. OnHiatus.com > Journal 1 > Day Index > Journal Entry: January 8, 1999

Friday, January 8, 1999
Johannesburg, South Africa
South Africa's Flag

Johannesburg, South Africa:
Latitude: 26° 7' 46" South
Longitude: 28° 1' 48" East
Altitude: 5306 feet
From Seattle: 11663 miles
Lodging: Hostel - The Backpacker's Ritz

Today's Travel:
Country: South Africa
Region: Gauteng
Weather: Overcast / Rain

Click on map to Zoom in...
Trip Stats to Date:
Day: 638
Linear Dist: 134643
Countries Visited: 49
Regions Visited: 183
More stats...
Hotels: 197
Friends / Family: 155
Camping: 77
Hostels: 147
Transit: 55
Other Lodging: 6
Beers: 2234

Journal Entry:
Had perhaps the most amazing shower I've ever had - hot (very hot) water and high pressure! Undoubtedly the best shower I've had in over five months! Looked around the hostel this morning it's a beautiful old house, with spectacular gardens and a pool - probably the nicest hostel I've ever seen. Slightly worrying is the elaborate security: razor wire that is strung - unobtrusively under the ivy - around the entire property, and a visual inspection before the gate is opened. It should be comforting, but it's worrying that it's needed. Rang FedEx to see what the problem with the package I had my parents send me. It's stuck in Customs and I'm going to have to pay duty on it because it contains new goods. Normally that would be refunded to me when I left the country, but because I'm leaving overland (instead of flying) I probably won't be able to get it back (2,400 Rand - ~$430!)

Dean's friend Jeanie met us at the hostel and showed us around the neighborhood. Early afternoon while we were walking around it started to pour rain so we took shelter in a pub - a bad start. Went to the "water front" - a giant shopping mall / entertainment complex built around a small artificial lake. The big excitement here was bowling - but not just bowling, it was dark, the balls were day-glow colors, the lanes were dark with only the pins illuminated and there were numerous disco lights going - it was like bowling in a night club. The drinking continued and didn't help my bowling (not sure it hurt either).

After bowling we headed to a pub that was right out of London. Had a great diner, and drank way to much. Was a fun time, but it was a bit disconcerting that the pub was packed - and everyone was white. The others took off to go somewhere else - I wasn't paying to much attention. After the bar closed I sat and talked with the night guard (who was black) for about an hour before taking a taxi back to the hostel - got home right as the sun was starting to rise (I had no idea it was so late).

Related Sites:
CNN: Current Weather in Johannesburg
US State Department Consular Information Sheets: South Africa
CIA World Fact Book: South Africa

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