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Youth Hostels in Johannesburg (South Africa)

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      15.10.2002 21:44
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      I was in South Africa four years ago so please bear in mind that things may have changed since then. The Backpackers Ritz in Johannesburg is deceptively named. The advertising sounds attractive highlighting the pool, bar, available meals, free pick-up from the airport... The pool was more like a pond (in size). The bar was a small cellar downstairs. I didn?t chance any meals ? I?m not sure where they were served. The pick-up was provided by a crazy driver who sped over the speed bumps in residential areas. The rooms were of course dorms as you would expect in a hostel but there were so many bunks squeezed in there wasn?t enough space to swing a cat, never mind fit in all the rucksacks belonging to the inhabitants of the bunks. I was extra unfortunate because I was there at the same time as a group booking of teenage school goers who were running around screaming and giggling due to the opportunity for them to get drunk. It also meant that the staff were very busy and so extremely unhelpful and unfriendly (at least I hope it was because they were busy or it means they were just rude). I was waiting for a very important fax and I kept being told they didn?t have time to look to see if it had arrived. Eventually they got it for me moments before I left, but this had left me panicking for the duration of the stay as I needed it to go to my next destination. The one phone ate money like a child eats sweets. I put in 5Rand (approx 50p at the time) which anywhere else gave me the beginnings of a conversation to someone back in England, but here I only managed to say hello before the call was cut off. I tried to speak to a member of the staff about this but was told I was being ridiculous to expect a phone call to England for that little. I ended up making a reverse charge call and getting them to call me back. On the plus side? It?s in a nice area of Johannesburg. But I wouldn?t chance another stay there. < br>

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