Thursday was the 4th of July and so a bunch of us attended a party thrown by the US Embassy but it was pretty disappointing because the food wasn't that great and the fire workers literally did not get off the ground...and it was actually really strange to see so many Americans in one place. My group also decided to throw a party for all of us in one of our dorm rooms so we had a blast with that, and the next morning I was off to Johannesburg!
|Brown Sugar Backpackers!|
The first thing that I noticed about Joberg is how big it is. But really, it could have easily passed as New York or Chicago. We arrived in the evening on Friday and had an amazing (yes really that good) dinner at our backpacker called Brown Sugar, a quaint little hostel type place situation on a hill overlooking the city. We went out that night but nothing really interesting occurred so that's all I'll say about that. Except for the fact that it was FREEZING walking around trying to find a good bar to go to. Oh wait, I almost forget to mention this. So Joberg is a pretty dangerous city to live in and walk around, especially at night. For instance, we learned that cars don't stop at red lights at night but rather treat them as stop signs because if a car stops for too long it will become an easy target for getting carjacked. Nice right? On a happier note, on Friday we celebrated my friend Abigail's 21st birthday!
|At the Top of Africa!|
After that we continued on to visit the town of Soweto, a really rural village where Nelson Mandela actually lives when he comes to Joberg. While we learned that Joberg is a pretty dangerous city to live in, the opposite is actually true of Soweto which is surprising considering how much poverty and lack of education there is. We got a tour of Soweto from a local guide that lives in the village and uses the tours to educate people the people living in Soweto that are defying the odds and going to school and trying to change their circumstances instead of sitting back and feeling sorry for themselves and not trying to work as hard as they can.
|Nothing more gorgeous than smiling kids|
|Walking around Soweto|
|A typical house|
|The fully restored house of Nelson Mandela|
|The Joburg Group inside the Mandela House!|
|The famous picture of Hector Pieterson|
Our last stop for the day was the Apartheid Museum. This museum is really intense and reminded me a lot of the Holocaust Museum iN Washington not just because of the similarities in content but also in how the museum was structured and layed out. There was quite a large Nelson exhibition, how ever, a lot of us thought that because of that focus on Mandela, we didn't learn as much about Apartheid as a whole as we would have liked. But not to worry, I got a great learning experience revolving around Apartheid from visiting Robben Island in Cape Town--don't worry the next blog post will go into much more detail about my Cape Town adventures!
|Outside the Apartheid Museum|
|Each color stick represents a set of quotes by Mandela. |
We each picked one that we connected with the most.
Anyway, overall my weekend in Joburg was so much fun! W topped Sturday off by going out to a few bars and then spent most of the night at this cool club where Abigail and I shared a fishbowl (just a really huge bowl that gets you super drunk very quickly haha) of this drink called Sex Dragon which I can only describe as an amazing combination of Sex on the Beach and ginger ale plus different yummy favors that I can't even describe! Needless to say we had a fun night, and the pictures that surfaced the next day made that even clearer!
I didn't really think I would like South Africa, but after visiting Joburg I realized I had had some very unrealistic preconceived notions about this country. I have come to really appreciate the culture and its people (and the night life :) ) and I'm definitely planning to come back!
Stay tuned for what is most likely going to be my longest (and last) blog post from this trip, where I'll talk about my amazing trip to Cape Town to end my amazing African Adventure!