Our Stay in Durban, South Africa
During our stay near Durban, we did take a day to head down to the Hilton and walk around the city. Let’s just say, it wasn’t exactly what I had expected after the first few days. It was umm.. different. The city itself definitely resembles a large city. Prior to Durban the only other place I had seen bars on windows was in New York. The ocean in this area was dirty looking most of what was outside our hotel was run down. The fun part was being the tourist..ok fun and scary. Let’s just say as we turned down a certain area, we were WAY too white to be in that area. I say this only because we were stared at like we were alien-like! While scary, it has to be one of the coolest things you will learn from travel.
If you are a minority, you will travel to places where you are not, and if you are the majority, you will travel to places where you are the minority. This could be anything from body color, to hair color, to language, and anything kind of difference that makes you different. Learning and understanding how other people feel when in a particular environment helps to make you more understanding as a person.
So there we were, feeling a lot out of place, and this guy that came up from behind us was a bit off as well. He reminded me of Bernie Mac. So here comes this guy, in 100-degree heat in a long leather coat with no shirt on underneath, quite an odd combination. Enter assumption of we’re gonna die* here. It was far too hot to even think about wearing a coat, much less leather. He came up, had a huge smile and said well hey folks where are you from? (in a broken accent) Using the word folks wasn’t the first thing I would think of coming out of a local’s mouth. I was half expecting him at that point to open one side of the coat and have various pieces of jewelry for sale. It was a heck of a jump in assumptions and really all he wanted was to say Hi and so we did.
What I Learned
My mind was still very narrow at this point in life. I had grown up in a very white-bred world and my exposure to other cultures was still limited, even with the trip to Afghanistan. This and many other experiences opened my eyes to the bigger world around us. Getting an education through travel is such a valuable experience. The more you travel, the more you see people are all pretty much the same. The little differences just make us interesting. Even when you know where you are traveling, thinking that you know or understand what the people are like or how they think, are just assumptions. One bit of advice, remove all preconceptions all enter a place with a clean slate and learn as you go. It’s more fun that way (you won’t have to take the time to prove if your assumptions were right or wrong and you spend more time experiencing instead). One of the other things I had learned while we were there was that in country, even since the fall of the Apartheid that racism is alive and the locals that we encountered were rather vocal about their feelings.
and the trip continues…
Thanks for reading.. it’s always an experience 🙂
Travel Till You drop