Welcome to Sunday!
This morning I had a lazy start to the day after getting up early yesterday morning and heading over the Game City Mall at 9 am for a full four-hour stint of roaming, shopping and then the Thanksgiving celebration. As I didn’t need to vacate my unit by 9 am this morning so Tanynela could come in and tidy up; I puttered around and somehow seemed to take a long time to accomplish anything.
After a relaxing morning spent puttering and reading documents for work, I decided to go exploring further a field. And that meant taking a Combi! Fully prepared this time with full sun protection including a hat and light wrap off I set. My destination was Main Mall, which is located in downtown Gabs right beside the Government Enclave. I have heard a lot about this area including that it has an African artists market, it was close to the National Museum and there was a tourist information centre close by. Win, win – while the intent was good – the actualization was something different.
Okay, first I cheated as I took a special (shared) taxi to the Main Mall. I resorted to this after every Combi that can to my closest stop was jammed to the gills with bodies. Good grief, doesn’t anyone stay at home on Sunday any more. After a less crowded but equally hot ride down town to Main Mall, I arrived at what was basically a deserted mall. Sure there were a few people around and about 1/3 of the stores were open but not a traditional stall in sight.
Not to be defeated, I walked the entire length of the mall and saw what I wasn’t missing. Nobody hangs around down town Gabs on a Sunday. Determined to make the best of it, I headed off to the National Museum. At least it would give me relief from the blazing African sun and I could soak up some culture. Well, again the best of plans was foiled. After having to cross streets at actual cross walks, which I have been told is more dangerous than simply jaywalking, I saunter up to the reception kiosk of the museum. After exchanging dumela mma greetings, I produce my pulas and ask for one admission. The response is that the museum is currently closed due to no power – guess I should have called ahead!
Oh well, there is always the tourism information centre to be visited as I am on a mad quest for an actual city of Gabs map. Off I go again…..and you guessed it! Also closed. Well, by now I have had enough of down town and the blazing sun so I amble off (it is impossible to rush or even walk faster here as it so dang hot during the middle of the day) to the combi stand willing to take my chances.
I strike gold after the third attempt. After at least three packed to the gills combies had pulled up, disgorged and refilled, I finally make it into one headed for “The Station”. Thanks to the new friend that I made at the combi stop I was able to squeeze into the combi in the last jump seat. Now part of my combi training had instructed me into which seats are best in a combi. Given that almost every combi that I have actually made it into have been holding the requisite 12 to 15 passengers, beggars can’t be chosers. But being in the jump seat means that you are in the collapsible seat right by the door so every time the combi stops, which is frequently, to disgorge passengers you must jump out, wait for them to exit, hope that whoever is getting in leaves a seat for you. Luckily for me I was able to get back in every time. In fact my new friend jumped out at one point after the front seat next the driver had emptied out and signaled me to get in there with her. It was a more relaxing drive to the “Station” as I didn’t have to jump out anymore.
Having finally made my way to the “Station” which has an atmosphere that can only be equated to the street markets of Paris but over a much larger space and jammed filled with parked and moving vehicles, bodies and stalls. It is an experience in and of itself. Once I am feeling more cocky I will actually take pictures while I am there to share with you all. For now, I don’t want to pull out my camera and appear to be a totally vulnerable being begging to be robbed.
After making my way through the throng from where my combi let me off, headed in the general direction of the combi rank which will take me home, I decided to wander into the Railway Centre Mall and in doing so, I truly found paradise. As I stepped in to the mall I saw a large store at one end called “Food Lovers”. Having been told about this store yesterday during the drive to the game park I knew what I had found! It is a grocery store specially for those with western tastes. As I entered into the fruit and veggie section I could only look and drool. Finally, here was every kind of fruit and vegetable you could ever ask for. After wandering through and picking up a few items I headed out into the mall itself.
My trip to paradise continued as I soon happened upon Milky Lane. Again, having been told yesterday about this tasty site I couldn’t have been happier to find it. This shop gives Frosty Treat and DQ a run for its money with a little Tims thrown in. After consuming a nicecream cone which helped to soothe my parched throat I set up to explore the rest of the mall. This mall will no doubt become a regular haunt as it has some really great stores and I know I will be back to buy groceries here. Although even with my two smaller sized bags of goods it was still difficult clambering into and out of the two combies I need to take back home. By the time I actually entered my apartment I was truly hot and sweaty and just needed to turn on the air con and relax for 15 minutes.
And that was my Sunday afternoon in Gabs!