Far from bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning, I was finally coaxed out of bed with the mention of breakfast. To my surprise I sat down to a much appreciated meal of eggs, toast, coffee, and tea. It was just what I needed to get my gears turning. The first stop for our group was the Origins museum, which I fell in love with instantly. I was truly impressed with how modern the museum was and the amount of various media and hands on devices. Brian, our guide during the visit, was so thorough in recognizing the various challenges that the museum faces, as well as, the purpose and attention given to virtually every aspect of the museum, right down the to whether the guard at the gate was having a good day. His passion, not only for museums, but for the information presented in the museum was obvious with every word he spoke. By the end of the tour and once our minds were full with all kinds of information, our stomachs began to feel neglected and our brains needed their daily caffeine boost. A small restaurant was attached to the museum and after experiencing temperatures below normal within the museum for the past two hours, we requested a table in the sunlight. From granola bars, to fruit, to a quiche that finally decided to make an appearance at the table, our bellies no longer felt neglected. Once our brains began to feel the effect of the coffee, we were all ready to make our way to the Wits Art Gallery.
To test our minds further, we met with Fiona at the Wits Art Gallery. After hearing her stories about the struggles the museum has gone through over the years, it was astounding to see her commitment and hard work expressed in the new gallery space. Still a work in progress, the museum’s collection contains beautiful traditional and contemporary African art. A tasteful display, the exhibit showcases various areas of artistic African culture and are infused with symbols, meanings, and messages.
Now, while I did enjoy the museums and am so excited to see that these two museums have come so far and are succeeding in their individual missions, my favorite part of the day was most definitely our walk around downtown Johnnesburg. It was mind boggling walking from an area where students had just graduated from college and were standing in their cap and gowns to walk several blocks and come across street vendors every 6 feet and the sound of generators being used to provide electricity to the small indoor shops. Having absorbed a great deal of information earlier in the day, it was nice to stretch our legs and take advantage of some extraordinary shopping deals.
Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on who you ask) we found a great clothing store with unimaginable prices. We were sucked in and if it hadn’t been for the rest of the group who had already been waiting patiently for some time, us three college girls could have very well spent the next several hours debating on which color looked the best or if it would be better to just buy everything that caught our eyes. Eventually satisfied with our purchases we returned to our patient group members and continued with our walk. Overall, the exercise was nice and the experience rewarding aside from the growing recognition of the unavoidable gas fumes lingering in the air.