January 5, Day 523
Nope, not ready to go back to my village still. I wake up and still feel exhausted from being sick.
Pick up the phone and call the hotel and ask to stay another night.
Go back to sleep.
Wake up around 9 am and hop in the shower. Man, hot water on demand is an irreplaceable luxury!
Get dressed, head downstairs to the restaurant to have breakfast.
I get a cup of coffee and some eggs and a croissant. I love hot sauce on my eggs and usually every restaurant in Botswana has Tabasco sauce (note: a company in Louisiana makes Tabasco and they definitely have a FANTASTIC supply chain that I can find it in the most remote places in the world readily available. Pepsi should take note!) EXCEPT for this restaurant. I assume perhaps they don’t have it because mostly foreigners eat here and they assume we don’t like hot sauce.
I get up and walk to the room where the wait staff prepares things because I can see a bottle of my favorite green Tabasco sauce sitting on the shelf.
Just as I walk into the room, a man stops me. He’s fairly young and has a big smile on his face.
“Dumela, Mma, can I help you?”
“Oh! I was just going to grab that hot sauce right there, the Tabasco,” I say.
“I will bring it to your table,” he says.
Okay, cool. I walk back to my table and wait.
What is going on?
I wait some more.
About 45 minutes passes. What is going on? I’M LITERALLY STARING AT THE FREAKIN HOT SAUCE and I can’t go get it.
I walk back over to the room again to go get the hot sauce and a woman stops me this time.
“Dumela, Mma, can I help you?”
“Yes I was just going to grab that hot sauce right there. The green Tabasco,” I say.
“Okay I will have your waiter bring it to you,” she says.
“Well, a man before said he would bring it about 45 minutes ago. I really just want to take the bottle if that’s okay. I don’t mind waiting but I assume perhaps the waiter is busy so I can just take it, I don’t want to be an inconvenience,” I say.
“45 minutes???” She says, surprised. I see her turn around and go to look for the waiter.
WHY WON’T THEY LET ME JUST TAKE THE BOTTLE?
I’m a pushy person. I know I am. But this is probably why I prefer situations where I can serve myself and not wait on anyone.
I wait for her to find him and he comes back, apologizing profusely.
“I’m so sorry! I didn’t realize you needed it now now,” he says, and reaches over to hand me the bottle of Tabasco.
“No worries, thank you for your help.”
Put the hot sauce on my eggs, they’re delicious.
Walk back upstairs and clean up a bit. Cathie mentioned yesterday that the house she is dog sitting at has a nice pool and invited me over to hang out at the pool today. That sounds like fun!
I text Cathie and she tells me to come on over, and to bring my laundry. This house has a rare washing machine and dryer. We have struck gold!!
I decide to walk over to the house. It’s only about two miles from where I’m staying and it will save me money not to have to take a combi or taxi to her house.
Pack up all my clothes that need to be washed and grab my swimsuit. Man, I feel SO MUCH better today than I did in the past week.
I go downstairs and begin walking to Cathie’s house. I get about half a mile away and realize my backpack feels really light.
CRAP. I forgot all my laundry back at the hotel.
Walk back to the hotel and get my laundry and swimsuit and turn around to walk again.
The house is located in a cute little neighborhood of houses. Every house has a concrete wall, electric gate and barbed wire around the top of the wall.
I find the neighborhood I’m looking for and see a little path leading from the busy road, between two houses and into the neighborhood. I see a hen and her little chicks sitting by the path.
I love how I can be in a big city like Gaborone and still see cattle and chickens wandering around as a reminder that farm life is never too far away.
In Botswana, we don’t use house numbers to define your house, we use plot numbers. In many villages, plot numbers aren’t visible and aren’t necessary for any reason. In fact, when you receive mail it goes to the post office to your P.O. Box, not delivered to your house the way it is in the US. I look on the map for the plot number of Cathie’s house and see it is somewhere nearby.
The difficult part is that the plot numbers don’t go in order in this neighborhood.
I wander around, aware that I am a white woman alone carrying a big bag and I look vulnerable to everyone walking by. People stare.
I keep walking around the neighborhood and can’t find her house. So, I call her and she verbally instructs me where to go and stands by the gate waving so I can see it.
Bingo! Found her.
Wowwwwwww this house is SO nice!
A golden retriever puppy named Tango greets me at the door and is flipping out she’s so happy. I give her a little head rub and tell her she’s a good girl.
We change into our suits and decide to go for a swim. Tango loves to swim, too, but the problem is that whenever she sees someone in the pool she assumes the person is drowning and jumps in to save you and puts her paws around your neck. In reality, that could actually drown someone but Tango is cute so it’s okay.
The pool is in the backyard underneath the mango trees by a patio. How glorious!
Cathie and I go swimming and take turns being almost drowned by Tango.
Get out of the pool and I take a shower and finish my laundry. Cathie and I decide to go to dinner, but first stop at my hotel room to drop off my freshly cleaned clothing.
We grab my things and walk out to the busy road in hopes of finding a 5 pula taxi to take me to Masa. Bingo! We find a taxi and hop in.
Arrive at my hotel about 4 minutes later. In the cab, I tell Cathie about the nightmare with the blood in the bathroom yesterday and we have a laugh.
Drop of my stuff in my hotel room. Cathie hasn’t seen a room in Masa before so she comes up to see the room and then we walk to the restaurant. There’s a new place that just opened down the street called Primi that all the volunteers are raving about.
As we roll up to the restaurant I realize that it’s kind of fancy and I’m definitely underdressed. Oh well! It looks pretty awesome. It’s not often you find a sit down restaurant with waitress service and a full menu!
We choose a booth by the balcony and we order a glass of champagne. The waitress asks for our orders, and I request the pasta carbonara.
“Are you sure you want to order that? I wouldn’t recommend it,” the waitress says. Instead, she suggests I get vegetable pasta, so I change my order. Cathie orders her dinner.
Eat dinner, relax.
Afterwards, Cathie and I start to walk to my hotel so she can grab a taxi back to her house. We decide it’s easier to get a taxi from a hotel than on the side of the road, as most drivers on the street may try to overcharge her.
Just then, a taxi pulls up next to us.
“Ladies! Where to?” the driver asks.
“Dumela, Rra,” Cathie says to the driver, indicating that she knows Setswana and isn’t a tourist.
Cathie tells him where she is headed and asks how much.
“I will take you there for 50 pula,” the driver says.
“Ha! Rra, you are not supposed to charge more than 25 pula. And we found a 5 pula taxi earlier today!” she says.
“Well it’s nighttime, and it’s far,” he replies.
“Rra, it’s less than 2 kilometers away. I will not pay more than 25 pula. We will walk to Masa and get a taxi there and they won’t charge us more than 25.”
We begin to walk away.
Why are taking taxis always a fight?
“okay, okay! Fine! Get in!” the driver says.
“For 25 pula?” Cathie asks.
“Get in!” he replies.
“No, I need you to confirm it will be 25 pula”
“Yes, 25 pula,” the driver finally relents.
She hops in the cab and drives away. I finish walking to Masa and when I arrive I decide it’s still early yet. I finally feel great!
Take the elevator to the rooftop and sit by the pool and have a glass of wine and enjoy the view.
It has been a good day.