Slowly -- very slowly -- settling in. Readjusting to the States. Everything sounds different -- the prevailing language is "American" and despite numerous dialects, there's a sameness to it, unlike all the variations in South Africa, where people shifted from English to Afrikaans mid-sentence, or spoke with the accent and cadence of one of the tribal languages. And since we're not in a hotel, the 'politeness' is gone, not that anyone is rude. Well, of course some people are, but it's not the norm. And just when I got the hang of which way to look when crossing streets, we're back where people drive on the right. Even walking is different--here, it's 'keep right' and the up escalators, etc., are all on the 'other' side. In traffic, I have to remember that the driver is sitting on the left again, not the right. I can get my usual brewed decaf again. Over there, it was always instant, so I switched to the local Rooibos tea (which I drink at home, too, but it's a standard offering there.) If you'd like to try some, leave a comment today and I'll pick someone and send them a sample.
Breakfast was similar to the Protea in
Our first stop was the ‘wholesale warehouse’ Allenby had been telling us to wait for. “Don’t buy all the stuff at the local marketplaces, I’m taking you to a warehouse where you can get the same stuff cheap, pay by credit card, and they’ll ship it.” Well, he was right about credit cards and shipping, but I regretted not buying more of the local stuff, because the prices were NOT low (maybe lower than places like the Waterfront stores in Cape Town), and there was so much other stuff I’d seen in the local markets that I wanted. We ended up stocking up on relatively cheap stuff for thank-you gifts, and a blown ostrich egg for us, which warranted having them ship most of the stuff back. Because it’s more than we can deal with since we’re not going home tomorrow, or even after the
Group consensus seemed to be that either Allenby or SmarTours had a good arrangement with the store. If nothing else, it does give us a modicum of confidence that we will see it in
From there, we did a history tour, going through the poverty stricken downtown areas, and on to the
We saw schools, street vendors selling live chickens and cutting hair (not the same ones, of course, but there seems to be a preponderance of hair styling venues everywhere we’ve toured. In fact, the mall by our hotel had four or five salons, and only one shoe store, unlike US malls.) The construction of the new stadium for the soccer team, the Orlando Pirates (yes, there’s a suburb of Soweto called Orlando—two actually—East and West). Where the Soweto riots broke out.