Jul 10

Jo’Burg Day 4: Cradle of Humankind, Pretoria: Sterkfontein Caves

Monday, July 5

Johannesburg and Pretoria, RSA

After the museum, we headed over to the Sterkfontein Caves where the fossils of hominids were found.  It is an active dig site.  We thought it was pretty darn cool!  After exploring the caves on a tour, we were pretty tuckered out.  We figured we were done exploring and to call it a trip.  Lance drove us back to the airport.  We were really early, but this ended up being a good thing because we ended up having to stand in 4 lines (one line 2 times) before we could get in the right one to get checked in to our flight at the super crowded airport.  After that was all sorted out, we were still plenty early (we had a midnight flight departure).  We did some final airport shopping and found a nice airport restaurant with a great view for dinner and drinks.  We watched some boys play soccer in the terminal and Jeannette even ran into one of her MIT students in an airport shop!  Then it was time to head to Amsterdam for a super short layover, and before we knew it, we were home and back in our desks at work!

The hole we descended into:

It got a little tight at times:

I think that is Sterkfontein:

The hole we ascended from:

The sky was doing amazing things our last day in Africa:

In the caves you could look up and see this holes and cracks – it was the only light inside in some parts:

This is where they found something important… and are still actively excavating:

It was a beautiful last day – it matched our melancholy moods:

We hope to return to Africa someday.  It is beautiful.

Jul 10

Jo’Burg Day 4: Cradle of Humankind, Pretoria: Maropeng Museum

Monday, July 5

Johannesburg and Pretoria, RSA

Our driver, Lance, took us straight from Jo’Burg to the Cradle of Humankind, near Pretoria.  It was about an hour and a half away.  We started with the Maropeng Museum.  It was geared more for kids, with a fun mist ride and a crazy, fun house-style vortex you had to walk through.  There was an educational, save-the-world agenda pushed.  We had a relaxing time meandering through.  It was a nice, low-key last day in Africa – especially since we were feeling sad about leaving; we didn’t have a lot of energy.

Jun 10

Jo’Burg to Cape Town

Tuesday, June 22

Johannesburg, RSA to Cape Town, RSA

We were up early to finish packing, had an early and yummy breakfast, sweet goodbyes with Sylvia and we were off on an airport shuttle to the airport.  Check in was a breeze.  Later we determined we skipped the rules about weighing our carry-ons (we didn’t check luggage again), but we got away with it… this leg.

Jun 10

Jo’Burg Day 3: Melville, Newtown, CBD, Guildhall & SAB

Monday, June 21

Johannesburg, RSA

Our last day in Jo’burg was full because we wanted to make sure we saw as much as possible before leaving for Cape Town.  After a hearty and delicious breakfast, care of Sylvia, we took a short cab ride out to Melville (an artsy little suburb of Johannesburg).  We walked 7th Street, which is lined with cute cafes, art galleries and boutiques. We had no need of the cafes, but we loved exploring the art galleries and shops.

Melville, 7th Street.

We walked all the way down 4th Avenue to Melville center and back before catching a cab (and meeting a nice accountant-turned-cab driver, Kevin, in the process) to take us to Newtown.  Newtown is a “suburb” of Johannesburg’s city center.  We walked through the FanFest there, saw the Market Theater and MuseuMAfricA (which was closed on Mondays), the Nelson Mandela Bridge, and then walked back through the CBD to see on foot some places we had seen by car with Justice two days earlier. We also got to see some places we hadn’t gotten a chance to see before like Diagonal Street, with the old two-story buildings still nestled in amongst the new skyscrapers.

Outside Market Theater:

Nelson Mandela Bridge:

Awesome graffiti:

Diagonal Street:

By now we needed to find a place to watch the first game of the day.  We remembered that the oldest bar in Jo’burg, Guildhall, was nearby and we decided to find it.  What we had forgotten was that it was a Portuguese bar serving colonial Portuguese food – so although unintended, this was a PERFECT place to watch the Portugal – Korea game.  We settled in there to watch the second half of the game with Castle beers when the score was 1-0, Portugal.  With each score the bartender blew his vuvuzela and people cheered.  A newcomer would pop in from outside and say “Wow! 1-0?” and the response would be “No, 2-0.”  Within minutes, someone new would come in and and say “Yay! 2-0!” but already they would learn it was now 3-0!  And so on until finally it was 7-0!  The bar was all decked out in Portugal and South Africa gear.  It was the perfect setting for such a blow out performance by Portugal!


Crazy play by Ronaldo:

Ronaldo again, as we are walking back from Guildhall:

After the game was over we walked to the SAB World of Beer museum.  We had a great time on the tour.  We got to try traditional tribal African beer, from a calabash or ukhamba that we passed around the room.  We were served a taster (in a nice keepsake tasting glass) in a replica African Lion Bar – this was a part of their portrayal of Jo’burg’s days as a gold mining town with saloons that kept the men contented.  We also saw what a Soweto shebeen would’ve been like.  At the end of the tour we were able to fool around with TVs to show all the different ad campaigns for all the different beers in the SAB family of beers.  Josh decided he was a Carling Black Label man.  Then we went to the tasting room where we each got two more free beers.  They had TVs for the World Cup in there and we were able to catch the second half of the day’s second game, Chile – Switzerland.  Since we hadn’t had a chance to eat dinner yet, Jeannette gave her second ticket away so Josh wouldn’t have to carry her home.  In the tasting room, they made video emailing available, if you were willing to fill out a survey first.  So we attempted to send an e-video home to our folks since we hadn’t found any internet opportunities thus far – no word on if that worked or not! Our favorite parts of the tour were the saloon and the authentic African brew that was made special by a lady for the tours.

The African Lion Bar:

We had heard about an amazing restaurant for ostrich and crocodile called Sophiatown – so we walked there after the SAB tour only to find out they had NO power.  While it made it very romantic, all candlelight only, most of their entrees were not available – the waitress said they needed the microwave to cook… Then she told us all we could order was the chicken.  We decided the safe bet was drinks only.  We called up Kevin, our cab from earlier in the day, and went back to Melville where we gave dinner another try.  We ate at Wish where Jeannette got to try the Durban-style curry like she had been wanting.  There, we were able to watch the entire third game of the day (ESP-HON) before one more short cab ride home for the night to pack up our things for Cape Town.

Jun 10

Videos From Brazil v Cote d’Ivoire Game

We finally figured out how to compile the video files off of our new point and shoot camera. Here are some videos from Soccer City in Jo’Burg. One is a bit sharper than the other, but the other shows the cool roof. In both you can hear the super loud vuvuzelas, even though the game hasn’t even started yet.