Soweto Towers

Wake up to the sounds of traffic out the window and someone getting ready for work, probably Waldo. Feeling groggy would be an understatement. I get up to go to the bathroom and meet Waldo in the hallway, “How was your two hour nap”, “Oh God, really? Are you heading to work”, “Yeah”, “How is that possible?”

I let him get ready and go back to check on Peter. Toe-licker is already in there doing what Toe-licker does best.

We get up and get some intel from Waldo before he heads off to work. He says that Uber is the safest way to get around Joburg. He suggests we go to the Soweto Towers. There isn’t much in the way of monuments in Joburg except that. We could bungee jump off the top of it if we want. Look at Peter. Yeeeeeah, we’ll see when we get there. He also recommends a couple of nicer areas in the city to check out and grub at, Greenside has a place with stuffed bao called Momo Bauhaus, and Parkhurst has a good gastropub/braai type of place called Craft. If we need any supplies before taking off we could hit the mall in Rosebank.

He scribbles this all down on a note, along with his address, phone number and the gate codes, then takes off for the day.

Toe-licker meets narco!

Megan has left out a few rusks for us to grub on. Might wash it down with a beer actually. Could maybe help the situation. Find one in the fridge called Skeleton Coast. Hopefully we make it there on this trip to see some shipwrecks and sand dunes.

Looks like we did some damage last night

While we’re snacking we start to formulate a plan for our time in South Africa. We basically have 5 days until we need to be in Cape Town to meet up with Mark and Jamie and start the real SASS. We could hang here and check out Joburg, go to Kruger National Park and a few other things in the area and then fly to Cape Town. Or… could we get across SA in 4 days? We’ve done stupider things I suppose (Istanbul to Baku in 2 days comes to mind)

Inspired by all of the Mongol Rally stories last night we decide that we should just rent a car and drive it across South Africa to Cape Town. We could hit the southern coast, blitz the Garden Route, and maybe even get into Lesotho along the way. Yep, that sounds badass. We check the local car rental places and throw down on a shit whip.

We’re pumped to have that squared away, this is gonna be dope. We send for an Uber to take us to Soweto Towers. Let’s bungee jump off a power plant!

Later Toe-licker… man, that’s cute

The Uber driver picks us up on the street outside the gates

Our driver is funny. His name is Gift. We ask him if he’s ever jumped off of the towers. “Nah man. Hate heights. I only book on floors 1,2,3. Nothing above that. No bungee jumping for me”, “Well, we drank a lot last night so there may be no jumping for us either.”

We pass by a sign for New Canada road. That’s rad, Old Canada is pretty cold. Dot City sounds cool too.

Our drive outside the city and into Soweto gets us into the thick of it real quick. We start to pass by shanties and pieced together shacks. The sketch starts to build the further we get out. One intersection is just a garbage strewn mess. We are well out of our element now. I guess that’s why it’s called distance from normal. Peter makes a stark juxtaposition of Dubai and here, “We just went from gold malls to fields of rubbish”, “We’d better get rally-hard real quick.”

The towers spring into view. They stand out brilliantly in the distance, a splash of color on the horizon. Gift drops us on the street out front and we get some high fives before he drives off. I run across the street to nab a pic.

We make our way between the de-commissioned cooling towers and get the lay of the land. Interesting place, there’s a building that’s a bar and braai spot, a serpentine path cuts around some ruined concrete building foundations to an external elevator up to the bungee platform and a row of vendors but nothing seems open right now. It’s also coooold out and I wish I had one more layer on top of what I’m wearing. Funny that yesterday we were drenched with sweat just going outside.

It looks like this place acts as a general free-for-all of action activities. There are the towers that you can bungee and basejump from, a paint ball field, and just outside it looks like you can rent ATVs and take them out on a course. It all looks closed unfortunately, maybe we’re off-season?

“Sooooooo… bungee jump?”, “No fucking way man, I’m gonna harf just looking at it”, “Yeah, I hear that. Thankfully, it doesn’t even look open.” Two hours sleep just isn’t cutting it right now. We go around the towers snapping pics of the murals at different angles.

Wha? Do they actually play soccer down there? Probably just an ad but that would be badass actually, soccer w obstacles. Slide tackles would be gnarly

Alright well if we’re not gonna jump and everything is closed there’s not much else for us to do it seems. Suits us fine, we’re hurting units right now anyways. We go to the building that has a sign outside, it says “Chaf Pozi”. Through the entry way and we’re smacked with a mouth-watering waft of grilled meats. Hmmmm damn that smells good. There’s a massive grilling section, it looks like you pick your meats at the counter on the right and they biff it on the braais to the left.

There are long, Oktoberfest-style seating tables in the middle and a few more lounge-style areas on the outside corners with random chairs and couches resembling a mid-classy yardsale. We take a seat in the pleather couched far corner where we belong.

“Beers then?”, “I think it’s the only way. Holy fuck I’m rough”, “Yeah man, we’re dumb.” We order up a couple of large Soweto Golds, seems appropriate.

The beer is fairly standard lager but we have a tough time getting them down. We sit in Chaf Pozi soaking in our own stupidity and splotchy conversation. The server comes back and offers to sell us a pair of knee high socks. Seems she doesn’t want the mgmt to see this, guess it’s a side gig. Nah, I’m good on knee high socks right now, thanks.

We look up some routes across South Africa to Cape Town. Lesotho would be sweet, we should make that happen. Durban would be cool too. Hard to gauge where we can get to in only 4 days. Should probably just ask around I guess and make it up as we go.

The 2 large beers are 60 rand (4 bucks) and we have to put it on credit card. After all the trips, here we are still travel amateurs with no local currency. We decide to leave Soweto and get to Greenside for a bite before reconvening with Waldo and Megan. They’ve invited us to hang with some of their friends tonight and hit up a pop-up art gallery. Sounds fun to me. We summon another Uber for Greenside, hopefully this guy, Thabo, is as fun as Gift.

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