The day started with the continuation of a major rain and wind storm that has been sweeping through our area. My walk to work this morning was in wind and rain, but my walk home today was in the middle of our first official winter storm in PEI.
While the very cute hat that I wore to work adequately protected my hair from being dripping wet this morning, it wasn’t up to the job of providing any warmth at all during my trudge home through snow covered streets with winds gusting to 100 km per hour and the icy cold snow blowing in my ears and eyes. Luckily there was zero traffic so I wasn’t in danger of being run over by a vehicle as the police have asked everyone to stay off of the roads as driving is too dangerous.
It is only the 4th of December and already this is the third snowfall that we have experienced so far this winter. I can only imagine what is in store for the coming months. All I can say is that Jetske has been reporting to me that temperatures have been soaring in Gaborone into the 40s while we have been experiencing windchill levels of -15 to -18 degrees on a regular basis. And now the snow storms have started in earnest knocking out power and closing offices, schools and other essential services.
I would happily take the 40 degree African heat (even with the five days without water) that Botswana offers over a winter storm Maritime style. Jetske, do you want to trade homes?
Thanks to my amazing friend Sheila, who is now running up Kgale Hill three times a week and participating in a Botswana Defense Force exercise program at the top of hill, I can now show the view from Kgale Hill.
I love Kgale and the surrounding hills. Since arriving at Peter’s Place one year ago and developing an immediate love for the beauty of the hills, the love affair has only grown. Kgale Hill stands as my own personal beacon showing me the way home no matter where in the city I am. And as you get closer to the hill it’s beauty changes throughout the day from the glow of early morning sunrise through sunset and the dark of night.
I hope that you enjoy these pictures of Kgale Hill and beyond.
Although it is very different from springtime in Canada you can definitely see the change in seasons. Many of the trees are dropping their dry dead leaves while others are bursting with blooms and blossoms. The orange tree outside of my apartment on my private terrace is now fully in bloom!
Every time I am outside and take in a deep breath, I can smell the surrounding citrus trees in blossom which is a heavenly scent to me. It actually reminds of being in Morocco during blossom time. While Gabs still has a way to go before it is the sensory overload that you experience in Morocco where all of your senses truly come alive, it is making me so happy to experience. It is nice that my final weeks in Gabs will be filled with things that make me happy and glad to be living here.
Every where you look are blossoms of varying bright colors of deep pink, purple, white and yellow. The other day when Buche was driving me downtown and we passed by some trees in full bloom in the center of the road I asked him what kind of trees were they? His response, he didn’t know. “They were foreign trees that don’t grow here”. Of course, I proceeded to argue with him that they were in fact growing here as I could physically see them with my eyes, ha! As the man with an answer for everything, he succinctly replied that “foreigners had planted them and they did not grow here naturally. As a foreigner I threatened to bring back a native tree from Canada to plant here too just so I could torment him about it.
But for now, I have given up trying to identify the different species of trees and shrubs in bloom…I have so little time left with Buche that I don’t want to spend it arguing over tree identification. I can think of much better things to disagree on 😉 I am focused on making sure that my final couple of weeks with him are not boring so if he crys when he takes me to the airport it will be from relief that I am finally gone, not from heartbreak as he is threatening me.
So spring has finally come to Gabs and with it beauty and warmer temperatures. I am happy to be out and about, breathing in the amazing scents (and even experiencing the stuffy nose that goes with it) and enjoying the eye candy of gorgeous blooms ever where I look. And enjoying the 30 degree temperatures before I head back to an equally beautiful Canadian fall and much cooler temperatures. I am truly blessed because I will get to experience both! How much better could life get than that?
For living in a totally land locked country and being a water lover, I seem to have the inordinate luck of spending lots of quality time along side of bodies of water here in Botswana.
Saturday was one of those days were I spent pretty much the whole day and evening at Gaborone’s waterfront. Although whether you can entirely describe it as a waterfront or not is open for debate.
A couple of weeks ago, Erin informed Sheila and I that there was going to be an African Market on the Gaborone waterfront. My initial response was great! but does Gaborone have a waterfront and where is it? Not even Buche had heard of an area in Gabs called the waterfront.
Being a professional taxi driver you would think that he would immediately know where it was and how to get there. After all makes a living driving confused foreigners around Gabs. In fact his rather dry reply to my query about the location of the waterfront netted this response from Buche, “you are always on the go, know everybody and find out about events and places I have never heard of”. Gee, thanks Buche! I think?
So with both my curiosity peaked and my competitive nature setting in so that I could discover exactly where the waterfront in question was before Buche, I set out to beat the Saint Buche in uncovering the location. Fortunately, my friend Erin made it painfully easy for me but gave me lots of opportunity to lord it over Buche 🙂 She was able to forward me this poster advertising the event which provide the exact location of our destination.
So having beat the Saint in figuring out the exact location I got very excited about visiting the waterfront and the African market. However there was a slight moment of trepidation following our conversation on Friday afternoon as the waterfront looked to be smack dab in the middle of “crazy” cow country. But after a moment rational thought took over and I felt confident that as a long resident on a dairy farm I could confidently handle a “crazy” cow if I needed to.
So bright and early Saturday morning Buche came to pick me up to deliver me to the Bojanala Water Front and the African market. Might I also add that he was also the recipient of homemade blueberry muffins which were suppose to be his family’s snack for Church on Sunday. Although later in the day when I saw him, I found out that the muffins had no chance of making it to church as all family members had rapidly consumed them. At least the Saint had actually shared them with his wife and daughter or he would have been in big trouble.
Now back to the waterfront….as we drove into the bush as Buche calls it…something that we do argue about. He defines the bush as no city lights or noise. I define the bush as remote, wild and full of wild animals, “crazy” cows don’t count 🙂
As we drove past Sanitas, the garden center and restaurant that I frequent as sense of excitement grew. I always loving discovering new places, especially ones on the water. However, I was slightly disappointed once I actually arrived. Just like it is pictured above the waterfront is simply a man made body of water that is so closely located to Riverwalk Mall as the crow flies you really can’t call it either bush or waterfront.
However the African Market was far from disappointing.
It was jammed packed with fantastic stalls featuring colourful African art, clothing, footwear, various and sundry other items. And of course, yummy food and produce. Better yet it was an enjoyable time spent with my girlfriends with everyone making at least one purchase. Do you like Sheila’s new shoes?
I am happy to admit that the kids weren’t the only ones dancing to the musical entertainment. Did you really think that I could hear great music and not shake my booty?
There was even a wonderful cultural display set up describing the initiation of young women in Southern African cultures.
Besides the great displays and stalls full of jewelry, art, pottery, and clothing, there was also yummy food and fresh produce for sale.
They were also hard at work preparing seswaa, a very popular traditional meat dish made for most special occasions. The stew is made by boiling meat with onion and pepper. It is cooked in a three-legged iron pot, simmered until soft. The meat stew is served over thick polenta or pap.
Oh, and not to be forgotten, evidence that the “crazy” cows had passed through
The lovely girl time continued after leaving the waterfront when we went to Sanitas for lunch. Erin and I concluded the day by going to the Gaborone Dam to watch the sunset and spend the evening dancing there outside under the stars. All in all a truly lovely day on by the water in Gabs.
The man never ceases to amaze me in many ways and when you have almost daily contact with someone for a year you really get to know them well….yet, he can still surprise me!
Today we were making our regular trip to Riverwalk Mall on a Friday afternoon. I like to spend a couple of hours at this mall every few weeks as it has three major grocery stores (Pick n Pay; Super Spar; and a Woolies). All which carry different items that I like. Plus the mall has my hairdresser, a fantastic book and magazine store and other great shops I occasionally visit. I also love having Buche take me there and pick me up as it gives me a chance to purchase heavy grocery items which I don’t have to lug across Death Highway’s four lanes of speeding traffic.
Like any trip with Buche and I, you can only wish to be a passenger in the back seat to enjoy the hilarious conversations that we have. Today proved once again that I really do need my own reality tv show and camera crew following me around. I am sure that I could hit ratings gold with my own show as I simply end up in situations and conversations that no one else ever seems to have the privilege of.
As we took our regular route to Riverwalk which is a back road shortcut which takes you through a non-developed area which is on the fringe of the Village of Tlokweng. As this land is comprised mostly of open spaces containing some grasslands and shrubs, it is a frequent hangout of cows, bulls, donkeys and goats all roaming free in search of grass to graze on.
I always love seeing the cows as the dairy princess in me refuses to die 😉 So today when we were about half way through that stretch of road, I noted that there weren’t any cows visible. Well, I couldn’t have triggered a funnier conversation….
Buche’s explanation for the missing cows was an amazing fact that I have not heard in my year here in Gaborone.
It is a natural part of life here in Gabs to have all manner of livestock wandering the streets, alleys and parking lots of downtown Gaborone. I frequently have to navigate through roaming livestock on my way home from Game City Mall while carrying groceries.
Due to this country being mostly desert and the lack of rainfall, livestock are regularly set free by their owners to roam and graze keeping themselves alive on what ever they can find to eat. This particular stretch of road and area is often a favorite grazing spot and it is not uncommon to see large herds of cattle on the side of the road or crossing nonchalantly in front of you.
With the distinct lack of presence of them today, Buche informed me that sometimes the cows act “crazy” and need to be rounded up by certain people in the nearby village of Tlokweng. Okay, first no matter how hard I tried to get him to explain what he meant by “crazy” I couldn’t get a clear explanation! I can only picture some cows drunk off of the many abandoned alcohol bottles littering the landscape across Gaborone after each weekend. Or perhaps, like me they are out dancing around kicking a cloud of dust with their dancing antics.
Clearly, he couldn’t be referring to mad cow disease…..,
So eventually I moved on from giggling and trying to get him to explain “crazy cows” to where do you actually take a crazy cow?
This was more easily explained. Apparently there are people in the village of Tlokweng ( a world all of its own I think) that actually fence in a small area and then go on the hunt for cattle who are roaming and acting “crazy”. Apparently the acting crazy bit is the key to all of this as somehow those cows are more of a nuisance and need to be taken off the streets. Are we talking cows or street kids here????
Once crazy cows are identified, they are walked to the enclosures where they are sized up for their beef content. Now this where Buche was very clear. While the rescuers (or thieves) of these cows are eyeing them up for a nice meal or two, their – up to this point inattentive owners – suddenly appear out of nowhere to claim them back. Apparently cow owners here in Gabs have psychic powers and know exactly when their cows have been kidnapped for being crazy! Okay, those are my words, not Buche’s. And would actually be fun to around when the face off over the ownership of the crazy cows take place 🙂
So there is your glimpse into just a tiny portion of my conversation with Buche today…you really need to plant a bug on us so you too can enjoy our wild and wacky but totally serious conversations too.
Well, I have done it again! And I really have achieved happiness
After swearing that I wasn’t going dancing this weekend, I went dancing Saturday night. And let’s just say that it was my second best night dancing here in Gaborone.
The afternoon started with a visit poolside with the Dingwa brothers, Lawrence & Lesley, and Chenai. The plan was concocted to attend the Alliance Française of Gaborone’s la Fête de la Musique, which was taking place that afternoon and evening at Botswanacraft.
The afternoon started with a visit poolside with the Dingwa brothers and Chenai. Once we had officially concocted our plans for attending the Fête de la Musique, I did a quick change into dancing outside suitable clothing. Our first stop was at Railpark Mall for Chenai to pick up jeans and top to wear as well.
Let me just say that shopping with the Dingwa brothers is certainly an experience. As one of those females that is does not enjoy shopping I tend to only hit the malls when I have a purpose/need to. However, as Lawrence always seems to manage with me, my perspective has changed. Lesley deserves credit too! Both of these brothers have impeccable style but don’t tell them I said so.
While waiting for Chenai as she browsed and tried on jeans, I alternated between dancing around the aisles with Lesley to the music playing overhead to them selecting items that they thought would suit me. Truthfully I haven’t had this much fun shopping in a long while. Other than being caught enthusiastically dancing between the racks in the Jet store no serious harm was done. And I had the delightful experience of being blinged out by the Dingwa brothers who chose and purchased a sparkly silver, feather and rhinestone necklace and silver bracelets to adorn me. Now I really was ready for a late afternoon and night of dancing!
But we had one more stop to make. Chenai needed to change into her new outfit so we made a quick pit stop in Block 9 at a fellow Zimbabwean’s house for her to change. And yet again, I left my distinctive trademark on the neighborhood. Our hosts were outside with great music playing on their car stereo. You guessed it, Cheryl just had to get the ball rolling with a dance pre-party. While that was not such a bad thing….the problem was that this house was situated at the end of the street in what would be considered an African cul-de-sac. Directly across from the yard that we were in were two Combi vehicles, their drivers and other men just hanging out. Guess who got a perfect view of the performance?
Once again I can only marvel at Lawrence’s continued commitment to be seen in public with me, let alone introducing me to his friends and families. Talk about a sucker for punishment.
But the night was just getting started. Off to Botswanacraft and the promise of 30 different musicians, bands and DJs awaited. Upon arrival we met by one of my favorite dance partner’s Richard (remember my dance fest at the wedding in Mochudi? https://cheryljdalziel.com/2013/04/11/my-saturday-in-mochudi/). Richard makes the perfect dance companion that is for sure! and he was about to earn a gold star for his efforts that night.
While la Fête de la Musique was great after several hours we were inspired to move on for more serious dancing leaving the crowd of hundreds behind for a more manageable dance floor. My hero Richard knew just the place, a little club near Broadhurst that truly delivered.
I can only say that my pursuit of happiness was answered a hundredfold. As Richard promised, the place was clean (even the toilets thank heavens!), the music was fantastic and a dance floor made for dancing. I was barely up the stairs when I burst onto the dance floor in full rocking mode – yes, the music was that good! Although I was the first person on the dance floor, I was by no means the only one. I was quickly joined by the other members of our gang.
What contributed to making this such a spectacular evening was the fact that I never once danced alone. In fact, I had the fun of multiple dance partners and let me tell you competition was fierce. What woman wouldn’t enjoy dancing with two or more handsome men at once. And dance I did. For an old white chick I held my own lasting on the dance floor as long as or longer than my dance partners who were mostly twenty and thirty year olds.
This night was also an epiphany for me. I will never again say that I am not a good dancer. My dance abilities have obviously improved vastly since my arrival in Botswana almost nine months ago. I am now confident that I can hold my own on the dance floor with my African friends. Several of my male dance partners complimented my dance abilities and coached me on new (and I might add sexy) dance moves. I was also complimented by several women who said they wanted to become my friend because I was so awesome. I also secretly enjoyed the moves of one woman in particular whose jealousy of me getting the attention of dancing with three or more young handsome men at once caused her to move in on our territory. Sadly for her she came up empty handed.
Never satisfied, I can’t wait to plan my next dance outing, which will have to include my usual dance companions Sheila and Erin, who sadly were not part of this weekend’s outing. Don’t worry ladies, there is more where that came from! The pursuit of dance happiness will never be completed but every moment is to be enjoyed!!! And now I know a good place to start the party…..
Today, I am grateful for a quiet Sunday in Peter’s Place, Gaborone. This is partly due to the need to rest up from a very busy adventure filled trip last weekend and an equally busy week upon my return. I also need the time to catch up on communicating far and wide.
Due to a week full of no or very little access to internet thanks to escalating power outages impacting the entire city of Gaborone, today will be a frantic attempt to catch up on writing blogs, emails and hopefully a successful skype call to my parents to wish my Dad, Happy Father’s Day. My attempt yesterday to communicate with my parents between the two long, long power outages was completely unsuccessful. By the way, if I can’t actually talk to you consider this my official “Happy Father’s Day”. I love you! and this maybe all you get from me.
Fortunately after being without power most of yesterday it has stayed on so far today. It is already past noon here now. With any luck it will remain on until at least 5:00 pm today before our traditional Sunday evening outage occurs so that I can call my Dad and be a good daughter.
Given the state of power and internet in Gaborone, if I don’t get my communications in today it may be another week before you hear from me again. At least as a seasoned East Coaster (Maritimer as we are called in Eastern Canada) I am well seasoned in surviving power outages in winter and tropical storm season making living here in Sub Sahara Africa a piece of cake. No worry about frost bite here at least!
So bear with me, please, when blog postings seem few and far between as my postings are in the hands of the electricity and internet Gods these days. Hopefully there will be moments like today where if I focus and avoid be a social butterfly I can catch up 🙂
This is my good deed for the month. I have been officially deemed the Tabuche Cabs Marketing Manager which means that I get a title, no salary and free rides to Tabuche Cabs marketing meetings. Oh, did I happen to mention that the owner Buche is one of my best friends here in Gaborone.
I am so happy that I have been able to assist him and his company. Now you know why he let me on the two way radio 🙂
It is my first time ever creating a website from scratch with no IT expertise doing the hard work for me. It is certainly not my area of expertise and is still a work in progress but we are finally ready to send it out in to the Universe for all to see. A big thanks to my friend Gillian who did come to my rescue a couple time and answered very panicked questions.
Please feel free to share this website with anyone! Who knows when they might end up in Gaborone, Botswana and need the best drivers in town. And make sure that you tell them that the Marketing Manager sent you!
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 🙂
If Buche doesn’t lock me out of the car this time, he is truly a Saint!
Obviously, I was in a mood today…given that I physically fought with Lawrence in the middle of the Spar grocery store just because he wanted to be a gentleman and carry my very heavy basket. My friend Linda emailed me to ask if there was video as she would have loved to seen Lawrence actually best me…he was still crowing at the office when I was leaving.
Perhaps that is what ramped me up to so unmercifully torment Buche on the drive home. The first few minutes were okay as I related how I had tried to beat up Lawrence in the Spar at the BBS mall. Buche was very amused but in his dry way asked why I simply didn’t just let Lawrence carry the basket for me….man is he sorry that he made that statement now!
As we were nearing our first set of traffic lights (robots as they are called here) there was a police woman in the middle of the intersection directing traffic. It is unusual for a traffic cop to still be at the particular intersection that late in the day. And this traffic officer is one that we know well. She was regularly at one particular traffic circle that we move through each morning. It is a regular joke between us as we try to guess if she is in good humour each morning or not. I might add that she appears to be in bad humour more often than not.
I have also started to joke that when she is in good humour it is because she has a boyfriend. We have even seen her talking on a cell phone a few times smiling and appearing rather in love. Then after the festive season she was no longer at this particular junction during our travels back and forth. I would tease Buche that she must have gotten married and moved. Although he was quick to point out a couple weeks later that he had encountered her at a different intersection just down from where I work. So we joked that the honeymoon was over. She was back to work.
What you also need to know is that Buche is not great at actually stopping at stop signs except Tlokweng 🙂 This morning we even had a discussion about that and he told me that the only time he ever fully stops at a stop sign is when he is in Tlokweng or South Africa. He also has a real knack of getting stopped at every intersection or traffic circle that is controlled by a traffic cop which really makes him grumble and me laugh.
With all that you will now understand why are I am so evil.
As we approached the intersection all of the cars ahead of us proceeded through but it was like as soon as she (the traffic cop) saw our particular car, up went her arm and we were ground to a halt. Buche grumbled, I crackled! He complained that he just didn’t understand why he was always halted. So evil Cheryl told him why…..
I told him that she was secretly attracted to him and just wanted to have him close. The more he tried to denied that could even be possible, the thicker I laid it on. I even told him that his wife better watch out or she was going to lose him to Ms. Traffic Cop! When he claimed that wasn’t possible, Evil Miss Cheryl promptly reminded him that his phone number was proudly displayed on his back window so he better be expecting a phone call 😉
I then continued the tormenting by telling him that in the morning, I was going to toss a love note out of his window when we were stopped for her to find….see, I told that I am truly evil.
How much do you want to bet that we take a different route to my office tomorrow morning! or the windows in the car won’t go down!