Wednesday 6 May 2015

South Africa: I will not beg for respect

This is not fun
My hotel life in Johannesburg is rapidly turning in a drama of a soap opera bordering on a tragi-comedy of laughable silliness.
In fact, that life centres around my experiences in the restaurant, because it is becoming clear from what I have heard from my other colleagues is that my hotel is so out of the way and literally in the sticks, away from the liveliness that other visitors from the UK experience when they come to South Africa.
I did not make this choice of hotel, my hostess did and I am yet to meet my hostess who is conveniently on holiday until tomorrow, whilst I savour the stillness of this exclusive area livened up by my restaurant theatre every night.
Tea for the weak
There is a likelihood that this South African visit if it continues in this way, it will have made such an indelible mark on my psyche that it is unlikely the situation will be redeemed to afford me another visit to this country.
Breakfast this morning started with an interesting exchange between the waiter and myself.
Waiter: Good morning sir, would you like tea or coffee?Me: I will like Earl Grey tea, please.Waiter: We do not have that, we have rooibos tea.Me: Yes, you do have Earl Grey tea, it was ordered for me yesterday.Waiter: I will go and check.Me: Thank you.
Soon, Earl Grey tea was served, one teabag in the pot. Little lessons of service sadly lost in the main. It is a tea bag to a tea cup, but at least two to the teapot. I guess I will have to be particular next time, clear instructions are needed where initiative is not a present commodity.
Muddled ways and places
Then I hitched my taxi ride to the office where the interminably long road had GoogleMaps in a tizzy, sending us the wrong way down the road when we should have been going the other way.
Republic Road has many names on the stretch of road, it interchangeably uses Republic Road, Republic Street and Republic Weg, without any section of road clearly defined by any of those names. In fact, because I tend to notice such discrepancies, there was one junction where Republic Road and Republic Street were road signs literally, one on top of the other. I was not impressed.
Then I tried to call my colleagues on as many phones they had with my exasperated self posting voicemail messages. Eventually, the driver followed his gut instinct after asking directions from at least 4 people and soon, I sighted where we were going, just before I would have advised him to return me to the hotel.
I’ve just about had it
At the reception, I was at the end of my tether when I exclaimed that I could not believe that I had been brought over 7,500 miles to a situation like this. At that point, someone came to comfort me just as my colleague called to announce he would soon arrive at work.
To say I was displeased would be an understatement, I feel I am being messed around a bit more than I like to be. I can endure this for some more time or decide to return home without necessarily waiting to take any more of this nonsense.
I should not dread doing anything like going to the restaurant and for the second time, my hostess has cancelled on me, I appreciate she has commitments and I know I came here for business, but I was persuaded with the promise of good hospitality. If this is what passes for the much-vaunted South African hospitality, I have no time for people who cannot treat me with respect.

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