Leg 7: Hanging out with the ZAR

The early morning brought us to the Entebbe airport, where even 4 hours of sleep was not enough to keep my mind from boggling at what I saw in the duty-free shop:

I know you can’t read those labels, so here’s an excerpt: “Smoking Kills,” “Smokers Die Younger,” “Smoking causes lung cancer,” “Smoking causes harm to you and those around you,” and “Smoking clogs the arteries and causes heart attacks and strokes.” I won’t cast the first stone at something stupid, but I have to reflect. How many levels of human insanity does this imply?

A short flight (you know you’ve been travelling too long when a flight that would take you from one side of your continent to the other seems “short”) took us to Johannesburg, South Africa. It is a testimony to how well-rested we were at the Mothers’ Union that we spent our last evening in Uganda in Nimarimbe Guest House’s internet cafe, looking up how to spend our 9-hour layover there. Here’s what we settled on:

Step 1: Rent a car.

Above you will see Jared in a brand spankin’ new VW golf, very retro and cool, but also very manual transmission. Oh and sitting on the hood? That’s the reason the shawl was so callously cast aside. You can’t see it much now, but wait until later. One more thing: notice anything usual about this car? Like… which side Jared’s sitting on? And the fact that the wheel is on that side?

Step 2: Make it to the general area of your destination downtown without pooping your pants.

Poor Jared. We both figured that he had enough on his plate just concentrating on not turning into oncoming traffic, so I had the job of navigating. Since google maps apparently can’t find directions in South Africa, that navigation was based on two sketchy printouts of the city at a fairly low zoom. The fact that, in my efforts to get us around the city center to our goal, I took us directly into the heart of the city and then didn’t let us turn around because “there must be a way we can just cut across,” wouldn’t be so bad if I hadn’t, more than once, screamed “NO DON’T TURN THAT WAY!” because I thought Jared was turning into oncoming traffic when in fact he was avoiding that eventuality very effectively.

Thanks be to God, we arrived in the correct neighborhood with clean drawers, and just happened to pull up to an award-winning pizza place with fancy and cheap food.

Step 3: Bury yourself in the nearest yarn store.

This neato place is called Arthur Bales, a combination fabric shop, yarn shop, and (get this!) tea shop. They had a very unusual way of displaying yarn – all in its original bags. It was surprisingly a very neat way to do it, and then of course you’re staring at so much of it that you can’t help but imagine what something very large would look like. They had a lot of Rowan (which I was still surprised at, since I didn’t know better) and a lot of “Elle,” a South African brand. I didn’t get any mohair (I’m not quite over my scars from a bad experience with 100 miles of fire-engine red mohair stockinette on size 5s), but we did manage quite a haul.

Here you see the new cami perched, rather jealously, on top of the pile. You’ll notice Opal, of course, whom you’ve already met.

After successfully limiting our purchases by the amount of South African rand (mysteriously abbreviated “zar”) in our pocket , our respective projects nuzzled cozily next to cups of rooibos. That’s Jared’s second hand warmer, by the way. He cast it on during the flight from Entebbe, with the goal of finishing it by the time we landed in MD.

Step 4: Find your way back before your flight leaves.

Isn’t it funny that in order to find a street with our name spelled our way, we have to go to the southern hemisphere? (By the way, I don’t know if the toilet water swirls the other way. I watched, but mostly the toilets just went FOOSH with a bunch of water going straight down. I didn’t see any swirling to speak of. Also, after we saw this sign, I proceeded to tell Jared to turn in the wrong direction.)

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