Thursday, 22 May 2008

John's great adventure: Chapter 5

I thought today I’d talk a bit about the country of Botswana. I haven’t seen a great deal of it as my day consists of being taken from my digs to the National Stadium at 7.45 and then taken back again in the evening. It gets dark early – 5.30pm as we are moving towards their winter, so there isn’t much chance to get out.

However, the journey to and from the centre is interesting. Gaborone is a typical city –lots of traffic, traffic jams, people walking. What is unusual is the large number of street traders at the side of the road. They set up anywhere selling all sorts of things, undercutting the legitimate traders.

Traffic is not exactly chaotic – they drive on the left, but you certainly need your wits about you with people cutting in quite often. Whilst you do see taxis much more popular is the 6-8 people carrier; these you see all over the place. Also very popular is what looks like a covered pickup.

I’ve learned my first few words of Setswan – the local dialect. It’s quite strange – the official language is English so all the posters, notices etc, etc are in English but they all gabble on the local lingo. They learn both languages at school, but Setswan is clearly preferred for conversation. I’m very impressed with my group who are able to present a lesson in English and they spent the afternoon getting their heads round the laws of bridge. Now that does impress me!

The language must have some basis but I don’t know what it is.

Dumela – hello, good morning
Kealeboga – thank you
Tsweetswee – please
Goskime – good bye

6.20 we have a power cut for an hour. Common occurrence I understand. And the one BBC TV channel has gone down.

Then we had another power cut for 30mins.

Met some of the ladies from the Ladies Bridge Club. I think it is largely ex-pats. They have promised me a good night out on Friday. And I think I’m being taken to the nearby game reserve on Saturday morning before I come home.

More news tomorrow…

Further information on my travels can be found here.

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