“Wasn’t that ‘Thank you’ and ‘Praise God’ in Arabic?” I asked Joani, who is our de factor language expert during this one year trip. “We heard them in Morocco, no?”
We were inside a large mud wall Christina church located in the second largest refugee region in the world. In front of us were two young black Africans musically shuffling their feet, twisting their bodies right and left, and lifting their hands up praising God with loud music that can compete with rock concerts. What struck me so amazing was that they were singing in Arabic, usually used by Muslims.
During the election in Uganda, we escaped to Jinja, the source of the River Nile that starts in Uganda and eventually passes through Sudan to Egypt. Along the river is great for bird watching, which we did by hiring a boat.
“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.
“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.