Monday, 18 November 2013

Visiting Gaborone for a Birthday Party

Welcome to Botswana
You might remember that a month ago I said I would write more about my recent lovely holiday to Gaborone and Harare.  I did a good job of that didn’t I?
Honestly where is the time going?  I mostly blame (because I can)  the fact that we  moved. Everything for the next  year or so that goes wrong or I don’t do will be blamed on The Move. In case you had not picked up on that already.....

In my last blog ( via my rather traumatic first sighting of the new airport) I mentioned that the Gaborone landscape had changed a bit. Well, the airport was just the beginning of the surprises. The day after I arrived I was driven about for a quick catch up on what the city had been up to in my absence. There, sat shimmering in the heat  of the CBD, was a clutch of tall buildings where previously there had been a sad, lonely, mocking ( or as it turned out rather promising) road network. Look at it now! All grown up and happening.

                               Nicked off the internet. Not my own footage by the way.
Office buildings. Hotels. Shopping centres full of coffee shops and other assorted opportunities for you to part with your hard earned cash. There are developments on the way to the airport, around the diamond sorting  business - I guess.  It was impressive to see so much growth. Generally, I love things that stay the same. I am not an early adopter of changes and ideas but I do understand that growth is important so I was heartened to see so many new shiny buildings. I felt that as long as the character of Gaborone remained intact (and there was water available) I could live with the new stuff. Especially as much of the new is better than what was there before and civically edifying to boot. But not too edifying as that would be very un-Gaborone like and make me nervous. Of course there  are places that remain unchanging. Comforting.

Sitting on Sharon and Shaun’s veranda watching the bird life flit about the Phakalane Golf Estate was not only relaxing but oh so pretty. There are pockets of pretty in Gaborone. I forgot how much I love having bird life about. How can one forget that? My heart sang sitting there listening to the bush twitch and tweet in the buzzing, shimmering, warmth of the desert. I saw Egyptian Geese, Starlings, Francolins, Weavers, louwreis, mouse birds, guinea fowl, doves and a gazillion different LBJ’s. Heaven I tell you, Heaven.

The other thing I forgot was how ridiculous the traffic gets in Gaborone at "rush hour" it really is quiet astonishing when one considers how small Gabs is. It has no bloody right to traffic jams.
I loved visiting Gaborone and seeing all the lovely, special people that live in this grubby little town. The people really make it.

The bonus of it being Sharon’s Birthday (and let us not forget - the reason for me being in Gaborone) was that she had a Birthday Party and that meant that at her party I could catch up with many old friends. Not only from Gaborone but from Harare and father afield. Sharon  and Shaun really know how to put together a bunch of people for a good knees up.
It's my party and I will sing to a water bottle if I want to!

We can dance if we want to and thow our inhibitions away.
I was too busy quaffing drinks to take pictures myself so I have borrowed these from Sharon's face book and tweaked them a bit. I wish I could show you the divine Gloria (Maa) Jacques (true to her ageless form) with her outlandish new pink streaked silver fox hair doooooo and her timeless collection of bold and beautiful rings. Brian Jacques her adoring husband was in fine form and looking better than I have seen him in years, clearly his new responsibilities at the University are doing him the world of good.

I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with Wayne Osterberg who seems to flit between living in Australia and Botswana. I can see the benefits of being in both places but oh my goodness how do you choose one over the other.  From now on Mr Osterberg will be "Wayne the Boomerang".
A lovely man, that  I did not know from a bar of soap, cleaned my specs! He just took them off the end of my nose and cleaned them. Always an appreciated if rarely offered service to someone such as myself. Somehow my glasses always seem to be smudged. I do the same thing to drinking glasses. How is it that I can always identify my glass by the greasy fingerprints prints all over it?  But I digress back to the peeps.I am reliably told (by Ange Stevenson in case you were wondering) that the old timer friends from Harare were given a stern warning by Sharon that they were to "Behave Themselves". Really what was she thinking?
I met people that I have only known  by reputation  via their relationship with Sharon.  I met the delightful (yet shy in a surprising way) Aldo Brincatt. Aldo (with Others) is putting on what I am sure will be a festive show at the end of the month. So if you are in Gaborone. Get down to the Theatre on the 30th November. 
I met the Charming Mirabel and her singing economist husband Nick who everyone I know in Gaborone talks about as if I should know them. It was almost a relief to finally be able to put faces to the peeps.
Old Friends with new friend!
All this catching up was done in-between imbibing large amounts of vodka, dancing about in an ungainly manner and falling on my bum  - as you do. Oh and making a small speech. Which, as I am sure the whole world knows, one should never do on an empty stomach with a few vodkas down ones gullet. 

Sober as a judge.
Live music was provided by the gorgeous members of SMS - So Much Soul.  
S.M.S fronted on this occasion by the Nick

The food looked totally delicious but I was so busy being a social butterfly that for once in my food centred life I did not get to eat anything till the very end of the evening were I sampled ( well scoffed down like a piggy wiggy) the deserts. YUMMY.

The Party was a roaring success.
I love the small townness of Gaborone. I loved that I could have a good old chin wag with everyone that lives there and  catch up on what they were up to. I am without a doubt a small town gal. I really don't mind everyone knowing my business  - as long as I know theirs! By the by.... it is about bloody time you organised a wedding Partick Marsay... I love the instant warmth that comes from a small community. It was great to be picked up at the airport by Steve Pezarro and begin jabbering at the poor man as if I had seen him yesterday. I am sure he was relieved to be able to drop  me off at the Berringtons  (hosts extraordinaire) so that I could then continue to jabber up a storm  in a catch up session with Lindy. The next morning (still jabbering) I was able to walk a few house down the road and spend time chatting around the breakfast  table as people came and went in the busy Pezzaro household. Casual and friendly and the company just delightful.  I talked sooooo much.

And there is never enough time is there? Maybe if I had planned the trip a bit more in advance I could have seen a few more people and maybe I would have thought to take a drive out to Mokolodi but I did not and it is not a train smash. There will be another time. It might take as many years to get me there again ( I hope not) but it will happen.

It was so special to see that people do not change. There may be the odd new wrinkle, or kilo lost or found. There were lovely children all grown up, but other than that people stay the same. It’s a good thing.
I felt loved and welcome and my  heart opened up and did a little happy dance. I drank too much, ate too much, and loved seeing special friends. I loved catching up with Gennai and Fred and dropping in unannounced on the Bay's family with poor Nick suffering a concussion and seeing their lovely girls so composed and just delightful.

I felt like I was given a little bit of a life rejuvenating elixir by just being there with special people. How many time can you say "Special People" before it gets tired? I got much needed advise from  a trusted wise friend -  thanks Nicola.  I was energised by the whole trip and had very mixed feelings getting on the plane to go to Harare. I was leaving Gaborone reluctantly, wanting more time there, but also excited about going home for the first time since Dad died.


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