Johannesburg is a dangerous city. I’m curious if this is true or if the city just has a bad reputation in the news. Like every new place I visit, I will explore with caution and stay with my fellow travellers.

When visiting a foreign country, I think it’s a good idea to learn a little of the language spoken there. For me, it’s important that I can say “hello,” “goodbye,” “please,” and “thank you.” This is not an easy task, because there are 11 official languages in South Africa. I decided to learn the most spoken ones: Xhosa and Zulu.

Both languages use clicking sounds. I spend my first night in my hotel room clucking like a chicken, trying to get one of these clicks right.