Johannesburg, South Africa

Trip Start Jun 05, 2012
Trip End Jul 10, 2012

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Saturday, July 7, 2012

     I didn't sleep that well, or maybe the sleep I was getting was so high quality that I didn't need as much.  Breakdfast started at 7:00 so we were there when it opened.  It was referred to as a scrumptious breakfast, and I would not go that far when describing it.  There were eggs, cheese, toast, and cereal.  There was also some nasty looking lunch meat ham but other than that it was the same as we have been having for the last month.  Miles showered first, then it was my turn.  We asked the lady at the front desk about a pizza place that we found a flyer for and they do deliver here.  Looks like we found dinner!  We had a transfer scheduled for 8:30 to take us to the Apartide Museum.  We have been told that it will take us a half day to go through this museum.  We got to the museum at 8:49 and sat outside until it opened.  We were the only people there in the crisp "winter" air.  The first part was outside and I thought about how it was about 90 degrees at home and that would be very welcomed at this point.  
     We went into the temporary exhibit and it happened to be all about Nelson Mandela.  His birthday is July 18th and apparently it is a very big deal here in South Africa.  It basically took you through his life, how he was imprisoned, and his life in prison.  He had about 30 visitors during one six year period.  Lettters were censored and he could only write one 500 word letter per month.  They had a replica of his jail cell.  It talked about some of his fellow ANC people who were also put in prison.  Then there was stuff about the president who finally released him.  Mandela gave a big speech days after his release.  Then he ran for and became the first democratically elected president.  He said he would only serve one term and made the previous president one of his duputies.  The other one became the next president.  On display was a red Mercedes.  The workers wanted to do something special for Mandela so they volunteered the time to build the car.  There was also footage of the president with the Springbok rugby team who in 1995 defeated the much stronger New Zealand.  This really helped unite the country. 
     Then we went over to the permanent exhibit.  It started with how things were when gold was found in the late 1880's.  They needed black people to work in the mines because they were cheaper but they didn't want them to live in the cities.  Many ideas of Apartheid were not too far off being modeled after Hitlers ideas.  The guy who was pushing for apartheid the most even had an assassination attempt on his life but that didn't stop him and caused him to even make harsher rules.  There were four classes: whites, colored, Asian, and Africaana.  Anyone who spoke out against this could be jailed and at least 130 people died in jail.  Mandela and many others were jailed for as much as 25 years.  Even secondary school students got into protesting against Apartheid with the slogan "no education before liberation".  Finally, in 1991, Mandela and anyone else whose only "crime" was being a member of the Anti-Apartheid were released.  For a few years though there was extreme fighting, deaths, and unrest as the different parties struggled for power.  Finally in 1994, they held the first election.  People stood in line over a kilometer long for the chance to vote.  There were lots of people on the ballot (white, black, men, and women alike).  The next portion of the museum was about Mandela's presidency.  One area he struggled with was the AIDS/ HIV issue.  Finally, when he lost his last remaining son to AIDS he spoke out. 
     We left the museum and headed to DeRegos.  It was kinda like a fast food place but kinda like a sit down eating place too.  Miles got chicken wings and I got the worlds smallest chicken strips.  I did get some delicious ice cream to go with it though.  We walked over to Gold Reef City and Theme Park.  It was 160 Rand to get in plus another 80 Rand to go to the underground gold mine.  It wasn't that warm out, lots of the rides were closed and I didn't really want to pay $60 to see the gold mine when I didn't know how authentic it would be.  We headed over to the casino, bought playing cards and basically took turns gambling 200 Rand heac which was $25.  I was the big loser, only getting back $2.50 of the $25.  Miles cashed out 270 Rand and some change.  He did well at Blackjack, Quick Hits, and a Progressive.  We got a cab for 170 Rand (again-very expensive) to take us to Eastgate Mall.  On the way there we saw a huge black cloud of smoke.  We kept getting closer and finally we realized that it was a factory and the flames were shooting 50 feet in the air.  Later that night we used the internet to find out that it was a plastic factory and that it was so big that not only were Johannesburg firefighters there but also another city. 
     We got to the mall and soon realized that this largest mall in Johannesburg was also the largest mall that either of us had even been to.  We looked in some shops but many started closing by 5:00 and most were closed by 6:00.  This is a Saturday night, apparently the people do not know how to live it up!  We decided to eat here instead of ordering pizza to the hotel because of time.  We ate McDonalds.  I had the quarter pounder meal but Miles had a chicken foldover which was different from our McDonalds.  It was about $9.50 for us to eat here.  While at the mall we also got some chocolates from a shop having a sale.  The assorted box unfortunately had more mint than I had hoped.  Then it was time to find and exit which was a mission in itself.  Finally, we made it outside, found a cab, and negotiated a 50 Rand ride back to Brown Sugar.  We got back around 7:45, used the internet, and I wrote in the journal while Miles did a crossword.  What a long, tiring day for the both of us!

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Mom on

Sounds like another eventful day! Bet it was fun sampling at the bakery! :) Glad you liked the museum and had fun at the casino. The mall sounds amazing.....that's huge! Ouch on the taxi prices!

Wow! Here it is another scorching day! Last night at 11:30 it was still 92 degrees, with heat index of 102. They were saying triple digit temps today, with heat index 112-118 for central Indiana. Many fires have broken out over the state; McCormick's Creek State Park is on fire! They have FINALLY banned watering your lawn and washing cars. The ban is LONG overdue! We have had 3 solid weeks of temps in the high 90's to 108. (heat indexes 10 degrees or so higher) KY is the same. My yard has not needed mowed since you've been gone. It is all dead! We are supposed to have a good cool down early in the week. It is supposed to be high 80's to high 90's, so that will be much more tolerable for your return! :)

Enjoy your last couple of days! Love you very much! Be safe!

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