Day 3: The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

I heard some time ago that South Africa has a unique kind of sunset that looks differentsunset 2 to almost all others – especially those in the Northern Hemisphere.  The reason ours seem so much more splendid is because ours have a magnificent red hue.  In fact, one of the most iconic images of South Africa is that of a tree (or giraffe or elephant…) silhouetted against a red sky and a bright yellow sun.  The reason for these lovely daily paintings in the sky?  Red dust.  We have an inordinately large amount of red dust and it floats about in the sky making our cars dirty and turning our sunsets red!

Now, I live in a city.  Johannesburg is hardly known for its vast landscapes and endless plains.  It’s more like cars, trucks, looming office buildings, and lots of pollution.  But because of the number of cars, trucks, taxis, buses… (the list goes on) we get to set in traffic for a really long time.  Especially if we travel on a highway or at peak times.

sunset 1I say “get to”… A lot of people hate traffic with a ferocity that causes cold shivers even on the hottest summer days.  But me?  Well, I’m strange.  I like the anonymity of traffic.  It means I get to sing and dance and say hello to total strangers, and then never see them again.  Many a soundtrack has been memorised in my car while waiting for the traffic.  But there’s another great advantage to sitting in traffic – one that I managed to capture today.  Not very well, mind you (hey, I warned you I’m a terrible photographer), but capture it I did.DSCN4507

And this is where we get back to sunsets.

Rays that shoot across the sky in seemingly endless beams.  Yellows and pinks and blues and purples and oranges – colours that would look ridiculous together on a painting but somehow look incredible in the sky!  Silver lined navy clouds that hint at a cooler night, juxtaposed against white clouds that still have the sun DSCN4511spotlighting them in the great show that is the sunset.

Sitting in traffic tonight for 45 minutes meant a free 45 minute show of one of the greatest spectacles in the world.  With a repeat performance every night!

I realise that this series is supposed to be about South Africa and touristing.  But I’m quickly realising that it’s simply impossible to see the beauty of this country and not recognise the creator.  No one could choreograph anything as grand as the movement of the clouds.  No one could paint anything as breath-taking as the sunsets seen each dusk.  No one but my Lord.

The heavens declare the glory of God.

And here in Jozi, I get to see God’s handiwork in all its spectacular glory every single day!  If that’s not a reason to visit this place, what is?DSCN4509

Day 3 and I’m learning to love my country a lot more than I ever did before.

#25daysatourist

 

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Day 1: Some QUALITY Service

Meet Stanley.DSCN4486  Stanley did something extraordinary today and as my hero for the day, he has made it onto my blog.

Today, Stanley brought me a bag.

Now bringing a bag doesn’t sound like anything too impressive – but let me give you a little more background:

I arrived back in South Africa three days ago and after waiting for what felt like hours for my bags to make it around the carousel, I realised that those bags were not coming…  That’s right!  I got the gift all plane passengers wish they could receive – the gift of not having to lug 40kg home with them after a long flight.

Ok, maybe making lost luggage sound like a good thing is a little too much of a stretch.

But this great catastrophe in my life (as I perceived it – just think: no hair straightener, no facecloth, no slippers) turned out to be a great introduction to some of the great people of this Nation.

Since the moment I informed the people at OR Tambo International Airport that my bags were missing, I have been impressed.  From phone-calls about the progress, to friendly smiles at delivery.  Each person I have interacted with has been compassionate, patient, polite, and friendly.  When I came frustrated and exhausted, the people who assisted me offered understanding, and considerate and fast service.

Tonight I received my second and final piece of luggage.  It arrived at the hands of Stanley, who drove his own car, and had his wife and daughter with him.  He arrived at eight o’clock on a Sunday night.  Never before have I known such dedicated service – and it came with a smile!

I have heard before that the people of South Africa are some of the friendliest in the world.  Today I witnessed first-hand the sincerity, dedication, and friendliness of one of South Africa’s finest.

Today, thanks to Stanley, I am proud to be South African. Today, I am a very happy tourist!

#25daysatourist