I am sitting at a coffee shop with a delicate cup of subtly sweet cappuccino, accompanied with a red-colored 70% cocoa chocolate medallion and a petite stirring spoon. This cafe is in the middle of Hyde Park Shopping center, a mall which on the inside looks like it was scooped up from Kenwood, OH and plopped on the beautiful soil of South Africa. The difference – everything seems to be more intentional here. The food, the people, the work, even the weather all have an inviting touch that seems to be lacking in some parts of America. Don’t get me wrong, I love home and the people who make it just that, but South Africa has a humble pride that renders its locals eager to help when they hear our less-refined accents.
The weather is remarkable here. Humidity is practically non-existent. I know because my hair has the tight-spiral curls I once owned as a child. A daily mid-afternoon thunderstorm provides torrential downpour and lighting bolts all in the span of about 30 minutes. Nevertheless, the sunshine always manages to make its way through the tight cracks of the clouds, only to provide light air, and a beautiful sunset to top off the evening. As I mentioned earlier, the weather seems very intentional here. It rains just long and hard enough to provide nourishment to the plants that have a regimented consumption schedule. It goes as follows – sunshine, rain, massive storm, sunshine. If it rained in Ohio, you’d see the lingering aftermath of gloom and humidity for a couple days. Ew.
Our apartment felt like home the minute we walked in. There’s no A/C so we leave the windows open constantly, and I love it. The smell of the outside lingering indoors is probably one of the top-5 smells, in my opinion. The kitchen is TINY but there are no complaints here. I am embracing the fact that I have less counter, pots and pans, and utensils to clean. But wait, there’s a dishwasher (YAY) so the cleaning is pretty minimal.
I’ve temporarily adopted the role of June Clever while I’m here, and I’m completely embracing it. I’ve made 2 dinners so far, only with the spices of salt and pepper. They consisted of, 1) white wine and mushroom spin on chicken marsala served with roasted green beans, and 2) a porterhouse steak served with broccoli and Yukon gold mashed potatoes. They were pretty basic, but not lacking! Our dining out so far has been delectable! We stumbled upon a pizza restaurant (Piza e Vino) that served gourmet flat-breads with unique toppings like honey, danish feta, chicken, avocado, and roasted cherry tomatoes. Avocados are as common in restaurants as salt shakers on tables. They’re everywhere (glory be)!
Last night we went to Higher Grounds Restaurant (picture on right), a restaurant located on St. Stithian College campus in Randburg. The view was breathtaking. We indulged in escargot (snails served with a rich garlic butter sauce), and grilled calamari salads. The prices here are definitely something to write home about. Our entire meal including beers hovered right around $30 USD.
That covers most of it! I’ll write again when I’m able.