Johannesburg South Africa

A new destination for me in May: Johannesburg South Africa.

I haven’t been here, so I was looking forward to discovering something new and getting an impression of the country.

Actually, I have been to Africa twice and visited Morocco and Tunisia, but that was a long time ago.

My hotel was called Balalaika Sandton and was founded in the 1940s. It’s now part of the Marriott chain, and while they started with a renovation a few years back, the place’s layout is a little confusing.

Anyway, it came with two pools, and here’s one:

A swimming pool in the Balalaika hotel Johannesburg

I needed water and some other things, so I went to a supermarket in the neighborhood. I found this stuff here. It’s from Italy, and it pretends to be cheese. But it isn’t. Whenever you see this product, run.

It took me 14 hours to get here, and I was too tired for any exploration, so I had dinner in the hotel restaurant.
In most cases, that’s a poor choice, but exceptions exist. This was one of them:

Day One

On the following morning, I got ready in time for my audience. We expected 70 business partners, and the room was packed.

Back in the hotel, I considered a bath instead of having a shower, but I remembered seeing this sign in the shower, so I changed my mind again:

I met with my colleagues for dinner as a partner invited us to a steak restaurant. 
It wasn’t far from my hotel, and a mall was attached, so I walked over early to check out the mall. It’s not as big as the one in Dubai but definitely on the larger side.

What shocked me was that security guards were armed with automatic machine guns.
In Germany, not even the police would carry such weapons. 
They later told me that this place is “the richest square mile of all Africa,” and they had to devise extreme measures for crime prevention.

Let’s not talk about this anymore; here comes a much better topic.

The steak place was terrific!

First, you got to choose what kind of meat you want:

Selecting the size was the next step. You choose whatever you’re up to.

I saw a single piece of Wagyu fillet steak and couldn’t resist. I never had Wagyu before in my life!

And this is what it looked like when cooked:

The taste was unreal.
Yes, I read about Wagyu, and I knew that you would usually choose a different cut than a fillet for the best experience, but I prefer meat with a little less fat.

Nonetheless, it was the best steak I had ever eaten.

On a side note, I have no idea how much it was. There was no price tag anywhere, it wasn’t listed on the menu, and our partner paid. Thanks, Glenn; if you need my help with anything, you know how to reach out to me!

Day Two

We invited end users for the second day, and the room was packed again.
Some traveled for four hours in the early morning to see us.

By way of seeing, this room had a bit of a weird layout with a pillar in the middle.

Standing on the stage was difficult as I had to walk and change my angle to see all attendees.

When I finished, I asked the audience to tell me about their local beers when having lunch.

It turned out they didn’t just tell me; they came to the table where I sat and brought me bottle after bottle!

Here are just two, but I might have had one or two more. Maybe. What happens in Johannesburg…

When I’m somewhere where I wasn’t before, I usually go and discover the area.
Here both our partners and the customers I was talking to suggested that walking around alone might not be a good idea.
That didn’t exactly inspire confidence!

But let me tell you, every person I met during these few days was amazing.
The folks there aren’t just friendly and funny; they are genuinely happy.

And what’s more, they do everything, so you feel the same.

This, combined with the fact that South Africa is a “meat lover’s paradise,” makes me want to return. Another time!
My next stop: Dubai.

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