Thursday 17 June 2010

The Magic Bus

There's a guidebook giving advice to fans on where and where not to go in Johannesburg. I haven't read it. Today we took a walk down a street which would have probably been in the no-go category, especially at night. But it was quite good fun, especially when - with not a taxi in sight - we hailed down a public bus.

'Are you going to Sandton?'


'Where are the buses to Sandton?'

'Over there I think... Hang on....How many of you?'


'Hop on, I'll drop everyone else off first and then take you there.'

The adventure took us on a bouncy journey from the City - a poor area in central Joburg - to one of the richest: the shopping district of Sandton. Some felt safe ('There's six of us, relax'), some didn't ('I've been mugged in Rio and Lisbon'), but it felt real. Seeing the parts of town that the World Cup hasn't cleaned up. We probably went 20mn out of the driver's way, and he even stopped for a pee break. He charged us R100.

Sandton couldn't be more different. In the shadow of Fifa's headquarters sits a square surrounded by chain restaurants and expensive bars on one side and a glitzy maze-like shopping centre on the other. Oh, and it had a 3D viewing dome in the middle if you fancy watching matches with funny glasses on. We had a meat feast in a grill house. They charged us R1,800.

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