Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Adventures in Polokwane

On Friday I had my first full day in Polokwane. We woke up and after a relaxing morning, we went to her school for their last day of the term. Because all the exams were over, it was only teachers at the school, and people were just finishing up grading. Abby gave me a tour of her school and though I saw many similarities between her school and my school in Onamutai, here school was definitely bigger and had slightly more resources. I met with some of her colleagues, and then they had a staff meeting. Abby and I could only smile as I got to experience a South African staff meeting, which bore remarkable similarity to the many staff meetings I had in Onamutai. In fact, if anyone remembers by previous blog post on the matter (Are We Really Talking About This?) the staff birthday issue was discussed here as well, with much of the same results. When the meeting was finished, we joined some of her colleagues at a local restaurant for a braii. I don't think it would be possible to overstate the amount of happiness I felt having my first Hunter's and boerwors in almost 3 years. Seriously, nothing could stop my grinning.

A gorgeous white tiger
The next morning we got up early and along with Abby's roommate Izora and her boyfriend Jacob that was also visiting, we drove out to a town called Tzaneen where we went on an interactive animal walk.
Not only did we get to see many animals, but we actually got to go inside the cages and pet them. We saw monkeys, a variety of cats, meerkats, an anteater-ish looking animal that was very cute, tigers, a leopard, and lions. Yes, I got to pet lions. Both adult lions and two adorable little cubs. Their fur is super thick and I definitely felt a kinship with them :p It was an amazing experience and I was so lucky to have gotten to do it.

Later that evening we had a party for the other of Abby's roommates, Lizzy, who was going to be going back to the US after three years as a PeaceCorps volunteer. A few other volunteers were there, (including one who had gone to Stonehill in the class below me--small world!) as well as many of their South African friends. We had a great time braiing into the night while playing Cards Against Humanity, arguing about American politics, and taking periodic dance break. I was really happy to see the nice group that Abby has found in her new home.

The next morning we piled back into a car with Izora and |Jacob, this time with all our luggage, for the drive back to Joberg. After dropping our stuff at the backpackers, we ventured down the street to the Main Street Market. Inside awaited a cornucopia of food stalls representing every type of food you could imagine. After taking a few laps to check it all out, our mouths watering the whole time, we finally let our stomachs do the talking and got some (read: way too much) food. Of course we saved room for gelato though!
After stuffing our faces, Abby and I walked around this cute little shopping center made out of old shipping containers. Most of the things in this area were too expensive for our liking, but it was fund to window shop. Later that evening we went to see a comedy show featuring a handful of local comics. I was a little unsure about going because I was tired, and wasn't sure how many of the jokes I would understand. I'm glad we went though, because the show was hilarious. Of course there were some things that went over our head, but we were falling out of our chairs laughing so hard for most of it. And of course we got picked on on fair amount, being some of the only white faces in a very small crowd. but it was all in good fun and we were laughing right along with everyone else. When it was over, we made our way back to the hostel to get a good night sleep for our big day the next day: Jame and Jam return to |Namibia!

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