December 24, Day 511
It’s Christmas Eve! And it’s time for me to leave my host family and move to Gaborone for a few nights before I fly to Cape Town, South Africa.
It was another sleepless night with the mosquitos eating me alive last night. Bina and I sleep in a bit and then I get up to find the family and greet them.
Eat some bread and have some coffee and find the kids watching TV in the living room. I see the Christmas tree branches need to be spread out and it’s also sitting like a stick in the corner of the room, just as Catherine’s Christmas tree was.
So, I put my coffee down and go to work. Didi and I watch Btv news and redecorate the tree. I take all the ornaments off and spread out the branches and put the lights and ornaments back on. Looks great!!
My adorable host family got this Christmas tree last year in anticipation of my visit and then we all went out and bought decorations together. They brought it out again this year, too.
Go to the bedroom and pack up my things. Mama tells me she has to drop someone from church off at their house, and then Ntate will take the car and give me a ride to the bus stop to go to Gabs. No problem.
Didi and I hang out and she does my hair for me. Finish packing my things and say goodbye to Spotty, the boys, my sister Bina and Mama.
Bina, Ntate and I get into the car and drive down the main road. There’s major traffic today and it’s at a standstill. Just then, I see a bus headed to Gabs approaching us on the road, but we’re on the other side of the road going the other direction and stuck in traffic. I wave my arms out the window and the bus pulls over to stop.
Get out of the car, grab my things and make a run for the bus. It’s one of those sprinters made for people who are not tall like me, so I take the seat in the back so my legs can go into the aisle and I don’t die from my knees grinding into the back of the seat.
There’s a very large man in front of me and I can see he is really squished into one of those chairs and is suffering from the knee-grinding situation. I feel you, buddy, I really do. If I ever find the short person who created the sprinter van and thought to themselves “Hey! I have a great idea! Let’s create a van with TONS of headroom, even though everyone will be sitting, and provide no leg room!” I will give this person a piece of my mind.
The bus ride is fairly uneventful, thankfully. A woman climbs on the bus around Mophane and asks me to move over so she can have my seat. I explain there is no way for my legs to fit as I am at least 10 inches taller than her, and she begrudgingly agrees.
Bus arrives at the bus ranki in Gabs and I notice the traffic is very bad today. Everyone must be preparing for Christmas. I find a taxi driver who says he’s from Mahalapye but won’t be going home for Christmas so he can work. I give him the address of where I’m going.
I got a sweet little Airbnb for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at only $20 a day. It claims to be near the bus stop for the one bus that goes to Johannesburg airport in South Africa; hence I plan to walk there at 5 am the day of my flight and don’t want to stay too far.
Arrive at the sweet lil Airbnb and it is indeed adorable. It’s a separate house on a compound of a woman named Boitumelo who owns a larger house next door. She shows me inside and it’s perfect.
I immediately put my things down and take a nice, long, hot shower.
Get dressed and decide to walk to the nearby mall to do some grocery shopping. It requires me to cross a very busy highway and hope I don’t get hit by fast cars, and then walk over a semi-sketchy bridge near the woods. This is a much longer walk to the bus stop than I anticipated, but I’ll survive.
Stop at Pick n Pay and get some vegetables, bread, magwinya and fruit for the next few days. As I’m standing in line I hear a loud American girl ask the man behind me where the liquor store is, but he doesn’t understand her question.
“No, there is no shop,” he says. There totally is one and I can tell he’s not sure what she’s asking.
I turn around, and open my big fat mouth even though she didn’t ask me.
“It’s right around the corner. Turn left, and you’ll see Liquorama on your left-hand side,” I say.
She looks at me, surprised, but says thank you.
Grab my groceries and walk back to the Airbnb. When I arrive, I see there is a cat and several kittens lying at the door to my house. I try to say hello, but they all scatter under a nearby car.
I immediately turn into a vegetable and turn on the air conditioning and watch Christmas movies. Talk to Colden for a while on video and we cook dinner together. It’s pasta with broccoli and garlic tonight and a nice glass of wine.
Talk late into the night, and fall asleep. I wake up to turn off the lights, and notice a large scorpion trying to run across the floor. Kill it.
Go back to bed.