Cape Town felt like some European city, not the least bit like Africa. I had so much fun walking all over town, shopping, meeting people. It was gorgeous. Johannesburg, on the other hand is a giant sprawling metropolis which is strictly business. I’m giving it another chance, though. I’ll be spending the next couple days looking for my people here- the artists and freaks. They’re certainly not in Sandton City, the tourist/business enclave where we’re currently safely ensconced. It’s like being in West LA. Right next to a mall. Nice if you want a completely sterile experience.
Today we toured Soweto, the largest township. On a giant tourbus. I was one of tourists. It was deeply disturbing. But our tour guide was a local and gave us some great info. Like how the citizens take care of crime themselves, and are far harsher than the pathetic criminal justice system, so crime is actually very low in Soweto. Desmond Tutu and Winnie Mandela still live in their old hood. There’s quite an interesting mix of housing there, as people make enough money to build up their homes, they do so.
We drove through an area that looked a lot like the area in my dream on April 11, where I’d dreamt I was staying with friends. In my dream there were black and white people living together, and a couple of the locals I talked to said that some whites have moved into Soweto, and are welcomed. It seems the black people I’ve talked to here are eager to move beyond racial divides.
We also went to the Apartheid Museum, which was fascinating. It showed the entire history of apartheid, so you left on a fairly high note, seeing the work that was done to end it, and bring about the truly democratic election. South Africa has reportedly the most kick-ass constitution in the world- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_South_Africa They didn’t have that on display, but did have the bill of rights, and it was a tall order for any government.
Dinner was cool, we went to the restaurant at the birthplace of humanity. It’s like the restaurant at the end of the universe, but a shorter drive and much more chic and tasteful. Stunning decor. Great food, gorgeous starry night sky. A bunch of rocks in little display cases, which were supposed to be old tools, but they didn’t look like much. I was hoping to see ms. Lucy herself. We got there too late to see the site, just went straight to dinner. I’m looking forward to getting out on my own and seeing the rest of the city. Here’s some smokestacks from SAB. More about that trip tomorrow.