South Africa, Strip Malls, The Saxon Hotel

News on my trip last week to South Africa is embargo-ed. What I can say it that it involved charity and it was one of the most profound weeks of my life.

There wasn’t time to explore much outside of the Henley-on-Klip suburbs of Johannesburg where I stayed but I did make it town one night to get a visual on the city. That was a disappointment. I told my driver to take me to a semi-busy street lined with boutiques, restaurants and a few bars. Instead he took me to strip malls and sports bar in Melrose Arch and Rosebank.

When told about the Nelson Mandela statue at Nelson Mandela Square I wanted to take a look but there was nothing remotely town square about this location. The statue was erected at a square like area inside a mall and while I understand the security value in centralizing the shopping to malls, this does little for the identity of a city. For the entire visit I felt like I was always on the outskirts of town, which turned me into a whiny backseat driver demanding to be shown somewhere African an urban. This never happened.

On the tail end of my trip, I spent a day at The Saxon Hotel, said to be Johannesburg’s best hotel where I decompressed with a leisurely lunch and repose by the outdoor infinity pool. I loved the Afrikan chic décor, soft lighting and cushy nooks all over the lobby area.
The Confederations Cup was on and traffic was worse than usual so I had to cut my hanging out short to get to the airport in time for the 26-hour journey to Los Angeles.

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