Johannesburg, South Africa

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

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What I did
Mandela Square, Gautrain, "Top of Africa"

Flag of South Africa  , Gauteng,
Sunday, July 8, 2012

     Got up and went to breakfast around 7:30 with fewer expectations than yesterday.  We had cereal, eggs, toast, oranges, alvacado then prepared for the shower.  I paid dearly for being 30 minutes later than the day before.  One minute of warm water was followed but freezing cold water.  While Miles showered I got out clothes for tomorrow and tried to repack my bag.  We went to the reception area and waited for our 9:00 transfer to Sandton.  Our driver dropped us off at Nelson Mandela Square.  We were the only people in the square which was good for picture taking.  We walked around the mall area, then we saw a casino.  Well, actually it was called a gaming and entertaining center.  All the slot machines had Bingo at the top.  I couldn't even figure out how to do the Bingo.  Miles found a 2 cent machine that had a maximum of 200 credits which was 50 US cents per pull.  It was called King Cheetah and he won 480 Rand which is $60. Totally exciting!!! 
     Next we started walking towards the Harley shop.  The guy told us the long way for sure.  We finally got there only to discover that Harley tee-shirts were 390 Rand which is almost $50.  After almost crapping myself, I asked the lady why and she said that everything gets shipped from the US and there is a 40% tax on cotton. I spent forever deciding which shirt to buy for dad.  Then we started the long walk back to Mandela Square.  This area was pretty upscale so I asked if there was a food court. It was in Sandton City Mall wich was connected.  The malls here are massive.  Miles got Steers which reminded me of Hardees.  He got the Rave burger value meal.  I got the regular sized value meal at Schlosky's deli.  I got Chicken Macon.  I learned that macon is beef bacon.  As we walked out there was a Cinnabon!  The minibon was less than $2 and it was amazing.  I tried to get Miles to gamble more but he didn't walk to.  We headed to the Gautrain.  It was built basically to help with the World Cup.  It is only composed of one line that runs north to south with one split going to the airport.  We paid 33 Rand each to ride from Sandton to Park.  Park is in downtown Johannesburg.  We exited the train and asked security where to go to get to Carlton Center. He said it was too dangerous for us, that there were muggings.  We said we had been in Africa for over a month and felt safe.  With that said, he pointed us in the right direction.  We walked through the train station which had 12 platforms and there were Greyhound buses too.  Then we headed through a very sketchy area with really good prices but we were on a time schedule so we forged ahead
    We finally reached Carlton Center, then had to ask how to get to "Top of Africa".  We found the ticket booth and learned that it was 15 Rand (not quite $2) each to go to the 50th floor. There was a great 360 degree viewing area. We could see Ellis Park (home to the 1995 Rugby World Championship), the stadium used for the World Cup finals in 2010, and lots of big buildings.  Then it was time to look for another taxi.  Miles said that we could pay up to 160 Rand but when the guy said 120 Rand, I acted uninterested and got him down to 110 Rand.  As it turns out, he dropped us off in the wrong spot.  The guys set us there said thy were Bruma Market, but I knew it wasn't the right spot.  We walked on and saw a chinese wholesale.  They said they were open tomorrow so we looked briefly but continued looking for the other market.  It was closing at 5:00 which gave me 1.5 hours.  I spent $30 pretty quick, much to Miles' displeasure., then we got a shirt for one of the girls.  It wasn't even 4:30 but Miles was ready. We started the long walk back to Brown Sugar.  We stopped at the Chinese Bakery and I got a couple snacks.  It took almost 20 minutes to walk back to Brown Sugar from there.  When we got back we ordered from Scooters Pizza.  We got 8 doughballs with garlic, a medium pizza, and a lava cake for less than $10.  Where are great deals like this in America?  As we were eating, the movie Twister came on.  Miles watched while I used the internet.  After my 30 minute session I came to watch with him and write in my journal.  

Budget $150             Food $27.75       Souvenirs   $84.50            Taxi $43.25
Spent $103               Activity- $5 Internet   $2.50
+Miles Gambling

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Mom on

Sounds like more fun! More luck for Miles.....cha ching! :) Not sure I'm crazy about you walking in the area that the security guard advised against....but I guess you are back in one piece! (thankfully!) Wow...Sandton MUST be fancy! Luke would like looking at those dealerships. He could be BOND with an Aston-Martin. lol! 40% tax on cotton seems steep! Harley shirts here are expensive, let alone with that kind of tax added! You must have found lots of good stuff at the market! :) More American food......Yay! Hope your flights go well and on time. Love you both very much! Be safe! ENJOY!

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