Apologies for neglecting the blog for such a long time. One of the wonderful luxuries of traveling is that it tends to leave sufficient dead time to reflect and write. The lack of free time has been my first clue that this is not the average “travel” experience. Between the responsibilities of class, Rotary, and consistent change in my living situation, life has been über busy. A few random thoughts:
After about a month of 10 hour days spent researching and typing papers, I have finished classes for the semester. Those classes represent 75% of my coursework for the degree. My paper for “Conflict in Africa” is about Zimbabwe’s intervention in the DRC. My topic for “Comparative Transitional Justice” is on the intersection of development and transitional justice. For “Political Ethics”, I wrote on the effects of neoliberalism on the spatial framework of African cities. With any luck, I might pass.
South African winter is pretty vicious. It’s not cold like Boston, but it is wet and windy and an enduring bone chill. Just as Boston is uncomfortably hot during the summer due to the general lack of air conditioning in any building, South African homes do not have heat. Instead, there is hot tea. I have never imbibed so much tea in my life.
Another peculiarity of living in South Africa is the prevalence of debit utilities as opposed to subscription. My phone runs on air time that I purchase from the grocery store each time I get low. The house I live in uses electricity credits that I refill in the same way. This puts the burden on the user to spend time and effort multiple times a year to stay ahead of the needle. It also creates some intractable and potentially humorous situations. My car is parked behind an electric security fence, which doubles as the pedestrian passageway. When we run out of electricity (which usually happens before we notice we’re getting low), we can’t get out of the house without climbing the security fence. As Murphy would have it, this usually happens when the stores are closed.
Adhering to a familiar pattern, I am once again homeless. To prepare the way for a road trip during my break from class, I moved out of my house in Observatory. It would appear that my accommodations have a shelf life of about two months. The record for living in the most areas of Cape Town is in my sights. For the second time in as many moves, a wonderfully generous friend (thanks, Anna) and her border collie took Sara and me into her home.