Autumn in May – 2006

As one of my friends put it, I’m in exile again! Another continent again, however one that I have lived on before.  Admittedly, I don’t remember much of the last time I lived here, but at least I can tell people I’d been in South Africa before.  Being in the southern hemisphere explains the title of this blog, winter is approaching fast here, last week-end we had frost and everything.  Another friend kindly reminded me that I was letting myself in for 12 months of winter, a reminder I really don’t need as properties are built without central heating here…

I have a flat in Sandton, and the picture is taken in my garden looking back at the living room.  For those of you who know the Jo’burg metro area, I’m living walking distance from the Benmore Gardens shopping centre.  For those of you who don’t know the area that well, there are a number of parts to the metro area, which is broadly defined by the ring road.  Within the ring road are Johannesburg, Sandton, Bryanston and Randburg.  They all edge onto each other and I’m not 100% sure where each starts and ends.  Sandton is to the north east of Johannesburg itself and is a relatively new development.  And for those who are afraid for my safety, it is a relatively safe part of the city during daylight hours and even after dark.  Colleagues have helped me with my map and pointed out the areas that I’d better not venture into after dark and those I’d best avoid even during daylight hours.  Sandton is the financial centre these days, with Old Mutual, Discovery, First National Bank and Nedbank all having large offices here and the stock exchange also moved here a number of years ago.  It also contains Sandton City, another shopping mall, which at the time it opened was the largest mall in the southern hemisphere.  Unfortunately it is not really that much cheaper shopping there than in the UK, so I have not embarked on long and expensive shopping sprees despite the proximity to all the shops.

Work has been keeping me reasonably busy during the week, but last week-end I did venture to Carltonville which is the home of the Johannesburg Skydiving Centre.  Unfortunately the weather hadn’t been too great on Saturday (when I moved into my flat anyway) and on Sunday morning it was rather overcast.  By the time I got there, most people had left, I did manage to bump into a couple of stragglers who were just leaving and we agreed to go for lunch with a whole bunch of other skydivers.  So, although I may not have been able to hurl myself from a plane, I did in true skydiver fashion make a bunch of new friends on arrival.


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