Friday, July 16, 2010

Cape Town vs. Johannesburg

(PICTURE: Leaving Jo'Burg...happily.)

Don't be fooled by the title of this blog entry -- there is no comparison between Cape Town and Johannesburg. Let me state this very clearly: Cape Town is awesome. Johannesburg sucks.

(PICTURE: A view of Cape Town while hiking Table Mountain.)

Cape Town is a beautiful city with lots of nature, good eats, cool things to do and places to visit. On top of that, it felt safe. The same can't be said for Johannesburg where every house has an eight foot wall with barbed wire and an attack dog in front of it. Evert story I heard of carjackings and robberies was in and around Jo'Burg. In comparison, Cape Town felt like Pleasantville. Actually, a Cape Town taxi driver summed it up best for me: "The problem with Cape Town is that tourists feel safe here so they're not scared to walk." Despite this particular taxi driver's bitterness at not making more money, he was a fair an honest driver. "Fair and honest" are two words I would never use to describe 90% of Jo'Burg taxi drivers who repeatedly tried to rip us off and on one occasion tried to intimidate us into paying an exorbitant amount of money.

Jo'Burg has some nice places but they're all basically malls and promenades. If I wanted to see malls and promenades I could have gone to Los Angeles. That said, if you're going to South Africa you should definitely stop in Jo'Burg. Let me draft an itinerary for you:

Morning: Fly into Jo'burg and go to the apartheid museum. The museum documents the history of apartheid and is a can't miss.

(PICTURE: The guys at the Apartheid Museum.)

Afternoon: Go to Soweto. There's a lot of history in Soweto and it's definitely worth a walk around.

Late Afternoon/Before Evening: Go back to the airport and fly to Cape Town or one of the other nicer cities in South Africa.

I hate to be so negative on Jo'Burg but without a doubt it is the least favorite city I have ever been to...except for maybe Detroit.

I had a great time in South Africa but there was one big problem -- we had to spend wayyyyy too much time in Jo'Burg since most of the games were in and around the city. If you're from Jo'Burg and reading this, I apologize if this offends you. Having lived in Los Angeles for seven years, I can't tell you how many times I annoyingly heard people obnoxiously say, "I could never live here." Well, it's my turn to be annoying and obnoxious: I could never live in Johannesburg.