Johannesburg Stories and Tips

A week in the life of an RCI Guide

View of Sandton City Photo, Johannesburg, South Africa

Well this is it! The last week of my first stay in South Africa. Looking back seven weeks it is hard to believe that I have done so much in such a short time. I have fallen in love with the country and its peoples. I hope to return here and introduce my wife Grace to the experience of the region soon.

Again, Monday through Friday I spent the daytime working at the RCI office. The evenings were chalked full of events as well.

Monday night saw a new chef at Heatherdale Guest House. I was asked to do the braai, and it was fun. We had chicken, lamb chops, sausages, and steak. Donny our host had prepared the vegetables and deserts. Although we sat down around 8pm for the meal we had it outside under the starry canopy of the clear night sky.

As a side note it was interesting to see the different stars that are not visible in the northern hemisphere. The Southern Cross was the most spectacular of all.

Tuesday morning started off with rain and the temperature was cooler around 13C. That evening it was packing time.

Wednesday started off cool again around 14C but sunny. Lunch was at the Brazilian Coffee house with Sarel and Reta. This has become my most favorite place to "hang out". Early morning coffee, lunch or after work to relax and converse with friends.

Following work Mandy and I went to Sandton City. We met up with Lynn, Rob and Reta for supper at the Montego Bay Restaurant. Here we were entertained by our waiter and enjoyed a beautiful 3 course meal. The final tally for 5 people was R1100.00 (US$160) for meal, drinks, and tip. After the meal we went for a walk through the shopping mall. Here we found a sports store with great bargains. I picked up an official S.A. Rugby team shirt and ball to bring home. The prices were less than 50% of other stores I had viewed the same items in.

Thursday morning we were still faced with cool temps (11C at 6am) but the sun soon warmed us up and by midday it was in the mid to upper 20’s. After work I was met by Doug Hamilton, who is an RCI member as well as a local church pastor. He took me home where I spent the evening over a beautiful meal, prepared by his wife Susan, and discussed there upcoming trip to Canada for the New year. From their back patio they have the most spectacular view of Sandton City (see the picture below).

Friday has arrived. This is my last day of work in Johannesburg. Lunch, yes well you can guess where! I went with the captivating Candice Westaway to the Brazilian for a final farewell to the staff there and Candice. At the end of the day Reta and I said our farewells to the staff after work at the office bar , the "Memphis Belle". When we returned to Heatherdale our hosts had decided to take us out for dinner to an old fashion styled English fish and chips restaurant, called the "Anglers Kitchen". Yes the food was good, but the thing I remember the most is that the power kept going off and on. I think there was something "fishy going on" (sorry for the pun).

Saturday, the day of departure, heading for home after 7 weeks abroad. Well not all the way home. I am flying to Frankfurt, Germany where I will meet up with my wife Grace and we will spend a week in southern Germany before going back to Canada. (See the next series of articles on that trip, entitled Germany 2004 and The Alps 2004).

Remember I have said before that the South African people are passionate about their Rugby? Well today is no different. Reta and Rob left right after breakfast for their holiday to Kruger and Capetown (see Reta Venable’s articles here a the community for her thoughts). I was to depart around 4pm for the airport for my flight. Mandy called and said she was coming over to see me one more time before I left, but it had to wait until after the "GAME".

About 10am we were all gathered around the family television to watch the match. It was the South Africans "Springboks" verses the New Zealand "All Blacks" team. Unfortunately the All Blacks were the victors by a score of 29-9. .

Shortly after the game ended, Mandy appeared and I was whist off on my final adventure in Jo’burg. Mandy new of an outdoor garden restaurant that she took me to for lunch. It is located in the Broadacres Shopping Mall. Surprise! Amanda showed up for the meal. Mandy presented me with a rainbow nation flag as her parting gift.

I stated above that this was my final adventure here. It all started shortly after lunch. The three of us were wondering through the gardens enjoying the warmth of the sunshine, the sweet fragrance of the flowers and the eye catching landscaping when we realized it was time to depart. We headed back to the parking lot to our vehicles where Amanda realized she had lost her keys.

Security was summand and the guard remained at her vehicle with his AK7 so that no thief could take it. Amanda and I wondered back to the gardens and restaurant without any success. We asked various employees again without success. Finally she entered the ladies restroom and returned with a smile, do to a successful retrieval of the missing keys.

Meanwhile back at the car stood the guard. When we approached he had Amanda unlock the car, get in and start it prior to him leaving. We then headed to another mall where Amanda had some ‘last minute’ shopping to do. It turned out she had seen a metal figurine candle holder that she wanted me to have. Ladies to both of you thank you for a wonderful surprise adventure and gifts as I was departing South Africa.

We arrived back at Heatherdale with only a few minutes to spare for my departure to the airport and my flight.

On time I departed the airfield around 8:15pm for the overnight flight to Germany. Yes this was the end of phenomenal adventure, I hope that you enjoyed it and would love to have feedback from you on it. P.S. if you need a guide to take you drop me a line.

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