Category Archives: Living in Jo’burg

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge – June 22, 2018

It’s been a while since I’ve participated in this challenge, which also happens to be my favourite of Cee’s challenges. Let’s see where Which Way is taking us today.

A grueling ferry trip across a short expanse of sea and we’re in Catembe in Maputo. The last time I was there the ferry was packed with cars, trucks, lorries, and people. A bit too crowded for me, but the day we spent in Catembe was soulful and memorable.

Pier at Catembe, Maputo, Mozambique
©2018 Regina Martins

Namibia is one of my favourite places on earth, and Swakopmund my happy place when I’m there. At the bottom end of town next to the lighthouse is a craft and curio market. Swakopmund has tar roads but the vast majority are salt roadways, like this one.

Salt roadway in Swakopmund, Namibia
©2018 Regina Martins

Musical steps at a restaurant in Joburg, they didn’t play music, but I suspect that those are song lyrics on them.

Stairway with song lyrics, Johannesburg, South Africa
©2018 Regina Martins

Entered in Cee’s Which Way Challenge.

 

P Is For Parys

There’s a small town about 120kms south of Joburg that has a name uncannily similar to a more famous European spot which has a famous steel structure as its centrepiece.

Well, let me tell you that Parys has better than just a famous steel structure as a centrepiece. It is…a centrepiece! This small town is located IN the Vredefort structure…aka an upside dome, more popularly known as a crater.

2023 million years ago a meteor with a diameter of 10kms came hurtling through the cosmos and collided with earth at 30 000kms per hour creating an indentation 300kms wide. It’s the largest meteor impact site scientists have found on our beautiful planet and 2x larger than the one that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

This makes it the older crater yet found on earth. And because of all that, it’s been named a World Heritage Site, South Africa’s 7th.

The Vredefort Dome is only the central part of the impact crater. It is called a dome because the rock layers were bent into the shape of an upside-down bowl 90km across by the impact. (Source)

The red star on the map shows where it is in South Africa.

It stretches all the way to Joburg. As you can see, Parys is in the core of the structure.

The Vaal River, one of South Africa’s strongest flowing rivers, flows across the dome with Parys situated on its banks. Along its banks are also many picturesque resorts – some years ago Che and I stayed at one of them – the Carrieblaire River Retreat.

Look at how peaceful it looks, and it was…

 

J Is For Johannesburg

Having lived and worked in Joburg for about 38 years I know a thing or two about the city. It was the place of my first date, my first kiss and my first job.

Also known as Joburg or Jozi, as locals like calling it, it’s the second largest city in Africa, and the world’s largest ‘dry port’ – Joburg is the largest city in the world not built on a coastline or waterway. It is the economic hub of the country, the most affluent area, and is still the ‘el dorado’ of South Africa.

It boasts the biggest man-made forest in the world with over 10 million trees. This has many functions, not least of which is that it makes for a beautiful city, combats greenhouse gasses, and helps reduce noise in this ‘urban jungle’. This still amazes me, and I love nothing better than to look out over this ‘jungle’ in the spring and see all the splashes of purple of the jacarandas in bloom.

Joburgers tend to be rather possessive about their city. We’re teased by Durbanites and Cape Tonians as “vaalies*” who invade their cities at holiday time, but there is no better time to be in Joburg than in December when families make their annual pilgrimage to the coast. This makes the roads clear of pesky traffic, there is Christmas music in the air and people are more relaxed. Just stay away from the malls where those who have opted to stay in town congregate for movies, eating and shopping, making them busier places than at any other time of the year.

It is not an easy place to live in and needs real staying power. Personal safety is an issue. Irrespective of affluence, people surround their properties with high walls, barbed wire and electric fences. Those who can afford it pay for alarms and private armed response. Many people own guns.

And yet it has the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The best I’ve seen. The weather is idyllic with sunlight at least 300 days of the year. Access to the country is a mere 20-minute drive along great roads.

Some people stay because it is where the best paying jobs are. Others come and stay for family. Others stay because they’ve decided to adopt Joburg with all of its issues, quirkiness and diversity. And the born and bred Joburgers stay because it is home.

I’ve followed Heather at 2Summers for a while and is the source of all great info about Joburg. Her pics are amazing and she goes to places where I haven’t been to yet. If Joburg piques your interest, go on by and see Joburg through the eyes of “an American living in quirky Johannesburg”.


*vaalies – South African slang name given to Johannesburgers (and other inland residents) by residents of Durban and Cape Town (and other seaside towns). The word is derived from the name of the river that separates Gauteng province, the Vaal River, which is the border with the Free State. Before the new provincial structure, Johannesburg was in the old province of Transvaal (across the Vaal). Once you cross the Vaal River, you know you’re on holiday 😉

 

It Was Rosebank Today

I needed a working space to collaborate with M, my colleague and Rosebank was the first choice. For many reasons:

  • Sandton is just gridlocked
  • Rosebank is closer to me
  • There’s great coffee in Rosebank at Motherland Coffee – with great chill vibes playing in the background – my ideal workspace
  • It’s trendy and cosmopolitan
  • There are amazing clothes shops which are a treat to windowshop
  • It’s across the road from the Gautrain station, convenient for M who came from Cape Town to support me at an important client meeting

I found a water feature – it was new to me – and it’s probably been there for ages. I only noticed it today. In any event, below are some of the pics I took (notice the mandatory coffee and muffin pic…?)

 

Gallery: Some Buildings in Commissioner Street

I went to the CBD yesterday and took these pics of buildings in Commissioner street. It is sad to see some derelict buildings next to nice ones (I didn’t take photos of the derelict ones).

I especially love the mural at the entrance to the Rea Vaya bus station.

Click on any image to enlarge.