Saturday, 24 October 2009

Joburg day 7

A half day (well 8-1.30) at work left us time to take a drive out to Walter Sisulu botanical gardens. If you like plants and stuff, as my mum does, you’d love it. It was pristine and impressively kept with all sorts of types and varieties all carefully labelled as were the rocks and anything else that might prove interesting to the budding botanist, geologist or paleontologist. Eagles and other birds were everywhere. The thing that I liked best were the tortoises that were wandering around not giving a crap about anybody or anything. Those guys have real personality. It’s a tortoise equivalent of misanthropy. I had tortoises as a kid. I think we buried one once then found out it was most likely to have been hibernating. Somewhere there’s a picture of me on a swing in out back yard and behind me there’s wooden cross marking its grave.

The waterfalls there are beautiful though more impressive are the rock that look like they were made from fibre glass to bedeck the set of an episode of Star Trek. They’re all cumbersome and misshaped and russet coloured and would have got the prop boy the sack if he’d presented those as landscape for anything of a higher budget than Doctor Who or Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

We visited a local supermarket and I nearly bought a 5 bed villa with pool, maid’s quarters and a football pitch garden for R2million (about £180,000). Instead I bought some ostrich biltong to tune my palette for dinner at The Carnivore.

Although no vegetarian should ever set foot in the place, the Carnivore is impressive for a number of reasons. They have the atmosphere right and the smells and dynamic of the place give it real buzz. Copper statues of great men and women of SA history line the corridor and each has an informative plaque. Queen Modjajdi (I think that’s right) is there as is the Zulu leader of Rourke’s Drift fame and, of course, Mandela. He’s taller than I remember .

Dinner was skewer after skewer of at least 10 meats until we’ surrendered’ the flag on the table to say we couldn’t eat any more. I limited myself but my companions had just about everything. I still managed, amongst other things Zebra and Crocodile. I’d happily have zebra sarnies everyday (it’s a little like beef but lighter) but I won’t be ordering croc if I see it on a menu again. Maybe it’s something to do with eating a predatory animal.

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