Category Archives: Living in Jo’burg

Weekend Coffee Share 14.10.2018

Two cups of coffee down and I’m ready to share the week’s happenings over another one with you.

Monday and Tuesday I attended training. I wasn’t feeling 100% yet from the previous week’s sinus infection but I’m glad I went because I learnt some new things. The only crappy part was the traffic. The venue location meant that I needed to go across town through the bottleneck that is the M1. On Monday I drove home the long way just to miss the M1 traffic. It was longer but faster.

I was at the same venue on Wednesday, this time I was the one delivering the training. I run a simulation to help the concepts stick and I’m always amazed at what people can build in a short space of time with just paper, scissors, and glue.

On Thursday I met with a partner to discuss our upcoming facilitation course at The Art Farm, a delightful place out in the countryside. It felt wonderful being out amongst the trees, veld and wide open spaces. We got a lot of work done.

Friday was “office” day. That is a misnomer since my office is at home but you get the idea…calls, and admin. Che and I did go out for lunch to the Two Trees bakery, quite rustic, and it was nice to not be in a mall. While there, two very strong gusts of wind drove people inside from the garden, and the ensuing dust storm decreased visibility.

The weekend has been rather dreary, rainy and overcast and cool. At least the pool is getting filled with rainwater which is free. It’s snuggle with tea and toast weather.

Oh yes, I almost forgot…Che and I finished watching Nikita and went straight to bingeing on 12 Monkeys. It’s how we decompress. It’s proving to be intriguing and we even began doing timeline drawings of the backwards and forwards so as not to miss anything.

Have a great week ahead!

Weekend Coffee Share.

Other Weekend Coffee Share posts.

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Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Glass

I have a new client in the Joburg CBD and I confess that the CBD is not one of my favourite places merely from a traffic point of view. On Monday Che and I got caught up in the gridlock that ensued, presumably as a result of the temporary closure of the Kazerne Bridge for repairs.

This means that a major route out of town for people living on the East Rand is closed for about 16 months. Off course people will find new routes and traffic patterns will stabilise once again.

In order to prevent a repeat of Monday Che and I agreed that I would walk up town to the Standard Bank precinct, which is on the edge of town, and get picked up there. An 8 to 10 minute walk to prevent potentially getting caught up in 90 minutes of chaos. This also provides me with the opportunity to take photos of interesting buildings.

I love the Joburg CBD for it old buildings, many built in a Classical style, others in the Art Dec style, and yet others, more modern. I took this photo of a building with the reflection of another building in its glass windows.

Reflections in the glass
©2018 Regina Martins

This post was prepared in response to Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Glass. Click on the link to see more entries in this week’s challenge.

 

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 😉