Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gaborone Game Reserve

We took a leisurely drive through Gaborone Game Reserve this past weekend.

All our friends who go on amazing (and $$$$) safaris scoff at the Gaborone Game Reserve, but for us, it was our first "real" game drive and first chance to see African wildlife in a natural setting. It is right here in the middle of town so no long drive with Nile to some remote location,  and the price was right (about US $5).

Of course, my camera died about 10 min. in, so I didn't get photos of the flock of ostrich, the Vervet monkeys or the ZEBRAS!!!! But I will next time, and trust me there will be a next time -- it was a fun little drive and so close to home. They also have picnic/bbq areas which looked like fun.



We saw a lot of families of warthogs. They are so ugly/adorable. I kept thinking of the little guy in the Lion King!

Is that an OSTRICH in the road?!

Next time I'll go back and bring the good camera -- and I'll make sure it's charged!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Meet the New Guy!

We have a new member of the family!

Two weekends ago we adopted a dog from the Botswana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

He joins Bolu, our toy poodle, and Ellie, our blind-in-one-eye cat, as a family pet. However, he also has a job: security alarm and personal intimidator.

You see, around here everyone has high walls, electric fences and remote-controlled iron gates. We have a stationary neighborhood security crew and our contract roaming security guards.

But we noticed that everyone has at least one big dog and one little dog. They bark if you get near the fence or ring the bell. The little one is noisy and the big one is scary.

Well, we had the noisy one. And we started to think that it would probably be good if we had a scary one, too. Or at least one with the intimidation factors of a bellowing bark and the size to match.

We went to the BSPCA and found our man. He looks like most local dogs here, a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix. He is about 5-7 years old and is the sweetest, calmest and gentlest dog I have ever owned. He does not jump up, he is not nervously excitable, he is careful around Nile and has no reaction to the cat.

He is just perfect for us and has finally settled in and lets out a bellowing bark if anyone gets near the fence. He is exactly what we were looking for! He seems used to the gate routine and doesn't try to go out when it opens.
The other night a delivery guy came to the gate and Neil walked out to it with me, holding onto the dog's collar just for the look. The guy whistled and said "You are bringing lions with you, too?!"

We still haven't named him, any suggestions?

I Was Getting Tired Of Those Moths ...

Some people have rats' nests, others have moths' nests. Look no further to finally rid yourself of those nasty winged pests!

We're running an "End of Moth Special"!

At the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency-esque named "Smart Lady Hair Salon." Because it's not so much about intelligence, but about looking smart (i.e. sharp, for those who don't speak British English)!


Whizzing down the highway to the farmer's market, Neil said, "Look, there are some baboons!" We had already passed them and I was like, "OH MY GOSH, TURN AROUND, TURN AROUND!" He did, and I was able to get some pics. CRAZY.

This was over by Kgale Hill, where I have heard they live, and where I have subsequently NOT wanted to go. Baboons scare me, and rightfully so, they are huge and aggressive.

But from afar, this little family was really cute -- a mom, dad and baby. They were waiting on the side of the road to cross, and when they had the all clear, they crossed, with the dad bringing up the rear.


You can just make out the baby's head above the grass as he rode on his mommy's back. Very sweet.

Bug Eyes

Random connection between two photos taken the same day.


The No. 1 Ladies' Opera House

Have you read the "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series by Alexander McCall Smith?

If not, I recommend it; it's a fun read (and HBO series if you prefer visuals!) and is based right here in Gaborone, Botswana. It will give you a good taste for the culture here.

We stopped by the No. 1 Ladies' Opera House for the farmers' market this past weekend. Some of our friends were selling homemade cilantro-mint salsa (awesome!!!), some other friends were selling pork chops to promote their "piggery" (pig farm), and other friends of ours had a booth selling their fine art photography. We mised Ms. Farmer this week, but she'll be there next time.


Nile would still be going up and down the stairs if I hadn't removed her. So cute the way babies look at other babies, too.

At the top of the stairs, the view of the stage. And some lovely young ladies sharing a bit of gossip.

I kind of enjoy how now, as a mom with a baby, I am "invisible" to high school through college age girls and can follow my baby up the stairs and into their conversation space without them stopping or moving on. Great and not so great from an anthropological perspective! I can't really engage in participant observation, but I can be accepted to watch safely from just outside the circle under the socially neutral guise of "mother with baby."
I like the cowhide pillows, a nice local touch. And the enamel tea kettle/cup/spoon chandelier!!!

This venue took me back to days of my childhood and youth, attending the Bluemont Fair. If you are in the D.C. area in September, I highly recommend you and your family and friends attend the fair.  It's a WONDERFUL hometown, family event, lots of handmade crafts, Civil War-era antiques, music, food, etc.
Mom, doesn't this make you think of looking out from the Community Center or the Store? This just really reminded me of that atmosphere. A taste of home on another continent.






Roads and Buildings in Gaborone

So this is what this place looks like.

Molepolole (MOH-lay-po-LOH-lay) Rd., looking toward the Gov't Enclave where some gov't offices and embassies are located.

This was yesterday, the cones are there because the road was closed apparently due to an oil spill on the overpass ...

We're going left anyway, (remember, we're driving on the "wrong" side of the road), where we approach the new "Central Business District," or CBD, an area with a lot of new office construction going up.

These buildings are right down from The Square office park (below). The Square has a Fego (South African chain) cafe in the open area, which has OK food, but not excellent.

The building and atmosphere are quite nice though, and across from it is a very nice shopping center with SquareMart grocery. SquareMart is owned by Muslims, so they don't sell alcohol or pork, among other things. Most everything is Halal.

Nile Coloring

April 10, 2011.

This was Nile's first time ever coloring.


Making Waffles

I made waffles in the "other" kitchen. Yes, our house has two kitchens. This one is in the guest wing of the house. See Mom -- and any other visitors -- we're READY for you!!!!

Our TV is in the adjacent guest wing living room, so we watched a movie on the couch while I cooked (and sampled!). The waffles were for a pot luck event the next day. Let me just say that Hungry Jack is right when they say to serve them fresh, they were kind of mealy the next day.

It was our first time breaking out the Belgian waffle maker that we got as a wedding gift from our friends Patrick and Kastle! Thanks, guys!!!! Even if it took us three years to finally use it, it's awesome!


Roses: Blossoms and Thorns

There are lots of things you could say about this.

My humble submission:

Do you see the rose for its beautiful blossom?


Or for the thorns below?

Really, I'm wondering. When it comes to an actual rose, I see the bloom. Neil sees the thorns. With metaphorical roses, I think we see things the other way around.

50 Cent

This guy works at TradeWorld. He saw Neil with our camera and asked him to take his picture. This pose was his choosing. I have noticed that most Batswana are very serious in pictures.

He said he goes by the name "50 Cent." He was very interested in getting a copy of this photo; I saw him on a subsequent trip to TradeWorld and he asked when I might bring by the photo ... I need to get this thing printed. I wonder how many photos of himself 50 Cent has.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mokolodi Backpackers

We went to our friend Hendrik's place, the local hostel he owns called Mokolodi Backpackers.

It's a beautiful place with all kinds of animals. I think Neil and I may just head out there for an overnight to get away and enjoy the peace and quiet outside of town!

Here is (L-R) Ted, Hendrik, Joanne. Also two of Hendrik's dogs and a gaggle/flock/? of Guinea fowl.

This hen had adopted a Guinea fowl chick. It was SO CUTE to see the little chick running along side the hen, and the hen act so protectively toward the baby chick.

Another chicken, this one quite tame.

These succulents were so pretty. And yes, that is a giraffe skull on the wall.


A lone bunny.

A Guinea fowl and a big, ugly pet pig! Hendrik has had to put sticker bushes around some of his flower beds because the pig digs huge holes searching for food, and will tear up the plantings.

This Will Make Your Skin Crawl


The seeds were growing inside the squash!

Chilli Mint Sauce

Very cute "Chilli [sic] Mint" sauce as seen at Mugg 'n' Bean, local cafe

Not sure if they're channeling a South African accent or Mexican ... but I thought the tagline at the end was so cute -- "made south of Mexico in Africa"


Nile was "reading" (and possibly pulling all her books off the shelf) in her room before we went out the other day. So precious.


Fabric Stores

There are a couple fabric stores here in town that I've visited. SISMO, near the Government Enclave on Nelson Mandela Ave., is supposedly a bit pricier than the other store that is near the Craft Market on Nakedi St.


I am no seamstress, but I LOVE all of the fabrics! I wish I were more creative and could do something with this stuff, it's great!

This stuff looks like it's for a sari? There is a large Indian population here.

This fabric reminds me of Hawaii!

This stuff looks like it's for ugly '80s style dress shirts?

I went to SISMO most recently with Nanny in tow to get her measurements and for her to pick out fabric for a tailor to make her some uniforms. I think it is a point of pride for domestic help to have proper uniforms with matching aprons, I certainly didn't insist on it. I can also see how it isn't fair for her to ruin her own clothes working in my house.

I saw the ladies below and with them in the background, pretended to take a picture of nanny, who laughed as she realized what I was doing. I asked her if these ladies were from Botswana, and she said no, she could tell by the way they were dressed and the way they talked that they were from Zambia. Interesting!


Another interesting thing was overhearing the way these ladies spoke to the employee who was helping them. They were joking in this deadpan way that I wouldn't necessarily have picked up on. The employee said, "just a second, I will help you" as she finished up with us. The younger Zambian said flatly, "no, you are not helping me. You are making me wait." The employee laughed and said, "I will help you Mma, do not worry" to which the Zambian replied, "You will not help me, you will help everyone else but me, you will make me wait." and they both laughed. It was a funny interchange once I realized it was a little banter between them.

At the "other" fabric store on Nakedi (isn't that a funny street name?), I was stopped in my tracks by these sewing machines. I was on my out of the store on my lunch break so I didn't ask why they were all sitting there in an array on a table, but I think they might be for sale! They had at least five of them. Are they authentic? They had tags on them that looked old and said Singer. The tags were actually cool, vintage looking, I should have taken a picture. I will go back some time and ask what the deal is, they look so cool!