Winter is creeping in here in beautiful South Africa; so I accompanied my friend to some basic winter essentials shopping at a bargain, and nothing beats the Asian Markets. We brazed out to the elements on Saturday and hit China Mall on Main Reef road just South of Johannesburg CBD. It’s the biggest of the Asian markets with two floors of stores from ancient Chinese healers to the latest home entertainment electronic. Of course there is a fair amount of repetition of the usual suspects: Blankets, carpets, and cheap bags. Unfortunately the pair of boots my friend like had a size 3 being the biggest available (Europe 35, US 5), we’re both size 6. Go figure.
The second stop was Oriental Plaza less than 4 km away in the CBD. It is fairly large as well, but more airy and less mall-like. It has over 350 stores mostly focused on textile and leather goods; a good place to find drapes and quality carpets. I managed to find a pair of boots, and I was not even looking. Day 1 was almost spent and no boots for my friend so a moment of panic lead us to The Zone and the Mall of Rosebank (nothing Asina about these), still no boots; but we had a lovely Italian supper of potato gnocchi in a four cheese and spinach source. Heaven in a bow!
Day 2 was full of excitement. More shopping and some deeper cultural exploration. First stop was The Bruma Oriental Market in the East Rand. A blend of Chinese and Indian merchandise. The center is fully enclosed and much smaller than the two previous markets but I found it had the greatest variety. There are two shops worth a second visit there, one for quality handbags, the other sells imported Indian street fashion. And success, we found the boots; a pair of tan, cowboy heeled, ankle-lenght boots with not too much activity (studs/spikes), but with an edge. Goodness! I was about to fake fainting from shopping exhaustion.
Across the foot bridge is the Asian City where there used to be the famous Bruma Flea Market. A sad tale. Most shops are empty and it lacks character when compared to the other Asian markets.
After warming up we headed 90 km to Bronkhorstspruit to visit Nun Hua Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in Africa. It was refreshing. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
Word of advise, use the N4 when going to Bronkhorstspruit, some parts of the R24 are currently under road reconstruction so there are delays.