Johannesburg

Trip Start Mar 08, 2007
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Trip End Mar 23, 2007


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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Apart from a few hours in transit, we never really got to see much of Joburg until the last day and a half when we returned before flying out. We took kind of a Sunday drive approach to exploring the city and made our way accross town in no particular hurry checking out some of the different neighborhoods along the way.
One of the places we had been looking forwards to going for the whole trip was the Carnivore restaurant on the outskirts of Joburg. It is one of those churrascarias specializing in game meats as well as more traditional grilled fare. Not only were we able to get reservations, but we also were able to find the place; both of which were challenges in their own right. Many large tourist groups frequent the place, but it wasn't the crowd that made it difficult to get reservations. It was getting ahold of someone on the phone. Then we got a little lost(went on a mini adventure) on the way there. The food was pretty good, and I had Giraffe, which I had never had before. I was a little dissapointed in the service though and decided that the whole place was a bit too touristy. I'm still glad that we went there though and checked off that box. The next day we went on a tour of the Soweto township which is one of the tourist things to do which has gained popularity in recent days.
I was pretty surprise by the townships, because I was envisioning the whole area to be shanty towns as shown on the tv and SA movies. There were certainly some people living in the shanty towns, but it seemed like most of the houses in Soweto were fairly respectable. You are advised not to go into the townships without a guide, so I image that maybe they are a little rougher at night. We got to see the house of Mandela and Arch Bishop Tutu. Apparently it is the only place in the world where two Nobel prize recipients houses are on the same street. We ate lunch at Wandie's which is a fairly famous eating establishment there in Soweto. We actually heard about in from some locals when we were down in Cape Town, but later saw it in the Lonely Planet guide as well. It seems that anybody who is anybody and been to Soweto has eaten there. The place has the walls completely covered with photos and business cards from their famous patrons from all over the world. The food was pretty good as well. After the tour finished up we only had a few more hours before our flight, but we still had a list of things we were trying to squeeze into our trip. Despite going on another mini adventure, we finally found the Cradle of Humankind, a cave where they found the oldest human skeleton yet. They named it Ms Ples even though they were unable to identify the sex of the skeleton, and apparently it stole the title away from Lucy of Olduvai acclaim.
After seeing the Caves and laughing at the other two people on our tour, who apparently had never been in a cave, we were back on the road looking for some last minute shopping. We were impressive as we swooped into the place we were looking for, bought up everything that we could get our hands on that we could hand carry onto the plane, and were back on the road in no time flat. Only one more hurdle before getting on our long flight home...rushhour traffic. No worries though. We made it and even had a minute or two to spare. Who wants to sit in the plane on the ground for half an hour after boarding anyways? We were going to be sitting there for the next 20 hours.
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