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National Gallery

Posted by on November 21, 2011

I was pretty exhausted after Friday so I decided to have a nice relaxing Saturday of bumming around. I started by grocery shopping so I could actually cook a meal in my new place. Shopping itself is much more convenient now since the shops are so close but the fact that no stores have change is driving me crazy! All I want is my 47 cents. I don’t want a credit slip that I will probably lose before I use it. I don’t want a stupid pen, candy, or soda. I will take airtime if you’ll let me. But mostly, I’d just like my 47 cents so I don’t feel like I’m being robbed every day.

After that hassle, I decided to go into town and check out the National Gallery. There’s only one art museum in all of Zimbabwe and it’s about 3 blocks from where I work. I don’t have time to go during the week though so this was my first opportunity. Admission is $1 so I knew I couldn’t be disappointed. And the museum is quite nice. It’s two floors with an outdoor space in the back. The special exhibit right now is about the building of Kariba dam in northern Zimbabwe during the 1960s. The dam provides electricity to most of Harare. It took six years to complete and was a big controversy at the time because it created a lake that buried some people’s home and some of the people who were relocated during that time still don’t have electricity in their households! Another exhibit featured art that was done shortly after Zimbabwe gained independence which was pretty cool and outside there are a bunch of stone carvings. The artists here are especially known for their stone carvings and they are very nice. They are mostly of people, birds or animals but there’s some abstract things as well. Even taking my time I was done with everything in about an hour and a half. It’s not a huge museum, but nicer that I thought.

I wanted to go to a travel agent and speak to them about Victoria Falls but every place I saw was closed on Saturday and Sunday. I guess I’ll have to go during a lunch hour sometime.

I wandered around town, wearing one of my new dresses since it was so hot. I attract a bit of attention in general here, just being white but I got more than usual today. Maybe it was the dress, but maybe it was just that there are more people out and about on the weekend. Mostly the guys just want to say hello and “how are you?” but one guy was quite persistent and I had to tell him to leave me alone. Luckily he went away after that.

One really has to pay attention when walking around the Harare streets: the sidewalks are busted up and there’s a lot of construction being done on the sewers and power lines under the streets. If you’re not careful you can easily trip and it’s much better to not have to visit the hospital.

A really interesting thing that I noted was that there are no strollers/baby carriages here. To carry a small child around, a woman (men don’t do this) bends over, balances her child on her back (baby’s front to her back) then wraps a normal bath towel around the child and ties it at her front. Then she has her hands free and the baby is secure. It doesn’t look comfortable at all for either mom or baby, but it’s cheap. I’m really impressed with the women carrying a baby on her back, one child by the hand and balancing some crazy big load on her head walking down the street. That’s talent!

I thought I would check out the fanciest hotel in town just to see what everyone raves about so I went to Mickels and wandered around a bit. They have air conditioning in their lounge so I enjoyed a glass of mango juice and some samosas and read “The Fellowship of the Ring” for an hour or so. It was so nice to cool off a bit. I’m more used to the heat now than when I first arrived, but 90 degrees is still hot!

I walked home in the afternoon for a bit of exercise and got a bit of a sun tan since I wasn’t wearing enough sunscreen.

And in the evening I made vegetarian chili for dinner which turned out quite well. It’s the first meal I’ve cooked here and I was very happy with the cooking implements in my new place. I treated myself to a movie (watched on my computer since there’s no TV or radio here) but I was so tired I fell asleep on the couch during the climax! I was watching “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” which I’ve seen dozens of times so it didn’t really matter.

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