After 26 hours of delightful travel we surfaced in Joburg, bought a vodacom sim card and jumped a taxi to Fontainebleu.
Arriving at the home of our couch surfing host Hanneke, we were greeted by two massive white wolves and reconsidered the beds offered. Perhaps they weren't worth losing a limb or two? Nevertheless we entered the sprawling house and were welcomed warmly. That afternoon we joined a braai, feasting on lamb chops, sausage and a multitude of salads, slightly above the backpacker fare we had set ourselves for.
The next day we, along with another of Hanneke's couch surfers, Andy, caught the minibuses down through central Joburg and then out to Gold Reef, home to an amusement park, a casino and the apartheid museum. It was the last of these we went to, and it's a bit hard to describe, but that place is heavy. It gives a good rundown of the various population migrations into joburg, the development of segregation, the introduction of apartheid and the slow and violent dissolution of the regime. The main thing that really hit home is that it ended during our lifetimes, it's just so recent!
That night we were treated to roasted chicken by one of Hanneke's friends and put away a fair few bottles from our host's cellar.
The following day entailed a bicycle tour around the township of Soweto. Being chased by kids demanding photos, drinking local (warm) beer from a milk carton, eating a 'burger', which was half a loaf of bread hollowed out and filled with chips, processed cheese, a piece of Strasbourg, a fried egg and sauce, and visiting the site of the 1974 children's protest were all highlights. We cycled down the only street in the world to house two Nobel peace prize winners (Mandela and Desmond Tutu), before returning to the very cute Lebo's backpackers for a game of pool and then caught the minibuses back to Hanneke's place. We were the only white people on any minibus ride.
That night we headed out with some new friends to a few bars, overjoyed at the $2 pints of rather nice beer.
Mads slept till 4.30 the next afternoon, blaming jet lag, and we had a relatively quiet afternoon and evening, drinking a little more wine and chatting with Hanneke and Eka, another couchsurfer from St Petersburg.
We awoke on Christmas to see that Santa had missed us in South Africa. we helped out tidying the house for lunch, then enjoyed a Mongolian barbecue for Christmas lunch, along with cheese, pâté and basically ate and drank ourselves full. That night we repeated the dose and eventually crawled off to bed full and drunk.
Boxing Day morning we got up, I ran to pick up our hire car, Hanneke tie-dyed a tshirt for me and we headed off in our 0.8L engine Chevy spark on the first leg of our road trip.