South Africa: From Paranoia to Hallelujah

“Don’t take your valuables with you when you are out of the hotel,” our Chinese host in Johannesburg advised. “But also don’t leave your valuables in the hotel room either.”

“You need to stop if a police asks you to stop,” our host continues. “However, many of them are pretending to be police so try not to stop either.”

The more we hear, the more confused we were.

It was our first day in South Africa and our kind Chinese host treated us to an authentic Sichuan Chinese restaurant which we were craving. During the meal, he shared his horror stories and advised us how to avoid being robbed in Johannesburg, one of the world’s most dangerous cities in the world.

Our host in Johannesburg treated us to spicy Chinese food as he told us horror stories of South Africa.

“Here, people don’t ask if you have been robbed before. They ask how many times you have been robbed. When the Black see Chinese, it is as if they see the letters “ATM” written on your forehead. So carry some cash but don’t put all your cash in one pocket. Put some cash in each pocket so when the Blacks pull their gun and ask for money, just show them the money in one pocket. “

The more we heard, the more afraid we became. I was especially surprised to see every single house in even nice suburban areas have high electric fences and barred windows. In Los Angeles, I only see this in the worse crime area in the city center.

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