Monday, August 16, 2010

Oh, the places you'll go! (Part II)

Monday, August 16 9;11PM


Okay, so I think I can manage Saturday now also. Saturday I slept, and I slept, and I slept. But really considering I didn't go to bed until 3 AM, I didn't sleep that late. At about 10 or 11 I was up, and it was laundry day. I sorted, washed and hung out to dry 2 loads (inside-out on the line of course...who cares if the insides of your clothes fade in the sun???) which managed to take me until about 1. After that I had decided to get some work done at the coffee house at the mall...

...which of course I didn't. Rather than doing a bunch of research and reading, I decided that the coffee house was kind of too loud in which to work. This was a subconscious decision, as I managed to try to look up a couple things. However, this was mostly intermixed with me looking up options for a trip either to Chobe National Park or the Okavango Delta. It was frustrating, because everywhere I looked was either too expensive or booked. Then, after two cappucinos and while sipping my smoothie (which i decided I needed to calm the caffeine rush I had acquired over the previous three hours down), the internet just stopped working well, and I had decided to work at home...

...if only I could get there. So, imagine if you will the sun about maybe 30 minutes from being asleep for the night. As I walked out of the Mall, I heard a combi driver yelling "Station, Main Mall." Main mall...I knew that place, and it was close enough to home. Naturally I got in, and naturally the combi did not turn where I expected it to...and naturally I thought that eventually we'd get to Main Mall. And naturally I was wrong.

Of course, now that my geographic knowledge of Gaborone is better, I realize that the place we stopped was somewhat near Main Mall...but not really. It was probably a good extra 10 minute walk. However, at the time, this combi ended up driving to a place that I hoped to NEVER end up in again.

So as I got out of the combi where apparently the route ended, it was now dusk-ish. Imagine for me if you will an area filled with about 100 or so vans that all look similar. Some are picking up passengers, some are not. Most are sitting in rows lined up and not going anywhere just off the road. I asked the driver how to get to the Sun Hotel, near my house, and he pointed and told me where to go in English-ish. So I started to walk in that direction. I passed about a million combis, and intermixed in a nearby parking lot were random tables where locals sold fruit, chips, airtime scratch cards, etc. along with one or two pool tables (yes, outdoors and complete with intimidating looking players all around). I passed all these, took my advised turn, and was walking down a broad strip of blacktop with two long buildings on either side. As I passed what appeared to be a Chinese restaurant and a couple stores, it was getting darker.

I then came upon another area with even MORE combis in the middle of this strip center parking lot...but none of them with the route number I needed to get home. Thinking I recognized a turn the previous combi had made, I walked down another road and away from the neon-sign "CASH KNOCKOUT" in the opposite direction. As I came upon another major road, I realized I indeed did not know where I was. Fortunately, as a stranger passed by he said "Hello how are you?" in a thick accent. Instead of answering honestly "Terrified thanks!", I asked him where to find Broadhurst Route #2. He promptly told me that I was in the entirely wrong spot.

It was at this point in time that I realized that when you ask a local where something is, the answer of "I don't know" is not an option for them apparently. They will either guess, make it up, or point in a direction.

In any case, this guardian angel showed me where I was supposed to have gone, found the right combi for me, and I was finally in the right vehicle to get home. Though I had my doubts, the driver wound through streets and around a couple corners. Soon enough I knew where I was. We came to a stop close to my house, and I walked into the yard and through the door incredibly thankful to be home.

After that, I was NOT about to leave again that evening. I set to work on the journal club presentation, and while I worked I cooked and ate dinner and played music to keep the house anything but quiet. Around this time I decided that the next day would be too busy for me to really even have the chance to go to Vincent's for lunch. Therefore, I texted his number to tell him that I had a project and an essay due later in the week that I had to get a lot of work done on and would not be able to do lunch. Content, I set to work again...

About 30 minutes later (11PMish) the phone rang....and eventually stopped....and rang....and eventually stopped...and rang...and eventually stopped...and rang the fourth time...and then the vibrations on the table where the phone lay finally was time for bed.

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