Car hunting

The theme for this weekend was car hunting. On Saturday morning, though, I had signed up for a hike with a program called Youth Empowerment Programme, that pulls kids out of the townships in Khayelitsha and does various activities with them. This particular activity was hiking in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, and up Table Mountain a little bit. We were split up into groups, and it was pretty fun although as I knew from before these kids are quite shy and it takes longer than 3 hours to get them to open up a bit!

In the afternoon I went to check out a car (a Nissan) in Somerset West. My plan is to buy a car then sell it when I leave because car rentals here are quite expensive! After that I went to the Tallahassee Spur (for some reason all the Spurs have different American names – the one in Stellenbosch is Arizona Spur) for burgers and drinks with Deon. We met at one end of a very large mall and then I drove. He wanted to see my driving, and I did better than when I was driving Warric around and drove right through a red light … the lights are beside the intersections here which is not where my peripheral vision is used to them being, so if I’m distracted which I must have been, yeah it’s not good. Just another thing that gets easier with practice I suppose! Yes, so Deon reminds me quite a bit of myself a couple of years ago. For some reason we didn’t talk too much when I was here last year but we chatted online quite a bit. He is going to be writing exams for the next month or so, so I’m very glad I had a chance to see him before that as he’ll be quite busy now for a while.

I was also pleased to receive my first Afrikaans grammar lesson, which consisted of telling me how to construct the past tense, e.g. ek et gedrunk (I was drunk). I need to take lessons or something, so that I can have a working understanding of Afrikaans and Xhosa. Of course if I can’t even make that rolling r sound properly I can’t imagine I’ll be able to click properly! Well, we’ll just have to see.

Later in the evening we watched some rugby in the downstairs coffee shop/bar, and finally someone taught me how cricket works. Now I actually understand what a wicket is!

I went to bed quite early as my throat was feeling scratchy and as multiple people I’d been in contact with had recently been a bit sick I felt discretion was the better part of valor.

Sunday was a pretty crazy day weather-wise. It was pouring, then it cleared up, then the sun came out for a minute, then it was pouring again within minutes … gave a whole new meaning for me to the saying “if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.” Actually in mid-afternoon it was sunny for a good long while and we could see the mountain. That mountain is something else – it is absolutely massive. I wonder if that view ever gets old. I suspect it doesn’t.

Anyway I drove down to Diep River again to test drive a VW. This one really didn’t feel right to me. Cars have a feel, and this one wasn’t mine. In the afternoon, I drove up this time to Brackenfell in the northern suburbs to check an older Audi. This one reminds me quite a lot of my car back home (much older of course!), and is actually quite close in price to the Nissan. So, I think I’ll most likely be getting that one. I’ve always wanted an Audi, actually, so this is quite cool – almost like I’m leasing one for a while.

As I write this now on Sunday night Skyrove is down. Again. How 1998. Now it’s about time to make dinner which, this evening, is spaghetti & meatballs, and salad. It’s great to be able to cook here although the kitchen implements are a bit lacking … also, it just occurred to me that I don’t think I’ve seen ground turkey in the Pick’n’Pay. Maybe haven’t looked hard enough. I finally found parmesan cheese (which is insanely expensive!!) by looking in the fancy cheese section. Silly me, I assumed all cheese would be together. Once I get more organized (getting a car will be a huge weight off my shoulders) I’ll figure out how to get more meat of the grass-fed variety. But at this point, just being able to cook is a win. It’s amazing how much more expensive it is to eat out here relative to cooking at home, and this is before World Cup! For example, I bought a pack of 3 chicken legs for R35.13 (yes, that’s about $4.75). Now, to eat out I would say a meal of chicken breast and starch (they aren’t much for the veg in this country, generally) would be something like maybe R60.

It is interesting noting the little things that are different. For example, there are very few street lights here, for one thing. For another, the lane dividers are not painted with reflective paint, so staying in your lane at night can be quite difficult, especially if it’s raining! Moral of that story is, you have to be much more careful driving after dark!

All right, time to see if I can get the DSTV working and make dinner! I’m going to try and update this every other day or so, rather than once every two weeks.

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