Friday, 19 April 2013

Johannesburg: Places and People

You don’t know where you’re going until you know where you have been…

I thought it apt to start with the city I have sadly left behind recently: Johannesburg.

For the past three years Jozi was my home. Three years might not seem like a long time, but you don’t need a decade to make this amazing city your home.

Here is what I love about Jozi:

1.      The People

The people of Jozi are hard-working, fast-moving, get-up-and-go people. We spend a lot of our time on the road or at work. Even so, the friendliness and inclusiveness of the people of Johannesburg blew me away.
The majority of people arrive in Joburg as strangers, but are invited to events and pulled into friendships so quickly that they are set on paying it forward. It is easy to make friends in this city.

I am thankful for amazing memories of “made from scratch” pasta and pizza dinners on a Saturday night, braais with the men huddled around the fire, big glasses of dark red Pinotage, lazy Sunday brunches at arty restaurants, house parties with loud music and laughter, a quick coffee and catch-up, jogging or cycling on a crisp Sunday morning, lazy afternoon picnics, sitting around for hours talking about nothing but laughing until you cry – always with a big bunch of people; old friends and new faces.

2.      The Sunsets

I often turn off the highway just as the sun is setting behind the mountains. Almost every time I have to remind myself to keep focusing on the road and not stare the yellow, red, and purple streaks in the sky. Breath-taking doesn't even begin to describe it.

3.      The Weather

Jozi doesn't have Cape Town’s mountain or Durban’s beaches, but the weather in Joburg is near perfect. For nine months of the year the days are long and superbly sunny, with light breezes and cooling evening showers (with magnificent/terrifying lightning). True, the winter is bone-chilling cold, but it’s only three pay checks long (yes, I have counted).

4.      The Skyline

5.      My Church

My church is in a casino. Can it get any more awesome and real than that?
We love God, we love Johannesburg, we love the people of Jozi.
Go and visit! You’ll love it.

6.      The Markets

It’s not just the food, crafts and clothes that are amazing.
It’s the vibe, the creativeness, the chatter and energy, the outfits and uniqueness of everyone and everything in this remarkable city.

Market on Main

7.      The Restaurants and Coffee Shops

Because Joburgers love to kuier!
Some of my favourites restaurants and coffee shops are Contessa's, Saigon, Kong Roast, Wombles, Dukes, Possum's Bistro, La Vie en Rose, and Salvation Cafe at 44 Stanley.

8.      The Events

There is always something to do!
Whether you are into sports (participant or spectator), arts, or culture: If it’s happening in South Africa, it’s happening in Johannesburg.

I loved the shows at Monte Casino, the international bands at Soccer City (FNB Stadium), cycling at the Cradle of Humankind, time trials and road-running events.

9.      The Street-Entertainment

You can watch a show with song and dance or be entertained by a juggling act. You can get your windows washed. You can buy a newspaper, a cell phone charger, a handbag, a wide variety of toys, or flowers. And all this from the comfort of your own car.
The products on display are also easily adapted based on the season: If it rains, umbrellas and raincoats are for sale. During the winter, scarves and gloves are available. When the sun is shining, you can buy a sunhat, sunscreen, a beach towel, bucket and spade and possibly a swimsuit in the latest colour and fashion.

10.  The Holidays

Technically it’s not something that’s happening in Jozi, as everybody packs up and leaves the city for a holiday. But Joburgers work hard and play hard, therefore there’s always a holiday being planned! My friends’ motto was to never come back from a holiday, without having planned the next!

Johannesburg, I will truly miss you.
And I will definitely be back.

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