Sugar and purple arcades

I could fly around the world in a B-class pod that reclines 180 degrees. This way the 15 hour flight was a cinch.  For the connecting flight to Atlanta I was on the waiting list for an upgrade. Maybe it was because of me being a 2 million miler but I ended up at the front of a list of 50 hopefuls, all competing for one seat. I got it. Maybe having passed the 2 million mark has put me in a different league where I am leaving some of the competition for upgrades behind. I imagine that most of the 2 million milers are already business class travelers with paid seats.

On the long stretch I watched three movies: A Royal Night Out (OK, probably won’t remember in a month), The Little Prince (in French, lovely) and That Sugar Film. The latter shook me into a resolve I am keen to stick to. It is a documentary about sugar and how it has slipped into what we might consider ‘healthy’ foods under the guise of ‘low fat.’  I have resolved to not touch the stuff, at least in recognizable foods, until I get back to the US.  This is no small deal as I am a bit of a sugar addict, and learned that I consume more than the prescribed 24 grams for women on many days. It was the promise of a healthy liver and mental clarity that was most attractive. Test my clarity in 45 days!

I arrived in Johannesburg under clear skies. It was a warm summer day. The hotel is in one of the suburbs. The Jacaranda trees are in full bloom. The urban designers planted the trees in such a way that one has a sense of going through a purple arcade with the flowering limbs touching one another overhead. Here and there the dark red Bougainvillea adds another magnificent color to the overall décor of suburban lanes. It is breath taking; but here, as in Pretoria, people hide behind tall walls, serpentine wire and thick gates.

The hotel presents itself as an opulent urban sanctuary. Urban here means main thoroughfare and shopping malls. The hotel which is a dedicated historical monument, must at one time been looking out over green fields and surrounded by gardens. But this is no longer the case. It is now separated from the busy street life by hedges and a locked gate, just like the jewelry shops at the mall.

I have an enormous suite that has two bathrooms, two rooms and a separate dressing area. The old fashioned bathtub was the main attraction after the long flight. Before taking a bath I wandered into the mall to get money, a local simcard and a small bottle of wine. I completed my mall visit with a sushi dinner on a mall terrace while watching people stroll by. This stopover in Johannesburg was just what the doctor prescribed. By the way, I had no dessert, nor did I eat the praline that was put by my bedside. Sugar!

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