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House hunting

Posted by on November 18, 2011

I’m sure I spent a very busy day at work although now that it’s a few days later, I can’t really remember what I did all day. In the afternoon Salome went out to make copies of our consent forms and questionnaires and we spent a long time punching holes and stapling things together. It was lucky that we found a place that could do back-to-back copies actually because the first place we tired did it manually (copied one side then reinserted the paper upside down and copied the other side) and was very poor quality. I spent $48 on copies—it was over 1,000 pages total, but it still cost $1 for 25 pages. And they count each side as a separate page! And they can’t collate and staple. But that’s way cheaper than at the office where they charge 10 cents per page and you have to supply the paper. Again, things are way more expensive than they should be.

Jake had given me the phone number of a lady who might have a flat (apartment) available so I arranged to meet her after work. The place is right next to one of the big shopping centers in town and is really easy to get to from the city center. Instead of taking the normal combi, private citizens use their cars as informal combis and shuttle people from town to the Avondale shops for 50 cents (or 4 Rand), which is the same price as the combi. They still cram 4 people in the backseat to make it worth it, but its slightly more comfortable and much faster since there are fewer stops.

I met Vee at her apartment and she showed me around. The flat is very lovely: it is in a gated 4-plex with a beautiful yard that has some lawn furniture. Everything is well maintained and very nice. It’s a two bedroom flat, with a good sized kitchen and very nice bathroom. The living room and dining room share the same space but is very large and there’s even a small balcony (it’s on the second floor). Vee, the complex manager lives next door and the bottom two apartments are rented out to other people. There’s a maid that cleans and does laundry and a gardener that maintains the grounds.

And here’s the funny thing: the apartment is available because the owner is a sailor who set out on his boat with a friend to sail from Durban, South Africa to Australia. That was 8 months ago and they have not been heard from since!! The guy (who was older, having grown children) is now presumed dead but there’s no proof. Since Vee and he co-own the property it has been left to Vee to continue making payments and maintaining things. What an awkward situation!

It worked to my advantage though because the place is well maintained and I basically named my own price in rent. It’s by far the best place I’ve seen (more homey than Jake’s empty house and not as isolated and lonely as Mr. Morales’ place) so I agreed to move in. No one has lived here in a long time so they needed a few days to clean the house and uncover the furniture. I agreed to move in on Wednesday.

Vee is really nice and she offered to drop me off at Jake’s house if I could wait a few minutes while she finished some work. That was great for me so I went down the street to the grocery store and got things for dinner in the meantime.

After I was dropped off, I made butternut squash risotto for dinner and Jake made salad. We had a fine time eating and chatting. After dinner we went and picked up Mark, the education evaluator from Colorado, and went to this English pub in down town. The place was pretty empty—it was a Monday night—but we had a drink and chatted. I think Mark was quite glad to get away from his colleagues for a few hours since he has been with them 24/7 since they arrived. Since it was a work night we didn’t stay out too late but it was really good to get out and interact with others.

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