Monday, May 3, 2010

And some people say that there is nothing fun to do in Joburg!

Have had a couple of crazy weeks in Joburg again. There is so much to do here if you know where to look! I am also proud to say that I have done and seen things for the first time and learnt a whole lot about the city. All this just makes me love Johannesburg even more. It is definitely turning into my biggest passion.

So here is what I have been up to lately.

A couple of Saturdays ago...I had just the busiest day out doing a whole lot of completely new things. First I started off the day with a visit to the Rand Club with the "Friends of the Joburg Art Gallery" and my mom and sister. What an awesome tour (given by a longstanding member). The club- established in 1886 was from the beginning the social centre for Joburg's elite. The building built in 1904 and then refurbished in 2005 after a fire, is beautiful. The art is amazing as are the stunning stained glass windows.

After tea at the club myself and my mom and sister then drove the short distance to one of my favourite areas in the city- Fordsburg. The vibe at the market that takes place here on Saturdays is great and the food is to die for. One of the best things about the "deli's" in the area are that they give you tastes of everything! The Indian Sweetmeats are the best and don't even get me started on the the savoury snacks. We also visited the spice and prayer shops. I have a tour of the area in May which ends off with dinner at one of the famous restaurants in the area so be sure not to miss it. Its great as you get to experience another one of Joburg's awesome cultures.

I then rushed home and got ready to do something I have never done before- I went to a rugby match at Ellis Park (lions vs Sharks). I know that most locals are shocked that I have never done this but I am not a huge sports fan. When a friend offered to get the tickets I said yes as I feel that since I am going to a World Cup match at Soccer City, I should also give rugby a chance. We had a really good time- watched some rugby, drank some beer and bought some tiny illegal bottles of brandy! What did sadden me though is that everyone seemed to be supporting the Sharks- they'r not even a Joburg Team.

After the match we ended up at the the Devonshire Hotel in Braamfontein's, Long Bar. I love this bar- great vibe. The hotel has been open since the 1930's and the bar was a really popular student hangout in the 1970's and 80's. What a great day out although super busy!

I have also done some other awesomely fun things recently!

I have spent loads of time in Diagonal Street in town- either taking tours or just hanging out! Love this area way to much. The fact that the street is diagonal gives it such a unique feel- It reminds me of Diagon Alley in Harry Potter (silly I know). I also love the really unique tiny shops that have been owned by the same family's for decades. My two favourite shops are the famous "Kwazulu Natal Muti Museum" (the smell of the dried herbs, skin and dead animals is crazy) and the shop one street down that specialises in beautiful Sotho blankets. I also discovered a really unique shop in Jeppe Street that has played a large part in many migrant labours lives- it sells farming implements which seems pretty unique in a bustling modern city like Joburg. They even had the pieces of wood that go on oxen when they pull a plow. I can just imagine migrant mine workers in the past, buying various farming equipment to sent home.

As usual I have gone to the Guildhall a great deal recently. Most of our Joburg Tours end off here (the poor mans Rand Club). They make awesome Portuguese food (my dad was heard to say the best he has ever tasted) and its a great place to have drinks while looking out at the city! What I also find quite interesting is-the argument surrounding "which is the oldest bar in Joburg". The three bars in the running are the Guildhall, the Radium Beer Hall on Louis Botha and Kitcheners in Braamfontein. Evidence that I have taken a look at says that the Guildhall is the oldest (1888 and in the right part of town to be the oldest) and Kitcheners the second, although people on my tours always like to add what they have heard which is great.

Probably one of the most important things happening in Joburg at the moment is the unveiling of a really awesome new fossil find- Sediba. This new fossil has been on show at the Origins Centre at Wits for the few days and will continue to be on exhibit for the next couple of weeks. This really is a once in a life time opportunity and the Origins Centre is unmissable. I went to have a look and was lucky enough to listen in on a tour being given by Sediba's finder Lee Burger. Sooo interesting and it made me realise once again how great it is that we live right near such a world famous and important archaeological area. I cant emphasise how much everyone should go and take a look. I am also doing some fun tours of the find and an easy intro to evolution and past finds, which I think really helps everyone understand why Sediba is so important and how it fits into past finds.

I also did a really fun "Bustling Braamfontein" tour over this last weekend. What an awesome way to spend a sunday morning. We started with delicious coffee and Muffins at the Devonshire Hotel (on Jorrison Street) and a trip to their 17th floor to take pictures of the city skyline. We then began our lazy walking tour of the area. Some of the stops we made and topics we discussed are Kitcheners, city rejuvenation and public art. We also made a surprise stop at the new Scientology Centre on Jorrison Street who welcomed us in when they saw us taking a look. I like to think that I am really open minded so I found it interesting learning about a religion that gets such bad publicity (thanks TOM CRUISE). The church of Scientology has renovated an old bank building beautifully and have installed a interesting museum on the ground floor- it has an art deco, Egyptian and African feel- really well done. Luke who showed us around told us lots of interesting stuff about the church and its leader (did you know L. Ron Hubbard lived in linksfield for 7 months during the 1960's?). Really interesting although I don't see myself becoming a member anytime soon.

So as you can see have done loads of interesting new things around town lately- cant wait to see what Joburg has to offer next!