Johannesburg Stories and Tips

A week in the life of an RCI Guide

Unfortunately the end is in sight. There are only two weeks left before I leave South Africa. In the past month I have made new friends, seen many wondrous sights and experienced new foods. This week was to turn out to continue those three things – more new friends new sights and new foods.

Monday through Friday daytime was the usual – work. Although at lunch time I was able to get out three times to the Brazilian Coffee House out of five, not bad. On Monday with Rita and Mandy, on Wednesday with – new friends – the Els. (It turns out that this couple’s granddaughter works with me back in Canada), and finally on Thursday with Lloyd and Emce.

Tuesday evening was a night out right after work. Diner was at the Dros restaurant (Visit their website ) located at Broadacres Mall, Johannesburg. This restaurant is well known for their draft beer, but the food was not the best. I mention it only as a place to go for a drink, not for the food.

This was followed by an evening performance at the Barnyard Playhouse, which is located in the same shopping mall as the above restaurant. This is a unique type of theater. First of all you bring your own food to eat, in that way it is like a dinner theater. They do supply beverages. It is a combination of music and comedy, and as always this makes for a great combination. The theme was the 1960’s and it was fast paced and lively. Another good feature was that the music was live, not recorded. The show only runs for a few weeks and then they change the theme so that you can go back again and again. This made of a nice night out at the middle of the week.

The Barnyard Playhouse has performances every Tuesday through Saturday at 8:00pm, doors open at 6:30pm and on Sundays there is a special buy one get one free for the matinee, performances start at 2:00pm, doors open at 12:30. Tickets cost Rand 90 and are available from The Barnyard @ Broadacres. Visit their website .

Wednesday evening was the department’s night at the movies. Back in September the inbound department won a contest at the center. The prize was a night out to a premier of a movie. Each person could bring a date for the evening. Tonight was the night! The group had decided earlier to see the movie ‘Intolerable Cruelty,’ a romantic comedy with bite. It was starring George Clooney and Catherine Zeta Jones.

Tonight we left work and headed to the Sandton Mall theater complex. I had a dilemma, I was a long way from home and it was hard to find a date. My first choice, Lynn my host, had said yes, however at the last minute she had to turn me down due to personal family problems. What was I to do? To the rescue came Emce, one of the agents in the department. It turned out her fiancé could not go either.

On the way to the mall we were stopped by several police cars traveling together, apparently in a hurry to go somewhere. I started counting them as they went by. There were a total of 27 cruisers. Later that evening we found out that they were all new vehicles and that they were just going around the inner city showing them off.

Upon arrival at Sandton mall we headed to the Ocean Basket for supper. There we met up with Rita and Mandy. See the separate article on the Ocean Basket. After dinner we walked around the mall until it was time to go to the show. Doing the usual price shopping I found that prices here were higher than they were at other malls in Johannesburg region.

After the movie we headed for the car and to go home. Emce had lost her parking ticket and it meant that we would have to pay $30RAND to exit. I talked to the security guard and because I was from Canada and a tourist he let us out for $7 (and a tip of $3). Thank you Canada.

Prior to leaving Saint John I found out that one of the guides working there had roots back in South Africa. She asked me to see if I could get in touch with her grand parents. Well Thursday I went to the Brazilian Coffee house and me them. Boy, sure is hot out about 30C. The grand parents were ecstatic to see current pictures and to have their photos taken in return.

Friday was October 31st. In North America a large day for Halloween, in South Africa it is not a big activity. However as we were visiting from N.A. they office went all out to celebrate it, (hey another party, right!!!). There were witches, warlocks and devils, a weird guy from Hawaii (thought he was on the beach) even an "Essex girl." After work Rita and I had been invited out for a special dinner at Anne’s home. What a treat was in store for us. Clair is Anne’s daughter and what a cook, WOW. Here is the menu:
Starter – Cold pea and mint soup
Entrée – Baby shrimp, King Clip, Tomato and avocado.
Main – Steak, julienne vegetables and baby, roasted potatoes
Desert – Passion fruit in a green jelly mold.
After – Specialty cheeses and crackers
Wine – A different one served with each course.

On Saturday I spent the day shopping at Fourways Mall, by far the best in the region, both selection and price wise. The daytime was very hot and I was glad to be inside the air con at the mall. The evening was spent at another party that was on the Halloween theme and was a potluck supper. Remember South Africans love their food.

Sunday saw some rain move in and a cooling trend. The high reached about 22C. Today marks the start of packing. With all the extra’s I have bought I had to go out and find the largest duffle bag there is to put them into. So remember when traveling take along an extra case for returning home.

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