An overactive imagination and pastime of reading books and articles about crime in South Africa caused me and Sarah to become quite fearful of leaving our cosy home after dark and we were under the impression that, with the setting sun, a terror-filled world came alive. We were becoming our own personal wardens in the house (the bars on the doors and windows add that extra touch). Our first taste of East London at night was a lesson in how the mind can be a dangerous opponent to reality and humanity!
Jason, Sarah, and I were introduced to the world after dark with the help of someone we had met earlier that day at the university. The first two places were a little too swanky for me and I felt sufficiently out of place. For the third and final place, you had to walk under and behind the building into what looked like an abandoned warehouse. Inside, there were a few pool tables and a bar, but you could barely see anything for the smoke. I did however see almost all the eyeballs in the place turn around to stare at us and that’s about the time I was ready to call it a night! Everyone else seemed relatively calm and I tried to dance my way to relaxation (not one of my fortes at the best of times, let alone when I’m terrified).
My heart rate was finally slowing down, when two girls came up to us and demanded to know why we were there. Sarah, with her smooth talking ways, stammered, “We don’t know, we’re Canadian, and with that guy”. The mention of the word "Canada" caused the girls to start shrieking about how much they loved Canada and we both got giant bear hugs. I was totally relieved as my completely irrational suspicion and primal instincts had kicked in and (as Sarah continues to remind me), I whispered, “I thought we were going to be in girlfight and I was ready”.
This ending was much better and they even showed me a few (bizarre) dance moves and how to shake what my mama gave me. Sorry Mum, but I could have used a bit more. Don't think I will head back there by myself in the future, but a good night all in all.
Off to Mthatha tomorrow for the planning of the 6th Annual Rural Development Conference. We will be there until the beginning of October--Sarah and I will be staying in the one-room structure outside of Professor Bello and his family's home. Professor Bello is a Nigerian agricultural economist who is helping set up the Faculty of Agriculture and Rural Development. Sarah and I will be sharing their kitchen and other facilities with him, his wife, and their 5 children!
Stay tuned for the amazing photos and videos from our traditional Xhosa wedding last weekend!