Once we touched down in Cape Town we had to go through immigration. The first South African that we came in contact with was the immigration worker. As we handed him our passports, the first question that he asked my boyfriend and I was if we had ever been to South Africa or Africa before. Once we said “No”, his response was “Welcome Home”. The smile and the feeling that we both felt after hearing him say that is indescribable. After 24 hours of flying, this warm welcome set the tone for the trip. I have never traveled anywhere (other than Trinidad) where I felt like “Yes, this is my home. This is my land, and I do belong here.”
Once we got through immigration and collected our baggage we decided to change our US dollars into Rand at the first money changing station that we saw. This was a mistake made on our part as the American Express station that we used took a larger percentage of our money out than the other stations that were readily available to us once we left baggage claim. But hey you dont know, what you dont know. We also spent 12 US dollars to purchase a electrical converter (this is necessary if you want to charge your phones, computers and any other electronic devices that you have brought with you to Africa).
As we walked through the airport looking for my father who was picking us up there were many pictures plastered around the airport of Nelson Mandela. Ahh what a sight to see, faces that look just like me…every WHERE!
After we were picked up by my father we drove through the city to our hotel, Cape Town Westin, my first thoughts of South Africa was “Wow this place is very 1st world”. Because I am so used to my third world countries that I have visited in the Caribbean, I just assumed Cape Town would be the same way. Not at all! Cape Town is like any other major city in the United States, and many parts of it reminded me a lot of Los Angeles. Although this was my first impressions, we did drive past some of the townships as we drove to our hotel. This was a reminder that although Cape Town was very modern there was still a lot more progress left to go in regards to blacks in that country.