Monday, December 26, 2005

Boxing Day

December 26, 2005 Another remnant of the British stronghold, they have Boxing Day, though it was funny that of all of the people I had asked, no one knew the significance of it. They were just thankful for another day off from work. Ashanti had a book exchange and so I left one I had read and picked up another that happened to be on my list. Then I found another called Black Water Sound and traded yet another for it. We had a quick breakfast of left over food in the fridge that we did not want to transport with us and then a couple of hours to kill before we were to leave Ashanti. When we did check out, we asked them to call a taxi for us. While we were waiting outside the nice black woman at reception came running out and said that we had overpaid one night and handed us the money. We could not figure out how it had happened, but thanked her nonetheless. When the taxi arrived, he did not know how to get to the place to where we were moving. Thankfully, he did not start the meter until he found it on the map. As we drove into the area, it was surrounded by lovely homes many in an Art Deco fashion. We were greeted by Don Pinnock, our new temporary landlord and then his wife Patricia. Don won me over immediately, by offering to carry our large suitcase in for us. Our little ‘self-catering’ apartment was what they call a granny flat, but Americans usually call a mother-in-law apartment. It was lovely!! With its own entrance from outside, the charm of the apartment was only outdone by the charm of our hosts. Their immediate warmth surrounded us like we were long lost well loved friends coming back for a reunion at last. Suddenly, the distance to downtown no longer held relevance. We had all we could possibly need. The whole apartment is done in an African theme that felt nurturing and cozy at the same time. There is a large bedroom with a double and single bed, a large wardrobe, an arm chair, and a dresser. The kitchen is equipped with a table and bench seating, a small all in one over with a broiler (we do not have a broiler in Hungary), and a two burner stove top. On the counter was a welcoming package of tea bags, cookies, sugar, and fresh milk in the fridge. There is a door from the kitchen to the main house, which can be locked from either side for privacy. The bathroom is large and has a tub and hand-held shower. However, we also had a private patio in the back with an outside shower. From the front yard and the street, there was a perfect close-up view of Table Mountain. Don insisted on giving us a ride around the neighborhood to orient us and we attempted graceful refusals, not wanting to impose. He won! In just a few blocks in one direction was a grocery store with a bank machine, convenient for doing our daily shopping, a laundromat service where you can leave your things to be washed, and a small restaurant called The Sidewalk Café. In the other direction, were a couple of other restaurants filling all of our immediate needs. He then took us up to the trail for hiking up Table Mountain, but advised caution. There is a band of seven men who have been robbing people at knife point in that area. A couple of them have been caught, but it has not deterred the rest. Since we wanted to get some daily supplies, he drove us back to the grocery and we walked back. Before going shopping, we stopped at The Sidewalk Café for breakfast. It was tranquil and relaxing. Our breakfast omelet’s and lattes came to about $6.00 total. Taking advantage of having a broiler, we bought a couple of T-bone steaks, pepper sauce, and some other needs. The rest of the day, we spent reading and writing both out on the patio and at the kitchen table. Don was house-sitting for a neighbor who happened to have a pool. He offered us the use of the pool. It was too cool for me, but Ron tried it out. He said the water was cold. We also heard the helicopters over head. There was another fire on Table Mountain. The wind had started up again and it was near gale force blowing away anything that was not heavily weighted, but there were exceptions to this too. They call this wind the Cape Doctor since it comes through every year and blows out the smog and pollution, cleaning the air. My face was burned on the Cape Point trip and has been peeling ever since. All of the tour guides recommend SPF 40 sunscreen lotion. It is expensive, but readily available. It is summer, but yet we were sleeping with down comforters.

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