Saturday 16 May 2015

South Africa: On leaving and the goodbyes I sadly didn't get to make

As much and much else
Much as there is still much to write about my just under 2-week visit to South Africa and much as there is a lot of making up to do when I get back home, I have commenced my return leg back home.
The return journey will be from Johannesburg to Cape Town to The Netherlands and then to England, to be completed in just about 30 hours.
Much as I accomplished much of what I came here to do and much as I hardly had a social life for the duration of my stay apart from a moments I caught with friends that I was unable to make happen again. I regret not being able to make time for more engagement, it was just lots of hectic days that at the end of the day your returned and crashed out.
Face up
On checking out at the hotel, I still had credit left that was given to me as change, the clerk at the desk had such as glum disposition that appeared to add insult to injury after all that I had endured in the first week of my stay, I was not disposed to rewarding such sullenness with any generosity and she probably deprived her other colleagues of something too.
The hospitality business is one where being able to man a desk is the first of many qualifications and the unquantifiable parts are a welcoming, smiling, appearing to be helpful, considerate and engaging personality. Get those wrong and having lost the opportunity to make a good first impression, any other impression will be graded on the scale of the failed first attempt that only the extraordinary can attempt at redemption.
I will be visiting this hotel where I stayed for 13 nights on Trip Advisor, I know I will not return to this hotel or any under this chain, nor will I recommend it to anyone visiting Johannesburg, it was my lesson in tolerable endurance.
Thank you
To get to the airport, I had one of three choices, to allow the hotel book one of their exorbitantly priced taxis, get the shuttle to the Gautrain station where I could board the high-speed train to O R Tambo International Airport or hail UberBlack on my phone and have that service get me to the airport. After very little consideration, I went for the third option and had a pleasant ride to the airport.
As I bid Johannesburg farewell and consequently South Africa and Africa at large, this was an experience I was not particularly looking forward to, but when I leant in, it was one I will always remember. Some of the people I met will become great friends, people who made time and space for me welcoming me as guest with honour and respect, I owe much gratitude I cannot fully pay.
I might return to South Africa, I do not know, but my hope and wish for South Africa is and remains with all that I saw - 'Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika'.

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