Into the Lions Den Part 1
Trip Start Nov 24, 2008
98Trip End Oct 21, 2009
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Where I stayed
Brown Sugar Backpackers
The flight from Perth to Jo'Burg took 12 hours but was surprisingly comfortable, we both slept for most of it which helped. We landed 5am on Thursday morning and we stumbled our way to baggage collection. We had arranged for the hostel to pick us up but there was no sign of them when we came through customs. We gave them a ring and after a bit of confusion they found us and we made the short drive to the hostel about 15 minutes away. The driving is pretty crazy in Jo'Burg as we discovered quickly enough when we were doing about 140km/h down a busy dual carriage way on the way to the hostel. There are other reasons too which I'll get into later.
When we got to the hostel we got our room and just crashed out for about 5 hours, seems the sleep on the plane wasn't enough after all
We had done a lot of research before we arrived in Jo'Burg and consensus was that its a very dangerous place. In fact its known as one of the most dangerous cities in the world with the highest rate of rapes and the second highest rate of murders. They have the Sun newspaper here and reading it gives you a idea of what its like, I counted 35 stories about either murder, rape or shootings! All that being said we had met people before we got here that said its a bit exagerated and you'll get a feel for what its really like after you've been there a few days. Looking back I don't think I would agree what people told us because we saw a lot of seriously dodgy stuff going on and met quite a few people with first hand accounts of trouble they got into. I'll try and remember some of the crazier stories as I go along.
Friday morning we went to the Soweto township on a guided tour. Without getting into too much of the history the basic idea was that during the Apartheid many black South Africans were forcefully relocated from the city and its suburbs to these townships
Saturday morning we dragged ourselves out of bed and down to the kitchen for some breakfast. The place was filled with people wearing Lions' jerseys except for one guy with a South African jersey who kept telling everyone how the Lions were going to get trashed, unfortunately this was going to be a common occurence throughout the day as most of the Springbok supporters are ridiculously arrogant and full of themselves (Even more so than Munster supporters
If the atmosphere outside was good then when we got in it was amazing! It was hard to believe that South Africa had already won the first 2 tests and all we were playing for was pride. Everyone was chanting for the Lions and as the game progressed it got better and better, probably because we were on the way to trashing them! In fact after the game a few people were saying it was the worst score that South Africa have ever been beaten by in Ellis Park. This is a big deal because Ellis Park is like their spiritual home where they won the World Cup among other things. A lot of the South African supporters started leaving with 10 minutes to go even though their team was about to be presented with the trophy. The Lions' supporters didn't leave at the end while South Africa got their trophy and both squads did a lap of the grounds afterwards thanking them
After the game we hit the Lions' Den bar again and started what was to be a pretty crazy night of celebrating. We met a few people we knew but in the spirit of the Lions' me and Rachel ended up sticking with the 3 lads from London. We got taxis to a few different bars and settled in a place called Rhapsody's until about midnight. It was a good laugh and we got talking to a couple of South African supporters who insisted on buying round after round of different shots for us. We even had shots of something called springboks which were illuminous green and nasty! 2 of lads from London had had enough at that stage and made there way back to the hostel. Me, Rachel and Danny from London decided to head across to the other side of the city in search of a nightclub called Manhatton. We never did find it but we found a nightclub which had the Lions' bus parked outside so we decided to go in there instead. On the way in we met Jamie Heaslip coming out. He complimented me on my beard and posed for a picture with us, nice fella. After paying the exhorbitantly high entry fee we got inside and discovered most of the Lions' players were there. Rachel was disapointed though because her hero Rob Kearney was no where to be seen. We met a load of the other lads from our hostel and had a few drinks with them. After what seemed like only 10 minutes it was 4am and everyone was looking a bit worse for wear. Me and Rach decided to call it a night and on the way out of the nightclub who walks in but Rob Kearney
It was a great day and re-arranging our flights and spending a lot of money on match tickets was worth it in the end.