Sunday 14-07-2013

First of all, I must start this post off by wishing a big happy birthday to my grandmother (who I lovingly refer to as Dundee) and my good friend (and now fellow blogger!) Victoria! I hope that you both had absolutely amazing days!

Anyway, Alice and I got up this morning at 5:15 – our earliest morning of the trip! I had an absolutely delicious scone (the one that I had bought from the bakery yesterday) and yoghurt for breakfast. Our trusty cab driver, KB, was, as requested, waiting for us at 5:30, ready to take us to the bus station.

We got to the bus and loaded pretty quickly, although we didn’t end up leaving Gabs until around 6:45 (but that’s not too bad for a 6:30 departure time!) The bus ride there was pretty pleasant, actually. I was able to doze for a bit and look out the window.

The border came much sooner than I had expected, but we crossed with no big issues. It was interesting that they made us physically walk across the border, with all our luggage in our hands (which wasn’t a huge task for me, since I was able to fit everything into one bag. Yes, that’s right, I lived for three days out of just my backpack! Hooray for light packing).

The trip in South Africa was fine – we stopped around 10 for “breakfast” and I was able to get two of the yoghurts that I love from that mini-mart. We started nearing Joburg, but it is a huge, and very spread out, city. I had told the cab driver who was meeting us that we’d meet him at Park Station at 12:20 (because the bus said we’d arrive sometime between 12 and 1, depending on how difficult the border crossing was).

When we got off the bus, there was on cab in sight. Mildly terrified of being in a foreign city without a working cell phone (since neither Alice, Jennifer, nor I had a South African sim card), we started looking around for someone to ask to borrow their phone.

Alice and I had sat together on the bus, and Jennifer was sitting next to a young woman with whom she chatted for quite a bit. Turns out that her brother had gone to MaP, and she had two daughters about our age. She eagerly allowed us to use her phone “for as long as we needed it.” It was so sweet, and reminded all of us (but especially me) that sometimes we just need to trust strangers.

After quite a few struggles, I was finally able to track down the cab, and, after profusely thanking the woman from the bus, we were off to our bed and breakfast.

Life on 3rd (the B and B where we were staying) is absolutely adorable. I unfortunately wasn’t able to bring my camera on this trip (both because I didn’t have space and, unfortunately, since Joburg has the reputation of not being the safest city). However, you can see some pictures of the B and B on their website: http://www.lifeon3rd.co.za/

Anyway, we got settled in, and then decided, since it had been quite a hectic day, that we basically wanted to hang out for a bit, but not really go anywhere that we couldn’t walk to. After a bit of reading in their gorgeous sunroom, we headed off to explore Melville.

Melville is a very nice “suburb” of Joburg. We walked along the street where our B and B was, and then actually climbed some stairs to get to another street. After a bit more walking, we arrived at the shopping/eating district. Since it was Sunday, a bunch of stores were closed, but there were some very cute clothing and book shops that we got to meander through.

We then had a very early dinner at an adorable café called de la Crème. I had a milkshake and chicken toastie (absolutely delicious, I must say!) We all ended up getting pastries to go – I got a lemon poppy seed muffin, which was delicious, but not quite as good as the ones that Mother Dearest makes!

We ate early on purpose – by doing that, we were able to walk back to Life on 3rd in the daylight (which was recommended for a group of females). Then, we did something that I haven’t done in weeks – watched TV on a normal TV screen.

This was actually more fun than it may sound. At first, Alice and I started watching a Planet Earth episode about coral reefs. When that ended, Jennifer came to our room, and we all watched the end of a football match.

Once that was done (and we had eaten our delicious pastries) we continued watching a “soccer mishaps” show. Normally I hate watching those types of shows, simply because I feel so bad for the people making the mistakes, but here I was happy to watch because the announcer was so hilarious. According to Alice, he was a classic British man, overly invested in the sport, and not afraid to speak his mind when people screwed up.

Then we discovered one of the best things in the history of the world – heated blankets. Seriously, though, it got pretty cold during the night (since Joburg is further from the equator than Gabs is!) and our rooms weren’t very well insulated. As a result, the heated blankets (that were already underneath our sheets) were absolutely amazing.

TGT: 1) delicious dinner and accompanying pastry 2) being able to meander around Melville 3) heated blankets!!

Until next time,
~JK

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