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Walking adventure

Posted by on November 27, 2011

I went for a nice long run this morning since I didn’t have much going on during the day. It was a great morning after the storm: not too hot or humid and with a bit of breeze. During my run I also tried to locate a specific grocery store, the Kensington Spar (it’s like a Safeway or Kroger) where I could purchase data for my portable internet modem. I found a store that I thought was right and remembered where it was.

After breakfast and a shower, I set off back to the shop to buy the data voucher. When I got there, I enquired about it and the girl at the cash register looked at me like I had two heads: she had no idea what I was talking about. So I asked, “Is this the Kensington Spar?” No, it was the Strobridge Spar.

“Okay, do you know where the Kensington Spar is?”

“No. You can go to Avondale and ask someone there.” Avondale is where I came from. That girl was useless, so I asked another. The response I got was:

“Yes, just get in a taxi and tell them you want to go to the Kensington Spar. They will take you.”

I didn’t bother to try to explain that I actually wanted to walk for the exercise because I knew that would be futile. I left the store and asked a woman in the parking lot. She gave me very specific directions: “Go down this road to the robots and turn left then go to the next set of robots and turn right. It will be right there.”

At least someone seemed to know what I was talking about so I set off. From looking at the map earlier her directions seemed sound so I followed them. After walking for 20 minutes and finding nothing, I asked an older guy walking down the street. He said, “It’s this way” [pointing in the way I had come]. To which I responded, “Isn’t that the Avondale shopping center?”

“Yes, but Avondale is here” [gestures vaguely with his left hand] “and Kensington is here” [gestures vaguely with his right hand]. I wasn’t going to trust some hand waving so I thanked him and continued on my way.

When it was obvious that the woman gave me bad directions, I asked someone else and was pointed back in the way I came. This guy was very specific so I followed his directions and finally found it. In reality the shop was only a 10 minute walk from my place, but with the wrong directions I spent nearly two hours trying to find it!

Luckily they had the data voucher that I needed and my long errand was successful. Later I looked on Google maps and found a sign for “Kensington shopping center” on it so from now on I’ll trust Google a bit more.

It rained some more in the afternoon so I spent some time reading and browsing the internet.

In the evening Jake came over and we went out for a drink at a bar/restaurant that neither of us had been to: Mekka. Mekka is in the Sam Levy village where all the Mickey Mouse cutouts are. They have now decorated all of the trees with Christmas lights, but it’s like a small child did it because all of the strings of lights are different and are just thrown on the trees in any fashion. Some lights blink while others do not; it’s quite the spectacle.

Mekka is on the second floor of the outdoor mall and from the outside you can see blue and red lights shining from within. I was expecting something with low lights and Eastern music, perhaps some chukkas based on the name. However, when we got in I was a bit surprised to see a very modern place with some high tables and chairs and low couches and a lot of open floor space. Then on the walls were pictures and carvings of Mayan Gods and sculptures. And they were playing 80s music! It was amazing.

They have a good selection of drinks, at reasonable prices (alcohol is quite cheap here) and they serve sushi! What a mix of things. Neither of us was very hungry, but we ordered a small sushi platter, just to see what it was like. We ordered the plate that contained: avo sashimi, veggie California roll and “fashion sandwiches”.

What is a fashion sandwich? It is a two bite sized piece that contains two layers of sushi rice around two layers of Nori (seaweed) with some avo or salmon in-between. The sushi wasn’t great but it was awful and actually the fashion sandwiches were the best part and we both wished we had just ordered more of those.

Perhaps the best part of the evening was the people watching. There was such a wide variety of people at the bar that it really blew me away. The rest of Sam Levy village contains almost exclusively white people, but Mekka had whites and blacks and a lot of Indians. Some people were dressed very nicely while others were more casual. A whole group of guys were dressed all in white and we imagined they were a cricket team. A lot of guys have mustaches and they look ridiculous. Overall it was a great evening of chatting and observing and three hours went by very quickly.

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