Into the Lions Den Part 2

Trip Start Nov 24, 2008
Trip End Oct 21, 2009

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Where I stayed
Brown Sugar Backpackers

Flag of South Africa  , Gauteng,
Tuesday, July 7, 2009

We managed to drag ourselves out of bed at about midday the day after the game. We were feeling a bit delicate and made our way slowly to the kitchen where we had some tea and toast. We felt a little better after that and decided to join the English lads in the bar where it turns out they had been since 9am. They seemed sober but I soon realised that this was not how I wanted to spend my day so after about an hour I headed back to the room where I read my book and dozed for the whole afternoon. Alan on the other hand stayed in the bar and was eventually encouraged to join in the rounds.
When I came back down later the guys had ordered steaks in and we were to cook them on the Barbeque outside on the patio. One of the English lads had met a South African girl the night before and so she and her friend came to pick up two of the lads to take them out for dinner. They left their steaks in the fridge for another night. After about two hours we finally got the wood lit and it was time to put our steaks on. There were five rump steaks and one porterhouse. The smallest steak weighed just under 500g and the largest weighed 800g. The average price per steak was about €5. They really know how to eat meat here! In the end we didn't cook our steaks to how we would have liked them and I couldn't eat all of mine but they were nice all the same.
We were having a few beers after dinner with some other people staying at the hostel when the lads arrived back. They were pretty shaken up too! They had headed off in a pretty new BMW with the two girls. The steering went in the car when they were in the middle of a highway. They managed to steer the car into a petrol station. The garage was smack bang in the middle of a no go area of Jo'burg. The girl driving the car rang the AA straight away and told them that they were in danger and that they needed assistance straight away. Then she phoned the police and told them the same story. At this stage the two lads were bricking it. They said that the locals came up and began circling the car and staring in. After waiting for about two hours the AA finally came to tow them away. The police never came. The AA truck dropped them off at the hostel and they didn't even wait for the gate to be opened. Instead they climbed over it, while everyone in the bar laughed at them on the CCTV. Just another crazy story in Jo'burg.
The following day myself and Alan got up with all the willingness to go out and do something but made it as far as the bar and ordered pizza take away instead. To go anywhere you need a driver or a reputable taxi driver to bring you there. This is expensive and then you have to do the same coming back so we just weren't bothered in the end. We spent the afternoon playing darts and pool. That evening, after dinner, it was time for Alan to go through with a promise that he had made to me a few weeks ago. The beard was getting completely out of control. Yeah its cool when you first see it and yeah he's a man cause he can grow a big beard, whatever! At the end of the day he grew the beard for three months before I said anything about shaving it off and he grew it for a further month after I objected to it. There's your compromise! Anyway we found a guy in the hostel who had an electric razor and asked him if he'd shave Alan's head too as he wanted a haircut. Christian shaved Alan's hair into a Mohawk first and then shaved the whole lot down to a two blade. Then Alan went off by himself to the bathroom to shave the beard. We had agreed that he'd shave the beard to a two blade also (my compromise) but in the end he shaved it right down leaving just a moustache. I still don't like the moustache much. When Alan came back to the bar a lot of people didn't even recognise him. It was pretty funny.
Excitement over we had a few more beers and chatted to some interesting characters who were also staying in our hostel. There were two South African darts teams who were in town for a national championship and we learned a lot about South Africa from them. They were really friendly and proved again how hospitable South Africans are to tourists in their country.
During the evening I got chatting to an English girl who had been travelling around SA for the last six weeks with her boyfriend. I was hoping to get some tips and recommendations from her as all travellers tend to do. She started telling me about her favourite places but soon changed the subject to how racist the white South Africans are. I told her that I had only been in the country a few days and hadn't come across any evidence of that. Then I told her how nice all South Africans had been to me and my boyfriend. I said I would wait to experience it myself but that surely not every white South African could be racist. She insisted they were. I then said well surely in every country and in every race there are good people and that not all white South Africans could be racist. She then called me naive. It was at this stage that I realised there was no getting through to her and that she was in fact racist herself. She spent the rest of the evening having a hissy fit because her boyfriend wouldn't defend her argument against me. She stood watching him while he drank some beer and had a good time with everyone else and then she kicked him in the one place you don't kick a man and smacked him across the face in front of everyone in the bar. What a classy girl!
On Tuesday morning Alan decided he'd go golfing with another Irish guy we'd met in the hostel. The golf course was only around the corner and seemed to be reasonably priced. I didn't want to sit around doing nothing so I got a taxi to the Apartheid Museum for the afternoon. It is a huge museum. On the way in they give you a card that distinguishes your race. White, Non-White and Black. I was Non-White. This meant that I had to enter the museum through the entrance for Non Whites. I never really knew a lot about the Apartheid Era only that it segregated races and it was a bad thing. I remember when Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990, I was only about 8, I remember thinking who is he? What's the big deal? Well after my 3 hours in the museum now I see the big deal. During my time in the museum I experienced anger, sadness, joy and hope. There were many films, pictures, and writings. You would have to spend a whole day at the museum to see, read and watch everything so I skipped over or glanced at a lot of things. I'm glad I went to understand a huge part of South African history. When I got back I discovered that Alan and Gary hadn't been allowed to play golf because they didn't have the appropriate attire! It seems that golf clubs here are like many at home and don't allow denim or collarless shirts and golf shoes are compulsory. Instead they got involved in a big 'Lions' vs South Africa darts tournament in the hostel, the Lions made a valiant effort but the South Africans were too good for them in the end.
That evening we packed our bags and then played some poker in the bar with the darts team. We had a few beers and said our goodbyes to everyone. It was such a nice hostel to stay in and I would recommend it to anyone going for the world cup next year who is on a tight budget.
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