Or, Shopping, Shopping and More Shopping
28.04.2015 - 29.04.2015
Sandton City is a bustling area with all the modern conveniences of home. As we arrive in' Joburg' we can't help but notice the amazing airport, new roads and construction all around marked by large cranes and new buildings. Some of the traffic lights (robots) are not working, reminding us about the daily power outages. In Johannesburg the outages come everyday at different intervals so you don't know if it will be in the morning, afternoon or evening, but you can count on the power going out for several hours every day. The reason for this is due to poor infrastructure and lack of planning. With a growing population of 60 million people the demand is great.
Other than that the city has everything we have here in the states and more. The mall our hotel is attached to has mostly American brand stores. What is different is that you may notice that all of a sudden there is a man with a semi-automatic rifle and a bullet proof vest standing in front of you. We wondered what that was about, Allan asked if we could take a picture, he was not amused. About an hour later we walked past the same spot and he was gone. We realized after that he was standing guard at the bank where money was being picked up or dropped off via helicopter to prevent theft. He was standing guard so no one could access the bank through the mall entrance. We saw that again in the Rosebank Mall as well.
I am sure after seeing this several times a day in different parts of town it becomes ordinary and perhaps unremarkable. For us it was a little unnerving.
Monday, our last full day was Freedom day, a public holiday celebrating the election 21 years ago when everyone got to vote in the first free election in 1994 ushering in a democracy. We celebrated with a Braai at our cousins home and were made to feel so welcome it was as if we had been there many times. The warmth and love was apparent and we felt sad that we all live so far apart depending on FB for family news. We tried our best to speak with each person there to find out all about them and their life in SA. We had so many things in common and not so many differences. Day to day life is much the same in SA with a strong influence on family, friends and work.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fantastic food served at this amazing family event, the grilled meats and fish were done to perfection and the salads superb. I will write a separate blog all about the food and I am sure that won't surprise anyone that knows me!
So that is it for this amazing adventure. We spent the last day packing, shopping and we met our Aunt and Cousin for lunch at Moyo, a fantastic African restaurant in Melrose Arch for lunch. Allan had the Durban curry and he said it was outstanding. Whoo, whoo, going out with a bang!
We had a late flight (11PM ) to Amsterdam with a connection to Newark after a layover just long enough for us to do some more shopping! What did we buy, who knows, but when the unpacking begins, we will find out. I know we have to eat all the Biltong on the plane because you can not bring meat in the US.
Thank goodness for Global Entry, we sailed to the front of the line for immigrations and customs and we were off the plane and out the door in less than 30 minutes. Sweet.
Home sweet home, we had a great trip and it is good to be home, too. No complaints, no regrets.
I will have a couple more entries on the flights, the food and the people we met along the way, so stay tuned.
Unbelievably grateful and happy,
PS. If you have been following along, please excuse spelling, grammar and punctuation. Many times I was writing a 1, 2 or 3 in the morning but it was more important to me to write from each location as much as possible so my feelings were fresh.
Hope you enjoyed this blog.