Several people told me that I should take a deep breath on leaving the plane, because inhaling the African air is an experience unlike any I would have had before. Well, the smell of hot concrete, jet fumes and aircraft fuel is pretty much the same wherever you land. That much I knew already and now know with greater certainty.
Johannesburg airport is in Africa. But you could not be blamed for not realising that. The same brands surround the retail concourse there as at Heathrow. The real difference is that whereas at Heathrow assistance is relatively hard to come by, in Joburg assistance is quite impossible to avoid.
The onward flight to Bloemfontein was a surprise in one big respect. The plane had propellers! I found myself trying to remember whether this meant that in the event of engine failure we could glide safely to the ground and land in a field. But the plane was nearly empty and completed its journey in ten minutes less than the hour timetabled, so I guess we weighed a bit less than expected and perhaps would have been that much easier to land. Provided of course that a passenger didn't take the wrong door at the front of the plane and stumble into the cockpit instead of the toilet, causing possible mayhem. Imagination runs riot on these occasions. Once at Bloemfontein you find you are at Bloemfontein International Airport. 'International' is another figment of someone's imagination. As a bus station it would be quite impressive.
The drive onwards to Ladybrand was rather boring. One of those journeys where nothing kept happening. Still, I tell myself that I was so tired by now that nothing was going to happen anyway.
I was a zombie for the next couple of days. The heat was excessive and still is, even by local standards. By 10am it's too hot to sit anywhere but by a fan. But today we are going on an explore by car and I hope to get more of a feel for what ordinary Africa is like. Back soon!