Ben Oostdam's


November 18 to December 5

Part 3: November 20, 2008

much abbreviated and expurgated -
especially where original was illegible
Because of jet lag, I woke up at 03:40, tried to force myself to sleep more, but gave up at 04:55 and chose to watch some scary TV show. After that, I tried and gave up on the task to master the cell-phone/camera which Desre had loaned me. For one thing, I needed to use my NFB pocketmagnifier to decipher the printing. So I was glad to get up and sit outside near the pool, as early as 06:30, and enjoyed watching different types of early birds. At 08:00, I had an excellent bacon and egg breakfast prepared by Carel, who also helped me with the cell phone.
Before 09:00, I walked to the mini shopping center across the road, consisting of:
  • an "Engen" Service Station ("petrol" cost R 8/liter, where 1 Rand = US$ 0.10, and one liter = 0.26 U.S gal, so US$ 3.08/gal)
  • a butchershop specializing in biltong
  • "Vicky's" two hour dry cleaning and laundry service
  • "Chatters" Coffee Shop
  • Standard Bank + Autocash
  • "Seeff's" Property
  • "Hair and Beauty" Clinic
  • "Ora et Labora" (pray and work, or kust en werk) Slimming
  • finally, a medium sized "Seven Eleven" store.

    I decided to try and write down some of the prices to compare with those "back home" in Pennsylvania (done on Feb 24, 2009), and here is the list:
  • One avocado R 6.95 (US$ 0.69/per avocado compared to US$ 1.00 to 1.65 in PA, seasonally dependent)
  • Apples R 12.95/kg ( 1 kg=2.2lbs, so US$ 0.59/lb ... US$ 1.49 to 2.29
  • Grapefruit R 9.95/kg ( US$ 0.45/lb ... US$ 1.00 each
  • Onions R 4.25/kg ( US$ 0.19/lb ... US$ 0,80 to 1.15
  • Honey R 28.00/500g ( US$ 2.55/lb ... US$ 7.44 to 8.54 per quart
  • Peach Halves R 12.00/410g ( US$ 2.90/kg US$ 2.06/kg
  • Health Rusks R 22.40/5009 ( NA
  • Full Cream Milk R 10.00/liter ( 1 liter= 0.24 gals US$ 4.17/gal US$ 3.10 to 3.62 per gal
  • Fresh eggs, large R 9.50/6 ( US$ 0.16 each US$ 0.12 each
  • Classic Nescafe Instant (226 g) US$12.05/lb
  • Classic Nescafe R 57/200g ( US$ 12.95/LB
  • -do- R 37/100g ( US$ 16.50/LB US$11.980 (sic)/lb (large)
  • Sensodyne R 12/75ml ( US$ 16/liter US$ 5.09/113g = $ 45.04 per kg

    I also discovered that much of the firewood for the SA favorite "braaivleis" (cookouts, barbecues) comes from Namibia and is labeled as "vervaardig van indringerbos", or "prepared from invasive bush"
  • Namibian Hardwood R 22.95/4 kg (
  • NamChar R 28.95/5kg ( Best Namibian Hardwood Charcoal
  • Charka Braaibrikette R 28/3kg ( samengeperste houtskool = compressed charcoal)
    Alerted to the appearance of what might have been some price-control inspector writing in his little black notebook, the manager came up and asked if he could help me. I explained and introduced myself, and found out that his name was "Hermes" - so I sneaked a look at his heels. Why? Google it yourself, please. I have to move on to the next phase..

    At 09:00, Desre arrived on her scooter and we chatted with Carel and Mrs v.d. Merwe while waiting for Charles. When he arrived, he dropped us off at the Sanlam Shopping Centre at Parow, where I was going to rent a car from AVIS and go to my bank, NedBank. Unfortunateely, AVIS had moved to Voortrekker Road, so I went to Ms Karen Seboa, the lovely bank manager and she gave me a SA visa card. The next quick stop was at a R 15/hr Internet Cafe where I caught up on events at home. By 10:30 we had an orange juice at Wimpie's while Desre called Charles to pick us up again and take us to the new AVIS location. There the manageress remembered me from last Feb., and gave me a good deal for a month rental of a two-door, non AC Grn Co RS A car which they promised to deliver later that afternoon at my brother in law's Chris' house - where Charles dropped us off next.
    This was a sad occasion, because briefly after our Feb visit, his wife Sanny had died, another deprivation for the poor guy who is 55 and almost blind and very deaf. He seemed to be doing very well, and Desre prodded me to find out some things, like what had happened to Sanny's ashes? Chris was embarrassed to admit that he did not know what to do with them and had stored them in a cardboard box. Desre had attended to Sanny and told me to tell Chris that it had been her dying wish to have her ashes threwn at her birthplace, Montagu. We offered Chris to do that for him, and he was grateful for that.

  • Mercia welcomed by
    her brother Chris
    on Jan. 21, 2008

    Sanny Louw - our
    beloved sister in law
    in Parow on Jan.21, 2008

    Desre Canovi - fiancee
    of Jaque son of Chris and
    Sanny, Jan.22, 2008

    Ms Karen Saboa
    Mgr Parow Branch
    NedBank, 20080122

    By that time I was exhausted and took a nappy in "my" bed till 14:15, when I helped Chris installing a rubber swimming pool till the AVIS car arrived, at which time we all departed (with Sanny's ashes safely stowed away) and had to suffer my clumsy get-acquainted driving. Although Desre had no driver's license, she knew some of the tricks of this car which was the same model as her Mom's. We had to take Chris to the Liquor Store to stock up for the weekend, after which we did some of Desre's shopping on Voortrekker's Road, where we also had another steak at nice and cool Saratoga Spur. By 17:15 we were back at Tygerberg Villas and she left on her scooter to meet Jaques - we were to meet again at 10:00 tomorrow to go to Montagu. I had a nappy and a shower and promised myself a swim on another day, for now I just sat at the pool drinking a R 10 Amstel beer (not bad for someone who lived in Amstelveen for years...). a Philadelphia Panatella and a chump of old Amsterdam Cheese smuggled in from the USA... I took some picts and had a long chat with Carel in the Gentleman Bar, which was "invaded" by a pleasant colored woman engaged in medical services and not averse to a beer before going out on a date. I caught up on my journal and think I was sound asleep by 22:00 after what I consider a rather hectic day - for a retired gent. ;o]

    BLO fecit 20090217_24 - Contents of SA 2008-2 Journey