Saturday, August 8, 2009

mama afrika!

Yesterday marked my one month mark in this country for those of you interested. It’s been interesting to say the least. Tonight was great so I’m going to talk about that.

So Amanda and I wanted to go out tonight. We weren’t sure what. We just knew that going to club all night long wasn’t exactly what we were looking for. So we did some searching. I found this amazing jazz club that in Camps Bay but that’s quite a distance from us and we decided against us. We also looked at going to see a play but nothing really jumped out as being interesting enough for us to rush out and see it (we were searching around 7 and plays usually start around 8). So we finally settled on this place that we’d pasted way back when we had an orientation dinner with Arcadia. The place: Mama Africa. It’s a restaurant and bar and has live African music so we decided it was perfect because it wasn’t far and didn’t require us to be dancing all night long if we didn’t want to. So we go. I call a cab and it’s Henry Africa! I don’t think I mentioned him before but he was our cab driver on our way back from Cavendish last weekend. He played the same two Cecil Dione songs so yeah he was ridiculous. But we randomly got him last night which just made this world seem a lot smaller. Anyway, I’m pretty sure he took us a long way because though I’m not an expert on this city, I know the general direction and he definitely turned when he could have continued going straight.

But we got there in one piece. Some of the drivers can be crazy but Henry was relatively slow actually. Mama Africa was packed. We thought we were going to have to stand which sucked because the music hadn’t even started when we got there, but luckily a bartender grabbed an extra seat and brought it to the bar so at least one of us got a seat. We ordered drinks and the best South African dessert I know of: malva pudding. It is so good. But of course the drinks came first and were way too strong for us. Both of us aren’t drinkers so that was difficult. I didn’t end up finishing my drink because after I went to bathroom I wasn’t sure if anything happened to it….better to be safe than sorry.

But back to the actual happenings in the bar, it was great fun. First off the music was amazing. Really chill at times and then suddenly it was speed up and make you wanna dance. Plus the singer was amazing. He literally seemed like two different singers because he was able to sing really high and then suddenly switch way down low. It was so strange hearing at first and to be honest, we never did get used to it. But it was very entertaining. The band even had a saxophone and trumpet which you know I loved. I am very sorry to say that the trumpet was much better at improv then the sax but it was still enjoyable. Highlights of the night included “Somewhere over the rainbow,” “Papa was a Rolling Stone” and “Is this Love” all with their own unique African twist. I loved it.

Not as far as the atmosphere went, it was really chill. Lots of people just having a good time. But as with most bars there were the creepers. Like the guy who was staring at me most of the night and even had the nerve to take out his phone and take a picture, more than once. That was awful but I tired my best to ignore him but it was hard just noticing out of the corner of your eye noticing this guy not taking your eyes off you. Very creepy. At one point he disappeared because there were finally people blocking his view but then he pops up out of nowhere and starts talking to Amanda asking why I hadn’t come over. I’m sorry but that’s not my job. I don’t know maybe that’s how it works over here. I really wanted to go over there and tell him to stop but I don’t know if that would have just started trouble. Anyway, nothing happened there. He never actually started talking to me it was just really awkward.

Then the most hilarious thing happened to Amanda. This older woman comes up to her and asks her if she could bring her friend over. Amanda thinks: why not? So this guy comes over and is definitely at least 40 which cracked me up. Yeah older guys are fine but that old? No thank you. He tried to convince her to go back and sit with the rest of his older friends and we’re just like: no thank you. So the guy leaves after the repeated no’s and this woman sitting next to us tells us that the woman who brought over the guy hires prostitutes at which point I die laughing. What a crazy night! Now I’m not sure if she was just joking or if she even actually knew but either way it cracked me up.

I also had another admirer but he wasn’t nearly as creepy as the first guy. Well, I’m not sure. He did blow me a kiss which made me question what exactly was going on in this bar. But he didn’t stare as much or maybe I just didn’t notice and at least he actually came up and talked to us. He sent his friend over first, whose name I can’t remember but he chatted us up. Made us feel bad for turning him and his friend but it was all in good fun and we actually had a decent conversation about politics. He just talked about how America is rich enough to start trouble somewhere else and then leave, while other countries are struggling to deal with the trouble inside their borders. He wanted us to give him our numbers to hang out again and wasn’t too thrilled when we were reluctant. We ended up leaving after agreeing that if we can back today (yesterday it was tomorrow) then we’d hang. Yeah, I don’t think that’ll be happening. But he did intrigued me by talking about this new South African film that had just came out though I’m not sure if he was making it up.

So that was last night. The morning was also good. I woke up surprisingly early like around 9:30am and had some granola. It’s like my crack. I’m so addicted. Then I walked to 2way travel, a travel agency on UCT’s campus and booked an overnight homestay for next weekend. I’m excited it should be good. Then I walked back and saw a baboon. It was crazy. I had heard the other students talking about seeing baboons on their campus but to see one for yourself was a trip. This cyclist came up to me and started saying something in other language and when I said: what. He just asked if I was scared and said no, I just wasn’t going to bother it. it probably couldn’t have anyway because it was fenced in. I was perfectly safe walking on the road passing it by.

Once I got back I went straight to Hillcrest to the fourth grade teacher. I helped a few students with reading. The first girl was named Valentina and she was really sweet. She’s from Anglo and struggles a lot with reading. It wasn’t too bad at first but it got bad when we got to the word “unlimited.” I tried the whole breaking up the word into different parts and using rhyming words but she still didn’t get it. We finally made some head way by going one letter at a time and it was awesome that by the end I could point to the word and she would know it. I also think she liked me because she wanted me to walk with her back to the classroom.

I helped another boy who really only struggled with a few words and then another boy who was fine expect for one word, I can’t recall which. I felt bad because I had wasted so much time in the morning that I didn’t get there until around 11:30 and class let out at noon because it was a Friday. So I was disappointed that I couldn’t help more but was glad to at least make even a small difference.

After the bell rang, I saw some of the kids from aftercare. I said hi and told them had a nice weekend, to which they replied: you’re leaving?!?!? I said yes and then asked if they wanted me to stay; they shouted: yeah! So I suckered into playing with them for an hour. Running around with them was exhausting. But I counted it as my exercise because I definitely sweated while running around playing tag with them. When it got to be about one, I decided it was time to go, said goodbye to Mama Esta and made my getaway.

Back home, I had lunch another tuna melt. Delicious. And then decided to check out the Mowbray library. It was so small. Just one level and very few books. There were four computers but you had to have a library card to use them and getting one required proof of residency which I of course didn’t have. The guy at the front desk said that I could get it from my landlord. I’m not sure if it’s worth the hassle because you can only use the computer for 45 minutes/day. But it is free internet and close by so we’ll see.

I didn’t stay long because I discovered that there were no books of interest for the papers I was going to write and my computer battery was low and there was no place to plug it in. Unfortunately they didn’t have free wireless at the library so I just started doing some work to my computer before I decided that it wasn’t really worth it and left. It is very quiet so I might use it as a quiet reading place.

Next I went to the pharmacy to see if they had malaria pills. After searching around the store, I finally asked and told to ask the pharmacist. So I waited in line asked the woman at the front desk who told me to sit and wait so more. Almost as soon as I sit down, exhaustion hits me like a bus. Those kids killed me. I was completely wiped out and had to struggle to keep my eyes open. Eventually the pharmacist joined me and told me I get some pills for about $10 with little side affect or pay seven times that for basically the same thing. Needless the say, I got the cheap kind. Hopefully that doesn’t come back to haunt me.

I love cooking. Can I just say that? I love it. It makes me think of my grandmother. She was a great cook. Maybe one day I can be just as good. I just like it because when I cook I think of her. I actually do that with a lot of things like one of the main reasons I drink tea is because my granddad drank it. No coffee, but tea, you can a little sugar and it’s just fine. Plus I don’t like being dependent on caffeine and you can get decaf tea. The roobios tea here is decaf and delicious. Another thing I do to remember those now gone is watch Monk. It was Aunt Winona’s favourite show and I just started watching it because her and I’m definitely addicted. That show is hilarious.

But back to now, I guess I really have not much more to say besides the fact that I made rice again. This time I think it turned out better and I made green beans. I basically just mixed up rice, green beans and some chicken I’d cooked a couple days before. ‘twas tasty. Ok that’s all about yesterday. It wasn’t really in order but you get the idea.

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