Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lost in the big city

I've been up in Johannesburg for two days, back tonight in Cape Town. I managed to get a brief run in before I flew yesterday, but then had to run in Joburg this morning. I had mapped out my route in advance, and then written down the road names on a piece of paper. I set out confidently from the hotel, then promptly took a wrong turning. Joburg is a bit short on street signs, so my first guess turned out to be wrong. No problem - I had a rough idea of where I was going, and I was confident that after a few kilometres I would recognise the streets near the hotel I used to run from when I spent time up here last year.

Plodding on, with the same Led Zepp song on repeat for the first 15 minutes - one thing at a time - I turned occasionally in the direction of what I thought I knew. After running for 30 minutes I had still not spotted anything familiar. This is where the iPhone comes in handy. Standing in the middle of a park in the Joburg drizzle, queues of commuters on one side, and mums dropping kids at school on the other, I opened up the map GPS thingy. Where the hell is Dunkeld? After a few minutes of fiddling it turned out that it was just round the corner from Rosebank, where I was staying. Ten more minutes got me back again, albeit knackered.

I got back to the hotel drenched in sweat, having really struggled. Then someone pointed out that Joburg is 1900m above sea level, i.e. Cape Town. I have now done my altitude training. Bring it on!

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