13 October 2011

The day we went "American."

Last night, before bed, I did that thing where you set your alarm clock, then go to sleep.  But you don’t ever wake up the next morning because you never turned the alarm on.

Good thing Frances has an internal alarm clock.

We had planned to go to clinic today, but our supervisor wanted to take us to Kitwe to the Curio Shop.  Which sounded like a lot more fun!

We made our usual stop at the bank in Luanshya.  We also made the usual stop at the post office.  We went in both places, which is the first time we’ve been inside.

While waiting for the atm at the bank, a lady walked by with fruit on her head, just like the Chiquita banana lady.  I asked Henry how much a banana should cost, just so we don’t get ripped off.  Frances hands him the money, but he tells us Masungus can buy bananas too. 

So we did, and they were cheaper than Henry said they would be, so we bought 6.  We each had one, and we made Henry take our photo with our bananas.  We were SO excited to eat them, and they were well worth the wait.

When you think about it, most things in life are well worth the wait. 


We also stopped for windshield wiper blades for the bus, where Frances and I were left in the back seat to “guard the car.”  Not funny.  We were just talking when some dude walked up and banged on the window. 

Most people that walk up to the car are trying to sell us something, and I’m really good at saying, “no, thank you,” but this one wasn’t carrying anything.  He asked me the time.  I held up my wrist showing no watch but he was much more persistent than the people selling goods.

He asked again.

I look at Frances.  “Girl, just tell me what time it is so he’ll go away.”  I contemplated doing the thing where you pretend to be yelling while not actually making any noise so he would think we were unable to communicate and walk away.  But the front window was cracked and he didn’t look stupid. 

And our doors were unlocked.

The man, still persistent, walked over to Frances’ side of the car.  She locked her door.  Which makes more sense than me, just trying to hold my door closed.

She looks down at her watch, and finally determines the time is 10:40.

“My watch says 10:41.”  What?! Sir, if you knew the time, why did you keep asking us?!

Maybe because we’re Masungus?

Which is the equivalent to being the local celebrity.

I can only imagine him, telling his family tonight: “I saw some Masungus at the market, and they told me the time!”

The highlight of his day, for sure. 

Then went into Ndola to try to book a bus for Saturday.  Turns out, you can only book the bus one day in advance.  So we’ll have to travel back to Ndola on Friday.  Which we’re ok with, especially since we’ve been promised “real” Chinese food, not the kind they serve in America.  Which Frances is excited about, but I’m a little confused by.  I know that there are a bunch of Chinese people in the Copperbelt working in the copper mines, but I feel like there are just as many Chinese people in America, and if we don’t have legit Chinese food, I’m not sure what is.  And I don’t know why it would be in Zambia, and not America, since America seems to have so much more stuff in general.  And we have yet to see a Chinese person here.  But it will, at the very least, be an adventure. 

We took the road away from Ndola towards Kitwe.  It was maybe an hour away from home. 

We parked a mile away from the market.  We stopped for lunch at Divine Foods.  Which sounded like it would be fancy, but it was just fried chicken and coleslaw.  And “chips.”

The English kind of chips.

I was thankful we had stopped for lunch, because I really really had to potty.

Too bad Divine Foods didn’t have a potty.  And the potty at the market charged 1,000-5,000K to pee.  In the squatty stalls.  No. Thank. You.

We went to the curio shop.  It was full of all sorts of fabulous fun things.  But I was on a mission.  I really wanted to find my wedding party gifts here, in Africa.  I budgeted for what I wanted to spend for gifts for the girls before I left, and I wanted to use that money to support local craftsmen and women instead of corporate America. 

I drove some hard bargains, along with some help from my supervisor, and in the end I got some fabulous things!!  I spent quite a bit of money (I had a lot of people to buy for) but I know the sellers were just as excited as I was to have so much business!  I was really happy that parts of our wedding are impacting people on the other side of the world!!  I can’t wait until March when we get to use the things I found!  Get excited!

After the curio shop, we went into the market.  We didn’t go far because we were just looking for some chitengue material for Frances.  She has this idea to make a headboard out of framed fabric.  Which sounds cool, and is definitely her style.  It took quite some time for her to pick out material, but she was quite pleased with her purchase.

After curio shopping we headed towards SupaSave.  Another grocery store.  We’ve now grocery shopped at a different store each week: Pick and Pay, Shopright, and SupaSave.  This store had the best produce.  You always know which grocery stores in America have the best produce.  It also had tortilla chips.  And this fabulous caramel popcorn.  Which we got 10 bags of.  The number was our supervisor’s idea, not ours. 

There was a nice little restaurant next door named Mona Lisa.   Can you guess who’s picture was all over the wall?  We each got a Malawishani just so we could not feel guilty using the restroom.  They had nice pink toilet paper too.

[Frances and me with our Malawishanis]

[Henry, making fun of us, asking for his picture with his Malawishani in a high girly voice]

I’ve decided the way I judge “fanciness” of a restaurant is by the quality of their toilet paper.

We returned home from Kitwe.  I wish I had taken pictures today, but I wasn’t really in the mood to, so I’m just using all of Frances’s pics.

When we got home there were these really pretty white clouds in the sky above really dark black ones.  We took the storm stick with us and we were pretty successful at staying away from the rain.

But as soon as we got inside and started writing emails and blogs, it started thundering which means we can’t email or post anything.  Which is getting old.  But I guess it’s nice we even have internet.

I made guacamole with a huge avocado from the market.  It wasn’t quite ripe, but as I’ve been without any kind of Tex-Mex in 3.5 weeks, I was kinda desperate.  I mixed in tomatoes and onions, which are abundant here.  Avocados and lemons grow on trees in the compound, but they weren’t ripe at all, so we got them from the market.  We ate guacamole with tortilla chips.  Frances drank coke zero and I had peach sweet tea.

Totally American and totally fabulous.

Thank you, Lord, for the little things in life!

Off to bed.  It’s ante-natal clinic day tomorrow.  And I only have a few more chances to put my hands on a pregnant belly before I get to cheat with a sonogram.

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