The Wanderers Club, established by rugby players in 1888, was a fitting place for our supper tonight. It’s located a few steps from our hotel, overlooking the bowling greens. Bowling green? There was no bowling going on, so I can only imagine.
Today was a day for equipping our expedition, with the help of our friends Jim and Linda, who live in Botswana, about a five-hour drive from Johannesburg. They guided us to the Rosebank mall, where Darlene bought a couple of French press coffee makers to handle the ground coffee she brought, since the coffee devices we’re finding so far in South Africa consist of hot water heaters and instant coffee packets. She found some other necessities while I was navigating the local wireless Internet possibilities at a Vodophone store. The mall was a mall, with people walking in the same way they walk in every other mall we’ve visited.
But everything was different, too, especially the trees. We have arrived in South Africa in time for a purple festival of flowering trees, the Jacaranda. They grow to considerable height, so in the taxi to the mall we saw them towering over the homes in a residential area, looking improbable and lush. By the Wanderers Club we found a sweet little gazebo that was slurping up the yellow rays of sunset, beneath the Jacaranda.
After dinner we met Arthur, our Gate1 tour guide. He will be our shepherd for the next 10 days or so. He seems an amiable sort, a veteran of such tours. Tomorrow morning we will convene for breakfast with Arthur’s other charges, all Americans, for a visit to the Soweto township, returning to the hotel for an afternoon of free time before Day 2. Jim and Linda have been on the Gate1 tour of South Africa and had a wonderful time, so I’m hopeful that my first-ever experience of a group tour will be a great way to wander from one end of South Africa to the other.
I’ll be on the lookout for great views in all directions, especially up…