I’ve gotten ahead of myself. I should say a few words about this place where I’m living.

Johannesburg (Joburg, Jo’burg, Jozi, JHB) is the largest city in South Africa and the fourth-largest in Africa. Interestingly, South Africa has three official capital cities but Johannesburg is not one of them.

Joburg is known for crime, and the abundance of security fences and armed guards bears that out. It’s also known for trees: Joburg has more than 10 million trees and is the largest man-made forest in the world.

It’s a sprawling city, comprised of the Central Business District (CBD) and a web of suburbs and townships. “Suburb” has a different meaning here than in the U.S. – Joburg suburbs are more like neighborhoods than towns.

Joe and I live in Melville, a suburb northwest of the CBD. Wikipedia calls Melville bohemian. I call it retro-Afro-artsy.

Here are some typical (or typical in that they’re atypical) houses in Melville:

I love walking up and down the streets and looking at the houses. Every house has something (or many things) funky about it – a wall covered in creepers, an ornate iron gate, a spiral stairway, a glass tile house number, or a crazy-looking palm tree. It feels foreign and comfortable and fascinating – right where I want to be.

There are lots of restaurants and shops within walking distance of our house, which is good because I’m still terrified to drive. This afternoon we walked two blocks to a restaurant – call it a casual upscale coffee shop – called Service Station. I had a haloumi salad. Haloumi is my new favorite food – a hardy Greek cheese served grilled or fried. It’s everywhere here. Joe had a beef fillet sandwich, which was delicious. Red meat is very big in South Africa.

Our waitress at Service Station was Vikki. Vikki is also our neighbor – or housemate, really. She lives with her mother, Leslee, in the cottage apartment connected to our house. Vikki and Leslee have a giant gray tabby cat, Fruffy, who likes to sit on the roof.

The lovely Vikki serves us lunch at Service Station.

And then there is Lucky, our caretaker/gardener/housekeeper extraordinaire. Lucky lives here too, in a one-room apartment outside our door. I’m a bit in awe of Lucky. I will write a special post about him soon.

We have a nice five-person, one-cat commune here in Melville.

Not a very good photo but that’s our commune on the right.

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  • Reply Mark R August 12, 2010 at 12:44 am

    Love love LOVE the blog! I attended a reading tonight by singer/songwriter Rosanne Cash and your writing reminds me of hers: full of humor and heart and it always makes me think. And then burst into a fit of envy because that’s the way I want to write too! :). Glad you’re so happy, friend. Keep on writing!

    • Reply 2summers August 12, 2010 at 8:22 am

      Aw. That’s so nice Mark. Thanks. Hope you’re doing well — miss you!

  • Reply Haloumania | 2Summers August 17, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    […] frying pan (top photo): Haloumi and sweet peppers. I’ve had haloumi a couple of times before but today was the first time I prepared it at home. It comes in a big hunk and the type I bought is […]

  • Reply In the ‘hood | 2Summers August 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    […] Saturday of each month, there is a farmers market on the roof of the Bamboo shopping center, above Service Station. It’s a block away from us. I love farmers markets and was eager to check it out, although […]

  • Reply Wildlife | 2Summers August 29, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    […] I’ve already mentioned Fruffy, our commune cat. […]

  • Reply In Praise Of Melville-Johannesburg, South Africa | tatamkuluafrica January 31, 2016 at 4:22 am

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