Thursday, December 29, 2005

Shirt Shopping Madness

Shirt Shopping Madness The year is winding down and fading into the sunset. It has been 13 days since we left Budapest. It hardly seems that long, which is a good sign that we are enjoying ourselves and our time here. We were going to call a Rikki to go to town and go book shopping for Don and Patricia’s books, but Patricia was going out and offered us a ride to the Gardens Shopping Center. Ron is still hunting for the perfect shirt to wear to his sister’s wedding. He looked in all of the stores in the mall, but could not find what he wanted. Actually, he did find one shirt in one store, but it was all linen and cost $100.00 US. Nope!!! We went to the bookstore and bought a few of Patricia’s books. I wanted to get them then and there, so I was responsible for carrying them in my back pack. We did not get any of Don’s on this trip since they are so much heavier. We walked to the museum “The Slave Lodge” where they had a special exhibit on special people and hands. People from all over the world were chosen based on their humanitarian achievements. There is a video of each person speaking about equality and freedom, and then they have their hands molded. It was powerful, but on the other hand, it took over the museum. The usual slave exhibits were replaced by this special exhibit with the exception of one room and a movie. It was still worthwhile and touching. The entrance fee was only 10 Rand each. We went from one used bookstore to another looking to see if we could find any of Don’s books. We came up empty handed. From the downtown, we walked to the Malay Muslim area where they paint their houses in bright colors. For lunch, we stopped at a little pasta place run by blacks. The sauces were great. We continued to hunt for books, but we were detoured into the Pan African Market with the idea of getting something for Daphnee’s birthday, but we don’t carry a lot of cash. At the top of the second floor, a young woman pleadingly asked us to “step into my shop”, which is literally impossible since it is open space. I did to make her happy and fulfill a social contract, but had no intention of buying a thing. She calmly showed me things that I had no interest in, but asked if it came in other colors just to make her feel like we were both trying. She sweetly said “It does not cost anything to look.” This pulled on my heart strings and I thought of her sitting here day after day with so much competition. What finally caught my eye were the carved ostrich eggs. I looked for one with buffalo on it since I knew Daphnee had a thing for buffalo some years back. She had one. Then I found another with giraffes on it and set that aside for Balazs. Without intending to look further, I spotted a bracelet that Daphnee many like and then one for Tracey, as well as a necklace. We were already collecting more than we had cash for, so I asked if she could take Visa, expecting a negative answer. She was able to through the consortium of merchants, so we had to go to the market office. We followed her to the office as she kept turning back to make sure we were following and not fleeing down the stairs. They would charge her 5% (47 Rand) for the service fee on the credit card, so I told her I would pay it. She was so thrilled with the sale; she thanked us a million times. I asked if I could take her picture and again she was overcome with a happiness expressed through a huge smile and a nod of agreement. The Malay area was interesting when we passed it on the Hop On and Off bus, so we took a walk over there to look at the buildings. The houses are different colors, because they did not have have numbers. They could give directions to their home, by the color of it. We went to the Irish pub for a beer at Ron’s suggestion, while we called a Rikki and waited to go home. Ron fixed leftovers and we watched the end of the Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood on television. The wind was still gusting. A side note: In the supermarket, jam also comes in cans as well as jars. Strange for us to see.

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