Venturing into “Sandton City”

Today I woke to the sounds of a child zipping across the courtyard on a scooter, wheels rattling like an uneven laundry cart. This went on for about an hour, which was for the best because it was 12:30pm, time for me to wake up. The sounds were of a father pushing his daughter on a low-rider tricycle and the son on his scooter. A very charming sight in this courtyard Villa Via apartment complex.

Some decisions I made today:

Rent a car from Avis for September 9 through October 7. I’ll be picking it up tomorrow and spend the day driving around Johannesburg. Not completely haphazardly, but with some semblance of plan to check out locations I may need to frequent. I’m not sure how adventurous I’m prepared to get on my second day. It may be a task just to acclimate to driving on the left hand side of the road. At least they have automatic cars!

Purchase a Samsung Galaxy Smartphone. Yesterday at Dulles airport I was on the phone with Verizon to unlock my HRC 2 Incredible for use in South Africa. They did some technical mumbo jumbo to unlock the phone for global use and assured me all I needed to do was insert a South African SIM card and enter the access code. This. Was. False. So at the airport Vodacom store, when the SIM card wouldn’t work in my HTC 2, I purchased a little Nokia phone. In Sandton City (Mall) I bought a Samsung Galaxy so that I could access my personal and work email while on the move and maybe even a Google map when I need it. Why deprive myself of the enabling technologies in life when I have the ability to access them? So now I own three phones: An American smartphone, a global smartphone, a global simple phone. I think this somehow makes me more a technologically equipped person. I can travel to any country now and have a device that works with a SIM card and some airtime minutes.

Check out Sandton City (Mall). I walked through Nelson Mandela Square and observed the following: Soccer match on a gigantic screen, people sitting on benches around the fountain, families taking photos in front of the monument of Nelson Mandela, people eating at restaurants with outdoor seating patios looking onto the courtyard. The towers are full of swank-tastic restaurants. The mall is gigantic and difficult to navigate on account of few and hidden information desks. I now have a hard copy of the map.

Some things I purchased today:

Groceries. Now I can eat! I’ve been subsisting off delicious left over dinner from my last night in Maryland. Ravioli, corn, brussel sprouts, and parsnips, cut with a bag of instant brown rice my sister insisted I pack. Good call, Sarah.

A comment on brands: I’m trying out a brand of tea called Five Roses, selected over Twinnings because a few women who picked it off the self looked like the type of people to think about their choices in tea. I bought my first Parmalat product, a brand I obviously have heard of but have never tried. Ceres is way cheaper here than in Montreal. I bought a lot juice.

Adapter. Now I can power more than one device at a time. I thought I packed a second adapter but no such luck.

Hair Implements. My sister very intelligently discouraged me from bringing a hair dryer and curling iron based on the logic that they take up room and can be purchased once in country without requiring power adapters. Very sound logic. However, I’ve discovered that all the electronic appliances – phones chargers, blow dryer, etc – have the thin double plug outlet features. This means I’m going to need yet more power adapters. As Merrill Garbus says in her song Bizniss, “What’s up with that? What’s up with that?”

Some things I forgot to purchase today:

GPS System – Bah! How am I supposed to explore the city tomorrow with no GPS system? I don’t think my Google Map on my phone is going to suffice. Perhaps my first visit of the day will be to go back to Sandton City and purchase a GPS system? Blurgle.

Ziploc bags. It’s cool though, I will daily clean my tupperware from the above mentioned dinner until I go back to Checkers to buy more groceries. However, if the GPS device purchase comes to pass, I suppose I could buy some food storage supplies. And maybe some more canned beans. Who doesn’t need more beans? I am determined to find black beans, which were not locatable in the canned vegetable section. For anyone who knows my eating habits, these must be located.

More power adapters. See above, “Hair Implements.”