I am Officially a Wimp!

I admit it! I am one of those people!

As a hardy East Coaster use to cold, even frigid cold  weather, blizzards and lots of snow you would think that I could handle winter in Africa. Well, this morning I officially wimped out.

At 6:00 am this morning I went to get out of bed and head for the shower. Instead, I crawled back under the covers after switching on the kettle for a cup of tea and turned on my air conditioner which also provides heat when needed. This morning I desperately needed that little touch of warmth before I could bravely face the world outside of my bed.


While I love it cool to sleep, I am not such a fan of getting up in the morning to cold floors and air. And quite frankly there is nothing worse than a steamy hot shower followed by frigid air temperatures. This morning I figured it was about 7 or 8 degrees outside and inside when I was attempting to leave the warmth of my cozy bed. Buche told me that it was actually 5 degrees outside at 6 am this morning. This fact he imparted only after laughing and making fun of me describing my frantic return to bed this morning.

In my defense, the houses here are not built with heating systems other than what the air conditioning systems provide. Nor are homes constructed using any kind of insulation. My apartment does not get any direct sunlight due the direction it faces and the shade providing roof over my patio area. While this helps to keep my rooms slightly cooler from the heat of the summer time sun, it also means that my apartment is not warmed up at all during the day by the glorious winter sunshine.

So I am happy that I took all information provided to me about the coldness of winters here before coming to Botswana seriously. Thankfully I have warm thermal and flannel clothes and even slippers which I never wear at home. Guess who has now decided slippers are a good thing? Although at times I really have to wonder because I never wore any of this stuff back home in Canada where the temperatures dip to far greater extremes. But it is really like comparing apples to oranges.

Regardless, I now know to have slippers and a warm sweater on hand close to my bed for early mornings so I am not making the mad dash back to bed. And oh, by the way, I will also continue to wear short sleeved tops because by 10 am I am sweating like a pig if I am not dressed in something sleeveless.

So early tomorrow morning I will dress for the arctic when I get out of bed but when I dress for the day it will be summer attire with a jacket or light sweater on top proving that I can be just as adaptable as the weather here in Sub-Sahara Africa.

Just Monkeying Around

Well, I might live in the city and I have certainly made lots of jokes about keeping my door open during the hot summer evenings with the danger of a baboon wandering in.

Fortunately with the on-set of winter necessitating me actually wearing the thermal and flannel clothing that I brought with me, I don’t leave my door open at night any more as it is way too cool.

Last night after suffering through yet another power outage, which actually was a blessing as we all got to dine at the main house on Master Chef Peter’s stir fry cooked on a bbq, I was tucked up on my room all cosy and warm thanks to my flannel pjs. As I was lounging in bed watching the season finale of The Good Wife and chatting via email with my friend Linda I thought that maybe Christmas had arrived.

You see there arose such a clatter on my roof that I was sure that Santa and 8 reindeer had touched down. After all it is now winter here in Botswana. As the noise maker clattered across my roof only to make the long jump from my terrace tin roof to the roof top next door I knew it wasn’t Santa at all. The clattering and banging could only be one thing – a baboon!

Luckily, I had brains enough to remain safely indoors and not go out to commune with Mr. Baboon. Perhaps I am finally learning some sense after all. But I just couldn’t imagine my final moments being caught “dead” in a thermal long sleeved undershirt and flannel pj bottoms 🙂 Not an attractive way to go!

Peter told me this afternoon that he had heard the noise as well all of the way in his living room and that I was very wise to not have opened my door. The only reason that the Kgale Hill baboons venture into the housing areas is a desperate search for food. Although my nocturnal visitor likely would have found a veritable feast in my kitchen my compassionate nature doesn’t extend to food preparation or cleaning up after a baboon. Or at least I would prefer to much better attired when I welcome guests for dinner!


The un-saintly Saint

There must be mischief in the air this week. Or at least that is how I want to explain away the Saint’s slightly un-saintly behavior this week.

Need I remind you that this is a man whose time spent not driving is mostly spent in religious pursuits. This is also a man who when I first engaged him as my daily driver over seven months ago was the calmest, quietest and most respectful man who I think I have ever met. Oh how seven months of exposure changes a person.

During our seven months of friendship I have come to realize that Saint Buche is slightly impatient when it comes to traffic that is the direct result of bad drivers and their behavior. I have also discovered that he has a stubborn streak to rival mine…which is truly saying a lot. I actually didn’t think that it was possible to find anyone who was more doggedly determined and stubborn than me.

This week on two separate occasions the Saint and I engaged in a battle of wills and stubbornness that is truly laughable. While I can concede that my own personal Saint is quite determined to take care of me….something that I rarely allow anyone to do….he also takes significant pride in out doing my other protector, Lawrence. During the past couple of months, the Saint has been very cocky in deed in his belief that he reigns supreme as the #1 male figure in my life here in Gaborone. Admittedly, I have certainly fostered this friendly rivalry between these two formerly (before Miss Cheryl descended on Africa) quiet and very well behaved gentlemen.

I will also admit that anyone who saves an innocent animal like a kitten and gives it a loving home will always score high with me. And then there was the whole shampoo incident in Ghanzi which Lawrence will never live down. However, I can honestly say that as far as I am concerned these two men are absolutely on an equal par in my affections, kittens and shampoo aside 😉

As they both have done so much for me I genuinely attempt to return the favor when ever I can. In the Saint’s case, I am determined to help him grow his business and get more clients. I have become the go to person in Gaborone when ever anyone is looking for a taxi or personal driver. And if the Saint is not available, I have a list of at least five other drivers who can accommodate pick ups and drop off almost anytime day or night.

So, you might ask, how does this factor in to the Saint’s un-saintly behavior. Well, it seems that this particular Saint now feels like he is secure enough in our friendship to engage in battles of will with me. An act that few mortals like to engage in as I have been affectionately referred to by friends as the “Warrior Queen”. No one could ever call me faint hearted.

Ah, but a Saint is a different story. Twice this week, Mr Saint stood toe for toe with me and I have to admit that the first battle he won. No, I am not going to tell you what it was specifically about but let’s just say that it had to do with refusing to accept something. And, Mr. Saint proved that he could dig his heels in deeper than even I could ever imagine. No threats, cajoling or pouting could alter the outcome.

But the second incidence of the week brought a far better result for me. No doubt Mr. Saint was riding on the high of his victory earlier in the week so cockiness reigned. Ah, but this time I was strategically prepared not to lose another fight. Remember, I studied warfare and nuclear strategy many years ago as part of my Masters in International Relations. I am capable of both preemptive and first strike capabilities when deemed necessary.

What method did I employ to conquer the Saint? Well, because he is a Saint and reasonably well mannered when not teasing me, I threatened him with tactics that I have employed to great effect on Lawrence. It seems that the threat of kicking and punching in public made by someone who had already proven capable of employing such tactics was enough to bring concessions from the Saint. Ha! The sweet thrill of victory and triumph over the Saint.

Victory appears to be short lived, however, as yesterday the so-called Saint displayed typically unconventional behavior while transporting my friend Sheila and I. He spent the entire trip ordering me around and unmercifully teasing Sheila and I. This is behavior that he always reserves just for me and never displays in front of other clients. Oh how far the might can fall.

I will leave you all with the following quote from Sheila: “Wow, I can remember the first time I met Buche in January. He was so quiet and mild mannered. Is he ever different now!”

Let this be a lesson – even Saints can fall when they are exposed long enough to bad influences 🙂




Hup Orange!

Okay, I am one day late – but better late then never! All I can say is that I am glad that today is an official holiday in Botswana, Labour Day.

Yesterday living in the diplomatic enclave was a real experience……..

For those of you who have not been following the news, yesterday marked the hand over of royal authority from the Netherlands Queen Beatrix to her son, Prince (now King) Williem-Alexander. Of course living within the Botswana residence of the Netherlands Honorary Consul, the ever regal  Jetske meant a in-house celebration. Her home was open to Dutch nationals who wanted to watch the festivities live on a large screen.

By the time I joined the celebrations  in the afternoon, they had been well under way for many hours. The mood around this coronation is definitely very happy and jubilant. It was wonderful to watch the pride of the Dutch nationals and supporters gathered in Jetske’s living room. There were paper crowns, orange decorations and sashes along with traditional foods.

As I noted in early posts, Jetske and I had prepared for her reception last Saturday night the home made liquer, Advocaat which really is a lethally potent drink. Having gotten somewhat tipsy by just inhaling the fumes of brandy and vodka while whisking the concoction as it was cooking I should have been prepared for actually drinking it. Then watching grown and very tall men drink it last Saturday night all the while exclaiming how extremely potent it was should have been the additional warning to beware.

Jetkse and I had made three batches of Advocaat and ended up keeping one bottle as we felt it hadn’t turned out as well as the other later batches…we definitely got better at it after making the first batch. Of course, yesterday our bottle came out for the celebrations. The always impeccable hostess immediately prepared a glass of it for me when I first settled down in her living room to watch along with the others.

Advocaat is traditionally served in a glass (it is very like egg nog) topped with whipped cream. I now fully understand why you need the whipped cream on top of an already very sweet drink….it helps dilute the potent brew. Let’s just say that it took me some time to finish my glass and had several eyes watering moments. It truly is potent. The Honorary Consul kept noting how slow I was at consuming it. Eventually while still sitting upright my glass was done. An accomplishment that I am proud of. 

Once the living room had emptied out of visitors, Jetske decided that now she would have a glass as well. She had not indulged in it early when she poured my glass. So I was given a second glass of Advocaat and I knew that I was done for. After Jetske’s first taste she fully understood the potency of this batch. First we attempted to dilute it with ice cubes then she had the brilliant idea of getting out the ice cream and using it as a topping.

So for the first time in my life, yesterday I got totally drunk off of ice cream thanks to the coronation of the new Dutch King. Thank you King Williem- Alexander and Jetske. This picture Jetske took of me pretty much says it all:

Who says alcohol and ice cream don't mix?
Who says alcohol and ice cream don’t mix?

And note to self – never try to cook chicken curry when inebriated. I ended up opening a can of tomatoes instead of coconut milk by mistake….luckily Jetske was making a homemade soup that the can of tomatoes could go into….and my curry actually turned out delicious in the end.

But I am so thankful that today is a national Botswana holiday and not a Dutch one! I really need to recuperate!