Today I am finally trying to adapt to being here in a routine way, instead of treating each day as a new adventure.
I slept late and then began a day that might be similar to that of many expatriates living in Gaborone. I walked 15 minutes to the Riverwalk Mall, which features expensive shops selling fashionable clothes, Nikes, imported art and home decorations from Zimbabwe, and a range of restaurants. I had a very nice large cappuccino at The Equatorial Café, and was chatted up by a Muslim man in full Southeast Asian garb, who told me many stories about his family, and was certainly a genial addition to the morning.
After a couple of hours enjoying the sparkling water and the internet at the Café, I walked around the mall to see the less formal market that springs up on Saturdays. Merchants – exclusively women – had set up stalls selling jewelry, hair ornaments, baskets, crafts, and clothing. I have been blessed with a temporary Ghanaian roommate, who lets me know the reasonable price range for these kinds of items, and I believe I was offered every item at double the going rate, so I bought nothing even though some of the baskets and carved wooden bowls really caught my eye.
Then I had lunch at Nando’s, which is a chain that serves chicken with various accompaniments, always including peri-peri sauce, which is sort of the Tabasco of southern Africa.
Next, I stopped by the pharmacy to discover “tea” comprised of ground ginger root, honey, and sugar, as well as oral rehydration salts flavored “orange.” I think both of these items are aimed at the same sort of ailments, and as I have had several students with these complaints already, I plan to let them know about the pharmacy. Next I went to the small grocery store, Pick & Pay, where I bought 8 or 9 different sauce packets, ranging from honey mustard chicken to Durban curry. Then I walked back home and stopped by the gym that is about 5 minutes from my house (Gym Active). Whew, was it air-conditioned! I wonder if they would mind if I bought a membership and sat still in a corner reading a book? And only 5 or 6 people were in there, and they have an Olympic sized pool. I am most interested in the pool, because treading water for an hour or so is very good for my bad knee. I got the membership prices, then finished the short walk home, just in time for an absolute downpour. I made it just in time!
It then proceeded to downpour regularly, for about 45 minutes to an hour, with 30 minutes between, for the rest of the day. It is even reasonably cool, a great blessing.
I have been able to use the internet pretty much all day long at home, ever since I had wireless installed through www.lenong.net. This access has revolutionized how comfortable I am here, and how efficacious I can be as a professor and administrator as well. I would not recommend the Mascom “dongle” to anyone who is thinking of coming here. (I would not recommend anything called a dongle to anyone for any purpose, let’s face it.)
I made my roomie and I spaghetti with homemade sauce I made out of ground beef, onions, garlic, canned tomatoes, a real tomato, basil, marjoram, rosemary, some vegetable bouillon, and a green pepper, and we had bread and butter on the side. It’s too bad that she will be leaving Sunday for another trip to rural Botswana, but she will be back in a week or so for another short stay before she heads to another country to continue her graduate work.
I apologize for not posting more images of Botswana. The problem is that I do not want to carry my camera with me most of the time, because it is reasonably heavy and also it is very intrusive to be the person snapping photos left and right. But I will try to take some pictures this next week, I promise.
I am ripening a large Yucatan-esque avocado and saving a $0.50 lemon to make guacamole tomorrow.
Wish me luck!