“Welcome to the Penh my friend, big city in the kingdom of wonder, where all the streets are numbered and when it rains it thunders, them smiles stay infectious, chaps asleep in their cyclos or pushing a Lexus.” – Gobshite and Prolyfik
At the corner of 232 and 111 and around the corner from Town View Hotel 2, is the 17 floor high building, Green Palace. It is tall. Yes, I have visited much taller buildings but 17 floors is nothing to scoff about. Cambodia is renowned for these orgasmic sunsets and I’m pretty sure I could do this day’s sunset justice from the top of a 17 floor building. It had been a harrowing day. Scratch that, this was the most harrowing day of my life. After lunch, I needed to unwind so Michelle, Philipe and I did a whirlwind tour of Phnom Penh on a Tuk-Tuk. The city is amazing and the tuk-tuk ride was a lot of fun especially when we got to the bakery, with all its sweet goodness – I may or may not be talking about the cakes. Anyway, the agreement with Alberto was that we would meet him at 17:00 in the foyer of Town View Hotel 2. The sunset was at around 17:30 so we would have to hurry…
We get to the Green Palace’s roof which houses the Sky Bar. It’s a very contemporary venue, complete with open spaces, trendy décor and a varied cocktail menu. I get a G&T and peer out beyond the balustrade. The feeling that engulfed me was beyond description. An amber glow provided by the Cambodia’s eternally blood-stained sun drenched the magnificence of the capital. A day ago, I had seen the sun slowly descend over the Mekong which, at the time, I had thought was the best performance it could have ever made. I was wrong. Today’s retirement was special. It grabbed all these emotions which had come to the surface and left me in a state of pure happiness. For a few moments, the extreme stresses of the day were released and I felt bliss. It was one of the greatest feelings I have ever experienced. And my gosh, that sunset was beautiful.
It’s great when you experience that feeling for a second time…
On Wednesday morning, Keshin (who loves Jozi more than I do) sent me a photograph taken just beyond a rooftop pool. In the distance was the distinct Jozi skyline. I couldn’t figure out where this was but I guess that’s the fun bit – Finding Jozi!
The Joburg City Festival is an annual celebration of the inner city. A few weeks ago, my (expat) Engineering Manager mentioned that this festival was one of the highlights in his seven years of South African residence. Over the past few years, the inner city has been going through a character change and many people have taken on a vastly different view of the inner city than they did ten years ago. The organisers have gone out of their way to engage all areas within the city from the rejuvenated suburbs of Maboneng and Braamfontein to the stunning restaurants in the Mining District and even the Fashion District which still is a step too far for many an urban explorer.
Now, I love sunsets.
The Parktonian is an all-suite hotel in, uh, Parktown (not really – It’s in Braamfontein. Kinda. Sorta.) I believe it has been around since the late ‘80s. The round façade is pretty gorgeous but it’s such an easily missed building if your eyes are closed. They have joined the Joburg City Festival this year by deciding to open up their mythical deck on the 24th floor. A few have ventured there recently but it’s usually just open to hotel guests. If you’re staying there, go to the bar at the bottom, give them your order and then go to the top. They will sort out the rest. The service won’t be lightning fast but trust me, you’re not going to worry about the wait.
Why is it worth it? Well…
And yes, this was indeed the place where Keshin’s photograph was taken. It really is such a beautiful sight.
The sunset left me speechless. Piotr had given up trying to converse with me. Emotions ran wild and I experienced bliss yet again. Then the night took over Jozi but, Jozi fought back with hundreds of colours pouring out from each window. It mesmerised. This is MY city. This is MY Jozi. It’s just gorgeous. I fell in love yet again.
When to go: The Parktonian is not usually open to the public as its usually reserved for guests of the hotel only. The rooms are all suites and are competitively priced. It’s located right new to the Gautrain Station so it is worth considering. Anyway, with some luck, they may open the deck to the public once a month for a special event. I’m holding thumbs and hoping this is the case. Or if all this fails, just book the deck for a private function or schedule a conference and use the rooms on the 24th floor.
How to get there: It is very accessible from the M1. Travelling from the North, take Smit Street off ramp and keeping. Travel through 5 sets of Traffic Lights, at 6th set of lights turn left into Rissik Street. Travel 200m at the next set of traffic lights, slip to the left into De Korte Street. The Protea Hotel Parktonian All-Suite is on the left hand side 100m down. There is a multi-level parkade behind the hotel. If you are staying at the Parktonian, they offer free shuttles to and from the Park Station Gautrain Station which is very close by.
Cost: Petrol, Parking, Food and Drink fees? Oh, and the parking lot is a bit on the expensive side so keep some change for that.
Anything Else: This is the best sunset I have seen in Jozi. The location is superb and it felt right. Was this better than the sunset in Phnom Penh? Hehe. Um, uh, well, ooh look, a butterfly.