Planning the trip in Jo'burg

Trip Start Jul 26, 2008
Trip End Nov 27, 2008

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Flag of South Africa  , Gauteng,
Tuesday, August 5, 2008

We landed in Johannesburg, "the most dangerous place in the southern African countries", at night.  Philly, the driver from the hostel, picked us up and we went straight to bed.  You are never sure how dangerous these places really are when you read about them, you have to wait until you are there and hear it from the locals.  The people working at our hostel basically told us not to walk anywhere.  We felt pretty trapped there.  But one night we did go out with Philly to a club in Joburg, he drove us and hung out with us.  He is a chill guy and tt ended up being a really fun night. 

We had a minor surprise when we got back from the club at about 2am and this large, regal-type, middle-aged couple were standing in the kitchen of the hostel giving us the third degree.  (the way the hostel works is the key is inside the door, so you have to reach inside the door and grab the key off the counter to unlock the door.  They were glaring at us the whole time we were doing this!).  They asked us a ton of questions about what room we were in and what we were doing etc.  So we just assumed they were the owners.  After a couple mins the man says, "okay, what I really want to know is- Is it safe here?"  When we said "yes", the hostel is safe, they both grasped their chests and let out a sigh of relief.  It turns out they are from Botswana and are on a layover and their kids booked them this hostel.  (which they are going to kill by the way!)  We thought it was so funny that this big, black couple (who completely blend in) were scared to be there and we were the ones comforting them! 

The next day we got booted from the hostel because we did not book another night and they were all booked up.  We moved to a hostel in the northern suburbs, which ended up being awesome-we had the whole house to ourselves and the neighborhood was "safer".  We had a little more freedom to walk around.  Every house had electric fence and, security system, and guard dog.  (except for our hostel.  But we were so happy to have the house we didn't care.)  It was definitely a rich neighborhood.  Expensive cars everywhere.  The bad thing was there was basically no internet so it was really hard to plan the trip.  (which we will come to learn is a trend in S.A.  If there is internet it is super expensive!  Chris said that I might have to start excepting donations to keep the blog going!) 

Joburg is a car city like LA.  You drive everywhere and if you don't drive you take a bus or cab.  So Chris and I must have been quite a site walking all around.  We had too keep our guide book in a plastic grocery bag so we didn't look so much like tourists.  We also don't have many pictures because we never took our camera anywhere.  It would have been fun to have pictures at the club, but oh well.

We ended up booking a Baz Bus route.  It is a backpackers van that picks you up from your hostel and drops you off at the next hostel you booked along the route.  We are not sure how it will work out, but we need to get out of Johannesburg.  We ended up staying there for 5 nights!
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