Really good sprinkler systems in South Africa and our first meal in Johannesburg

Today’s story about our trip to South Africa, living a TRAVELIFE, really starts in Hong Kong airport, while we were waiting for our 12-hour flight from Hong Kong to Johannesburg.

There we were having a midnight snack of spicy noodles and looking at the weather report online on my laptop. The Boss was insisting it was going to rain and so we needed to be ready for showers on the day we arrived in Johannesburg.

He also said that my very much anticipated hot air balloon ride — the one I’m so enthusiastic to go on tomorrow morning, and he’s just being nice about accompanying me on it — was probably going to get canceled due to rains.

As we checked out the weather together, he’d said to me, with his usual sureness about everything in his world: “You should really use this online weather website.”

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Anyway, we had a nice 12-hour flight to Joburg. I watched a French movie about Marie Antoinette onboard and slept a good ten hours.

When we arrived in South Africa finally, the weather was cool but it was as perfect as it could possibly be. The Boss had arranged a driver and car to meet us at the airport and he was there with a big sign.

From the airport, we checked into our gorgeous hotel (read more about this lovely hotel in a later blog). And within an hour, off we went to look around Johannesburg for the day.

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From the December 2012 – January 2013 issue onwards
and online via the Travelife Blog 
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Of course, as we drove around some of Joburg’s loveliest neighborhoods, I couldn’t stop teasing him about the sunny weather at every opportunity. The skies were as blue as a watercolor painting and the temperatures were just right for a sundress with a shawl — which was exactly what I was wearing.

Then after a morning’s sightseeing, we were in the township of Soweto looking at a hotel that Prince Charles had reportedly stayed in, and we both got hungry very suddenly. So right in the middle of our schedule, we canceled our plans to see the rest of Soweto and The Boss said to the driver: “Take us to the best restaurant in Johannesburg.”


I can tell you that the driver probably never had his private tour schedule disrupted like this before. He seemed completely shocked that we’d suddenly decided to go for lunch back in Joburg. We were in Soweto, after all, and he still had about five things to show us.

But then again, he probably never had clients like us before. Both The Boss and I are used to getting what we want when we want it, and it just so happened we both wanted lunch exactly then.


So, anyway, we drove back to Johannesburg and there the driver was under pressure to find the best restaurant in Johannesburg. I didn’t help matters at all by saying to him, about The Boss: “He’s really hard to please so better make your choice good.”

It’s true. But actually it was all in good fun, as I think we would actually have been happy anywhere except a fastfood joint.

But nevertheless, the driver brought us to the upscale Melrose Place in Johannesburg which was so pretty and pleasant. It was filled with people and all the tables were set up outside so guests could enjoy the great weather. Then our driver pointed out a casual but very chic looking restaurant serving European food.

He said: “That’s one of the best restaurants in the city.”


It was full. The Boss took one look at it and said: “Let’s go to the other one.”

We’d passed this trendy local African restaurant by car on the way over, and I’d remembered that it had been on his original list of restaurants to try, even while we were still in Manila.

So that’s how we ended up in this African restaurant for a really nice impromptu lunch. We shared a huge plate of samosas, and then The Boss ordered a springbok and I had oxtail in a stew, and we each had a bit of both. I truly enjoyed my oxtail, as it was so tender, while the springbok that The Boss had ordered was very nicely seasoned and I had it with lots of apricot relish.

Then we shared a really delicious almond ice cream for dessert. Whenever we eat together, we always share the dessert, for some reason.

It was really wonderful, actually. There was live music, we were seated outside, and the weather was perfect.


So perfect that I just had to mention again, with a twinkle in my eye, how it hadn’t rained yet. All in good fun, and The Boss took everything with good humor.

But in the afternoon, the joke was on me. There we were in the Apartheid Museum when it began pouring — literally pouring — with rain. Of course, after all my teasing about his inaccurate weather forecast, I was prepared for the worst from him. Yeah, I thought, I deserved to be ribbed out on this one. The rains had indeed come after all.

But as we were passing a museum window, and we saw the rain pouring outside, the only thing The Boss said with a smile was: “They really have a good sprinkler system here, don’t they? And to think it’s nationwide, pa.”

This is where we had drinks at sunset tonight,
living a TRAVELIFE in Johannesburg
I just nodded, relieved not to get a full-scale ribbing. But I can tell you that after that, I decided to be nice to him for the rest of the day, which, incidentally, was just another day in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful TRAVELIFE. In beautiful South Africa, having drinks and dinner by this lovely infinity pool.