Trip Start Jan 12, 2008
171Trip End Oct 01, 2008
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Liz is waiting for me at the airport and we grab a rental car and decide to head to The South African Lion Park (www.lion-park.com) which I've heard so much about. Two hours, five gas stations, downtown Jo'burg (not too pretty), and a very long loop around the city later we wind up at our destination. We do a brief driving tour of the pastures and see some animals. We explore the lion cages in which many lions are just a few feet away from the car.
At this point, our adventures had made us quite hungry. Lucky for us, we were just a few short minutes away from a restaurant called The Carnivore. I had been to this same restaurant in Nairobi, Kenya with my family and claim that meal to be the best I've ever had, so I was mildly excited.
Another 45 minute detour (I swear the signs were horrible) and we were on our way to the airport to find a hotel. I was so tired of driving aimlessly that we stopped at the first hotel we found once in the airport complex. Imagine my surprise when I found out that there was a casino on the premises? Now, I decided before my trip that I wouldn't be frequenting casinos as I am technically unemployed but Liz had never been to one, so I figured we could make a short stop and she could just see what they were like. I start with the equivalent of $100 and 30 minutes later we got up from the blackjack table with a free hotel room, car rental, trip to the lion park and dinner at The Carnivore, as well as some left over for Madagascar... Good times!
Speaking with Liz throughout the day was awesome as she has a much different perspective on South Africa then Noah, Christine, and Coach. She has been working for the Peace Corps here and has been exposed to a much more local experience. While slightly jaded about the violence, she provides an extremely informative insight into what real life in South Africa (outside of Cape Town and Jo'burg) is like. I wonder how hard it will be for her to transition back into life at home, but will have to check back up with her later in the year as she still has time left in her program.
I fall asleep responding to emails and thinking about how amazing my experience here has been and how much I'm looking forward to the next stop, Madagascar!