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Day of rest

Posted by on October 30, 2011

Since I went to bed so early I woke up at 5:30 and realized that it’s already quite light at that hour. After a bit of exercise and breakfast, Mr. Morales drove me around the neighborhood to show me where the nearest grocery stores are located.

I needed to go back to the Bronte Hotel because John forgot to give me his cell phone when he left but realized it in time to leave it at the front desk. John also put me in touch with another American doctor working in Harare and I told Jake via e-mail that I would call him in the morning. I wanted to see how long it took to get to the city center from where I’m staying so I decided to walk. I slathered on the sunscreen (it was already 80 degrees at 8:30 am) and set out.

Harare must have been a very beautiful city in its heyday but now it’s a bit rundown and dirty. Still, it’s cleaner than Nairobi, but not as nice as Cape Town. There are actually a lot of sidewalks along the bigger roads here, which is always a luxury in Africa. However, the roads have not been repaved or patched in many years and there are a lot of potholes so driving is a bit precarious. The major streets are lined with two rows of Jacaranda trees, which are in full bloom right now. The trees are very big so I imagine they were planted decades ago. There are also a lot of palm trees around and some bamboo as well as other deciduous trees. Harare is very flat, even those it’s situated at 4,000 feet, so walking and biking around is very easy.

45 minutes later I got to the Bronte. Google maps told me it was 3 miles, so it was a bit quicker than I thought. I picked up the cell phone from reception but when I tried to turn it on, I found out the battery was discharged. At the gate I saw a taxi driver, Rhodes, who had given us several rides before and I told him of my predicament. He let me put my SIM card into his phone to call but then I realized that John had not left me the pin code to unlock the phone!

Rhodes was really nice and let me call Jake using his phone and we arranged to meet at the hotel at 10:30. Rhodes offered to buy a new SIM card for me in case John didn’t get the code to me. I think I’m now obligated to call him for a few taxi rides. (On a side note, Rhodes has blue eyes which are extremely rare in black people and he told me that one of his daughters also has blue eyes. How crazy!)

I met up with Jake and we went to an upscale part of town called Avondale and got some lemonade and sandwiches. Not many shops are open on Sundays so I wasn’t able to get any postcards like I wanted to, but after eating we walked around the casual market (a typical African market where you bargain for everything) and hung out a bit.

Jake was meeting a professor in the afternoon so he had to get going but he was very nice and dropped me off at my place.

I had a cool drink and put down my stuff then walked to the grocery store to get some food. The stores are very similar to ones in the states but with a smaller selection and higher prices; I was very disappointed in the available fruits and vegetables and I’m very glad I brought some multi-vitamins with me. I think just about everything is imported and I was only able to find some broccoli and apples that looked okay. Maybe another day of the week is better for shopping. I spent nearly $30 on two small bags of food but at least I’ll be able to make some meals.

Even though I wore SPF 50 sunscreen, I was out in the sun long enough to get a bit of a tan today. I’ll have to be careful about reapplying.

In the afternoon I worked on my paper some more and then hung out and relaxed.

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