More Gaborone

Yesterday, I worked more on the short story. I have been working on it while Rachel has been at work. I posted part one yesterday. I am not sure if the rest of the story will be Parts Two and Three or Parts Two A and Two B. I noticed that Janiah’s voice changes quite a bit after the text from Damien. I am not sure how I feel about that, but here’s a link to Part One:

https://latonjab.wordpress.com/2016/10/28/following-janes-advice-part-one/

Last night, Rachel and I went to dinner with her friend George. We did a celebration dinner for her birthday, which was earlier this month.

Today, I braved the heat (and it is hot) to go to a couple of markets. I have a new appreciate for the phrase “Africa hot.” Rachel’s friend Tapiwa (question on spelling) came with us to the second one. After looking around, we sat and listened to live music played by Rachel’s friend Cedric from the other night.

Tonight, we went to hear more live music from her friend Cedric. It was a concert called the Summer of 79 and music was played from the 70s. It was cool and a great way to spend my last night in Botswana.

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The band and singers were all excellent. They played everyone from David Bowie to Led Zeppelin to Pink Floyd to Toto. They played “We are Family,” and I immediately flash backed to childhood singing that song with my sisters with towels or shirts on our heads so we could swing hair. Fun times! Was reminded to “Hold the line…love isn’t always on time.”

The Toto song was cool because the original singer for the band was there and sang. He also sang another song that I don’t remember which one.

Perhaps the most special moment was a Prince tribute where they sang Purple Rain. Snaps fingers at memory. The song took me back to the two times I saw Prince. And remembered how it felt like I was intruding on an intimate moment as he made love to the guitar. Tears. I still can’t believe he is gone (shakes fist at 2016).

It was also fun to dance. I really need to go out dancing more at home. Whenever I do go, I am reminded how much fun I have doing it.

Tomorrow, I start the long journey home.

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Gaborone Chronicles

I went to bed relatively early last night, but I woke up in the early morning because the fan was beeping because more water was needed. Long story short, I couldn’t get it closed. Rachel showed me the trick when she woke up, and I went back to sleep. I had some very bizarre dreams after that. One of them felt familiar, like I had had it before. I didn’t enjoy it the first time and this time was no better.

I woke up late and got organized. Then I went online. I was trying to go to this webpage that wanted me to sign into my Google account. Long story short, Google had my pictures! The only pictures missing are the ones I had taken the day my phone was stolen. I’m guessing because there was no internet sync. I was so happy.

I have a love hate relationship with technology. This is one of the times I love it. I had some videos clips to when I saw Guns N Roses that I was able to recover as well as some other random photos. Woohoo. And big kiss to the Google developers. I just need to go through and clean out the dud photos and then I will be able to download them into my Shutterfly account. Score! Doing happy dance.

Rachel and I went to hear her friend Cedric play at this restaurant. He played everything from Nirvana’s “Teen Spirit” to Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car.: He sounded really good. We were joined by Rachel’s friend Oliver as well as his friend Barati.

I should mention in South Africa, I had conversation where people asked me about Trump and the same is true for Botswana. Fellow Americans, he is seen as a menace and that is not a good thing. It doesn’t make America strong and it does not make America “great.” I have joked about joining a priory if Trump is elected. I can spend the rest of my days praying before the apocalypse that I am sure will follow.

We had a really interesting conversation about what a good man. And I think the answer may differ from person to person based on their needs. I know for myself there are things I desire in a life partner, and I am always pleased when I discover people who are cut from that mold. It gives me hope.

When Oliver went off to chat with some friends, Rachel, Barati, and I talked more about relationships. Barati had a great line of “bringing the ovaries back.” We meet a guy, and we click and we are subconsciously beginning to plan the wedding without fully venting the person because our emotions become tangled.

Her uncle had sent her a Facebook meme that talks about how women are conditioned to think of marriage is an achievement but young men are not conditioned the same way. In the push and pressure to get married red flags are ignored.

Rachel was telling me that in Botswana you are not considered a “woman” until you have a child, which is bizarre. So I am 40 something and childless, so I am not a woman? Get the heck out of here.

I have been working on the short story. I want to press send before I leave. The way that it is working out is that it ends on a cliff hanger, but I got inspiration for the next segment this morning and evening.

 

Hello Gaborone, Botswana

I said a very sad goodbye to Cape Town this morning, but I must go back. I have a dinner date with Jasmin next time I am in town. She took me to the airport. I am very touched by all the wonderful people I met, and I am looking forward to paths crossing again whether there, Seattle or somewhere else in the world.

I flew Air Botswana to Gaborone. It was weird because everyone had their own seat. It was a small plane so I am guessing it was for balance. The smaller the plane, the edgier I get. My mind flashed back to a flight I had with my buddy, Randy. We had both transferred at the same airport to fly into Charleston. There were thundershowers, and we had three aborted landing tries. We ended up running low on fuel and the plane had to go to Savannah to refuel before returning to try again. Randy had switched seats with the person who was assigned to sit with me, and I was glad about it since I spent most of the flight clutching him for dear life. I don’t think a stranger would have appreciated it.

On the flight over, I noticed the changing landscape. There was an area that I noticed the clouds in the skies all had what looked like water underneath them. It was a nice mirage.

First of all, it is hot here. I am glad my doctor recommend I bring some Gatorade or Propel packets to mix with water. Electrolytes activate otherwise I will turn into a puddle of chocolate milk. I may have been a little lax in putting sunscreen on in Cape Town. I am showing signs of sun burn on my arms. It’s not too bad, but I will need to lather up for sure. And for some reason the bugs here like my insect repellent. Sigh.

Rachel picked me up, and on the way to her house, I saw a lot of goats. I mean a lot and some cows as well.

Rachel and I picked up her friend Felecia, and we went to a yacht club where Rachel and Felecia both ordered a meal. Unfortunately, the order was never put in and we had waited 45 minutes thinking they were just slow. After going to several stores and restaurants it is very clear that people aren’t in that much of a hurry to be of service. Maybe it’s the heat.

But while there we saw an amazing sunset. The picture below is courtesy of Rachel. A great sunset always reminds me of the lyrics of Pearl Jam’s Black. “I’m spinning how quick the sun can drop away.” The club deck overlooks what they call a dam, but seems more like a reservoir to me. Until last week, it had been quite low, and they are having a drought. But it rained and that did help some.

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The stars are also very amazing here. I really need to invest in a nice telescope. I so miss stargazing.

We were listening to Hello by Adele on the way to the club, and we all agreed that this was the type of song that had you calling ex’s or ex’s calling you. It’s one of those songs that will have you wax nostalgic and yearning if you are not careful.

We also talked about traveling. It just seems like we are more open when we travel. Perhaps because we are not rushing off to do a, b, or c.

As my time in Gaborone starts, I am reminded of the words of Gandalf in The Two Towers. “One stage of your journey is over, another begins.”

Farewell Cape Town

My last night in Cape Town was super fun. I went out to dinner and a bar with Gideon, Neal, and two of their friends. We also met some other people who we shared a table with. It was a great way to end this leg of an awesome adventure. It’s hard to believe that eight nights passed by so fast but time is moving. Even with seven full days to sight see, there is still so much to see. I would like to also check out Johannesburg for a few nights one of these trips. One of the reasons I like Cape Town so much is because it is super relaxed and a lot slower than I hear Jo-burg is.

Here is a picture of me with Gideon, who is an awesome host. If you are looking for an Airbnb in Cape Town, I would recommend him for sure. The location (Bo-Kaap) is perfect, and he is a great host and all around great person.

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I have a 9:30 flight tomorrow morning to go to Botswana. Two hours later, and I will be there for four nights. I was originally planning on staying five, but I could not get the flight that came back on Monday. It will work out fine, because now I will get home Monday and have a few days to get myself back together before returning to work on Wednesday. I am going to shock my system by making myself stay up somewhat late. I am meeting Tali for happy hour on Monday, which will force me to stay up. Then Tuesday morning, I will resume my workout, though I will do 8:00 instead of the normal 7:00.

Luckily, I am unplugged from a lot of the American news so I am missing some of the election craziness. I will only have to endure a week of the circus. I think I have made my political position in the race clear. Eventually, we may get to where four major parties are contenders to win, but I don’t think that we are there. I think the GOP could/split into a middle ground conservative movement and a crazy right wing movement. Then the Democrats can split into a middle ground liberal movement and a fringe left wing movement. I do notice my personal bias when I describe the fringe parties. I am hopeful that the middle ground parties will prevail and work for the common ground, not just act by party line. I think that could be where the common sense will lie and a movement to do what is best for the country. It’s all theory though.

Anyway, I should wrap us so I can hit the sack.

Next time you hear from me, I will be in Botswana.

More Cape Town

Yesterday was a very lazy day. It felt nice to do nothing.

I started getting my stuff ready to pack. I started and finished a book on my Kindle. I also worked more on my short story, which I must say I quite like. It’s cute. I also briefly started a piece on being a 40+, single, woman. I could probably write tons of articles on that. I have a lot of thoughts on it.

My only venture out was to have dinner. I went to a brewery with Gideon and Neil and then to a bar. It has been cool to be able to hang out with them both. I’ve enjoyed the conversations, and they are both super cool people. Intelligent and open. Gideon has been an amazing host.

Today I went to Robben Island. I knew some of the history from when I went to Slave Lodge and to the exhibit in the Nelson Mandela Gateway. I didn’t realize that the island had been used as a prison/castaway point for 500 years. They sent lepers over there back in the day. And if you had a mental illness you could be sent over there. And in the old times if you were epileptic, they thought you had demons so they were sent over there as well.

One of the guides was a former prisoner. I did not catch his name, but he was sent there in 1984 for basically treason. He is one of the people who lives there today with their families. He said he lives there with men who used to be guards. He spoke with passion when he talked about how now he and his family can live anywhere they want with neighbors of all races. He also explained how the meals you were given worked. Basically based on race.

I saw the lime mine where Mandela worked as well as his cell. The leaders of political groups (the thinkers for lack of better word) were kept apart from the general population because the government feared their words. The guide also talked about how they would get and send notes outside of the prison. I am glad I went.

It is hard to fathom someone being there a year let alone twenty. I am impressed by the men who were not broken there.

It was a perfect day to be on the Atlantic Ocean. I saw a whale! It was so cool. I used to dream about whales a lot. This is only my second time seeing one in “real life.” It was magical. I also saw what may or may not have been a dolphin but that was anticlimactic for me. Flipper has nothing on Willy, in my book.

I also decided to go off the grid a little. I got rid of my twitter account. Twitter was fun, but it did take up time. I also changed my Instagram name to not be my name. I feel a little vulnerable so I am going vaguer and taking out some of the detail. Like in my blog about me section, I had where I went to college and that kind of stuff. No more, which is smarter in the long run.

Oh and the ride over to the island also afforded me a better view of their container terminal. There was a COSCO vessel at anchor and MSC and CMA CGM vessels at port. There was also a bulk Star Shipping vessel at anchor. I have seen a lot MSC containers on trucks. I will need to look up who their number one ocean carrier is here. Loved seeing it! International trade rocks.

After Robben Island, I wandered around the city center some looking around.

Oh. But as people boarded the vessel to go to Robben Island, they took your picture based on your party. When my time came, I was alone of course. So the photographer was like, “Oh my sister from another mother. You have no man, but don’t worry. You have no stress.” Which made me bust out laughing. I am reminded of this scene from Sex and the City where Charlotte and Anthony are talking. And Anthony was like if you do a, b, and c (or maybe if you don’t do) you will have “no mens.” And Charlotte was like would that be the worst thing. Anthony got this look of complete discuss and was like, “uh yes!” It was a great scene especially with the use of the word “mens.”

So tomorrow I am off to Botswana. I have enjoyed Cape Town so much, and I will certainly be back. Let’s get a group together and come. It’s just a very beautiful section of the world, and it is vibrant.

This trip has curtailed my need to be “polite” though. *_*

Maybe I am being too literally in the interpretation, but if everything happens for a reason, what is the reason. If a person sees me as a tourist as someone to steal and take from, how do I see them? Because if I perceive you as a threat, that dictates a lot on my behavior and attitude. I want to wax eloquent on this because I have given it some thought, but I feel like my words would be full of an emotion I don’t want to put out. Part of which is judgement. So bear with me. I am sure no one wants to get trapped in the vortex of my mind.

I do consider myself to have compassion. But perhaps I need to remind myself of the scriptures about love and peace I wrote a few days ago. I hate when that happens.

I can easily forgive my family and friends. But I am finding it harder to forgive a stranger, and I am not sure there was meant to be a difference.

But at the end of the day, there are more things that are good to focus on. Like, I am in South Africa!

And excuse anything that needs to be edited. I am basically posting as  I go. So no rounds of edits.

 

Cape Point/Cape of Good Hope

I will edit later.

So I was very excited for today, because I was going to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. I joined a local tour. One American. One Argentinian. Two Russians. Two Taiwanese.

We drove past Seaport, which reminded me of West Seattle, and passed by Clifton. We stopped at Camps Bay for pictures.

Along the way we made a stop at Houtbay where my phone was stolen.

I am angry at the person who stole my phone, but I am also angry with myself because it was something mentioned in the guidebook. Long story short: A person asks you for the time. My reflex was to grab my phone to check, which equaled phone gone. In all my travels, I have never been pick pocketed, mugged, or robbed, so this is a new feeling on the dark side of traveling. The good news is that the phone is replaceable. I was not harmed (thought my emotions are a little frazzled). I was able to contact Deidre to have the phone suspended. As a precaution, I changed all the passwords on the apps I had on the phone. Though I wish a pox and calamity on his house, I think most of my anger is inward. The bottom line is that I can rehash it, and come up with a million things I could have done to be a “smarter” traveler, but it is done. But yeah, I am still pissed and upset.

But besides that, I saw some beautiful country. The Cape of Good Hope is the second furthest point in Africa, but most southern point on the west side. I kept getting conflicting reports on to whether it is where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. We were told today that that point is actually another cape that is on the east side of the country. At Cape Point, I decided to climb to the light house instead of taking the tram. I felt so out of shape, and I had to stop several times. But the view was worth it. I loved the waves crashing against the rocks and the different colors of blue in the water.

Along the drive, we also saw ostriches. They are a lot bigger than I thought they are. We also went to a penguin colony. They were so cute and very domesticated. They were obviously used to being photographed. I also saw what is called a dassie. It reminded me of a large rodent but is apparently in the elephant family.

The day ended with a visit to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. It was massive and very well kept.

Outside of the “inconvenience” of having my phone stolen, all my pictures were on that phone. It’s a new phone for me (though an old model), and I had not gotten around to syncing or backing it up. But I will take Deidre’s advice and not let it spoil the trip.

And the evening ended well. I was able to spend time with Gideon and Neil, whose home the BBQ I went to the other day was, to take my mind off of what happened. And now I will go to bed and see how things look in the morning.

More Cape Town

When I woke up this morning, it was raining. Hard. My first thought was that if it’s like this all day, I am not going anywhere. But by the time I got ready to leave, it had settled down. It spit a little here and there, but it was another nice day. Kind of on the hot side for me, but tolerable. It will be hotter in Botswana.

So I started today on the waterfront. I bought my ticket to go to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. Going to the Cape of Good Hope was one of the top things I wanted to do while I was here.

I then intended to go to some of the local beaches, but I ended up going to Neighborgoods Market at Old Biscuit Mill. It wasn’t on my radar, but it was something that Gideon highly recommended. I am so very glad I went. The Saturday market was buzzing. There were foods that smelled so delicious and there were conversations going on everywhere. I sat and took it in while sipping on a smoothie. Then I walked around to take pictures. Then I ate. Then I walked around again. I also sat outside for a minute to listen to some music and journal. As far as local markets go, this one was among the best. They had everything from BBQ, burgers, sushi, Korean, crepes, hot dogs, etc. Also sweets and drinks. It was cool and worth the journey.

I then found a taxi to take back to the waterfront. To back track, I asked this (local) guy at the tourist info place how much a taxi should cost to the market. He said no more than 70/75 Rand. He also called me a metered taxi. So the taxi ended up being 62 Rand plus a tip. I say this because when I asked the next driver how much it would cost for me to return, he said 150 Rand. I was like no. It’s not that much. He said okay 100 Rand. This is the point where he almost got cussed out. A few choice words were on the tip of my tongue, and they are now on the tip of my fingers as I type this. I keep my rage at bay. I rarely get angry. I try to live my life by two scriptures:

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” NLT

“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” NIV

The first is because we are all humans. The people I love will hurt me, and I will hurt them. Not intentionally, but we may say or do something that causes scars. The second scripture is because I consider myself to be laidback. I try to let most things just roll off of my back. So it takes a lot to make me angry. When it happens, it comes quickly. So when this dude told me 150 and then 100, I almost lost it. I paused to get myself under control and told him how much I paid to get there and he was trying to charge me too much and started to walk away. He started laughing and was like okay, okay. And agreed to the amount. But I was so indignant. How dare he? Again, I hate being hustled. Why try to cheat me? Then you laugh when you get caught. I get that I am a tourist, and there is the assumption of wealth. Am I poor? No, but even if I was a millionaire, I think it is morally bankrupt for him to try to charge me over double the price that it should have been. And he did not get a tip.

I returned to the waterfront to get my ticket to Robben Island.

Then I walked back into the center. I have passed by the Green Market everyday it feels like, but I had never actually looked at the stalls, so I did. And the vendors were like, “sister, sister, we will give you a good price.” They got the side eye too because I was thinking yeah like the dude in the cab. Again. I get it. But I hate bartering, so I just looked. I mean give me a decent price. If you start high, I will automatically low ball you back because I feel insulted. It kind of reminded me of Jamaica.

Then because I needed to center myself, I walked in the Community Garden. I actually walked through it Wednesday, but I rushed through it. I didn’t look, take pictures, or pause to journal. I did all three of those today.

On the way home, I stopped by to see Jasmin. Actually, I did yesterday too. Jasmin and her husband, Muhammed, picked me up from the airport. So I have stopped by there every day but once since I got here. I like her a lot. She gives me advice on how to conduct/handle myself here. She’s very sweet.

There is something to be said about having a vacation with only a few destinations. The last few have been go, go, go. It’s actually nice being here for so long. I can take my time and just do a little here and there. And actually get home and have time to relax, blog, and read. I continue to go to bed late, but I also sleep in.