Ah good, no more time restrictions, now I don't have to rush anymore, forgetting half of what I was planning to write!
Ok, so we arrived in Jo'burg late Thursday afternoon, were picked up by our friend Gail and dropped off at our hotel in Rosebank.. Right across from the hotel is a whole chain of malls (The Zone, The Rosebank Mall), which made us feel like we were in America - kind of shocking! We were quite tired after the long trip and also hungry so after walking around a bit we found a restaurant called 'Sophia's Mediterranean' where we could sit outside. Their Greek salad had the creamiest feta cheese I've ever tasted! Mmh! The other food was good too and the wine ...
Let me tell, if you're used to American wine prices, come to South Africa and you'll think you are in paradise! South Africa has a lot of great wine - as we were about to find out ;-) - and you can get a really good bottle in a restaurant for under 10 US dollars.
So after a good night's sleep Gail picked us up again the next morning and took us to a place called 'Fournos Bakery' for breakfast and then on a quick drive through downtown Jo'burg. Now according to most guide books central Jo'burg is a place you'd better avoid as a tourist but driving through it seemed much less scary than we had expected - being in a car driven by a local who knew where she was going may have helped. You do keep your car doors locked all the time when driving in the city though.
Our next stop was MuseuMAfricA, which is part of the Market Theatre Complex in Newtown. The museum has a very good exhibition about the Treason Trials. - 156 people opposed to apartheid (the most prominent today being Nelson Mandela) were tried for treason over 4 1/2 years in the 1950s and eventually acquitted. - Other areas of the museum document the 'Road to Democracy' and the 1994 elections, Gandhi's time in Johannesburg, township jazz, etc., and where very interesting. Only the geology exhibit was disappointing as it hardly gave any explanation as to what was being shown.
Unfortunately there's no picture of me in front of the museum, so this one, taken inside in Frascati's Bar (an old bar re-installed in the museum), will have to do!
Next we had lunch at another very good restaurant, Rhubarb, in Sandton Square, where we met - among others - our future travel companions Ann (the wine expert!) and Carol. Unlike many Americans, South Africans don't seem opposed to drinking wine early in the day - this would become much clearer later on ;-) - so we had a couple of glasses before heading into the Sandton Mall to do some shopping for our trip that was about to start the next day. Besides groceries we also bought the 'eat out restaurant guide of SA' (a pretty helpful magazine) and the ubiquitous 'John Platter South African Wines 2004' guide - very handy indeed!
In the afternoon we then went for a stroll in trendy Melville before heading to the 'Color Bar' for drinks and 'Moyo' at the Melrose Arch for a lekker African dinner. ('Lekker' is a very important word used to describe not only delicious food but also people, beaches and just about everything else that is good!)
The restaurant's decor is stunning and the food (from all over Africa) includes dishes like Mozambique fish curry and ostrich steak. And, boy, was this place busy! It seems to be very popular for parties, so don't go there for a quiet candlelight dinner!
Gotta go now, it's gonna be a long drive tomorrow! Toodaloo, Livi