Thursday, July 31, 2008

On the Rhode

The hardest part about getting this blog started was coming up with a title. Then, on Sunday when our power was out, I went for a trek. the town was fairly deserted as everyone was either in church or at home. On this trek, I went down a street I had been down several times.

This time, however, I actually took stock of its name: Anglo African. The rest was history, and now the blog is up.

I'm still not sure what form this blog is going to take, so bear with me in these first few weeks as I figure out the best means of delivery.

First off, I just want to thank all of you for helping me get here. The outpouring of support and the enthusiasm that everyone showed starting when this trip was just a pipe dream was overwhelming and touching.

The strangest thing about being here isn't the food, the school, the people, or anything like that. It's the sky. It's completely different. The stars are different at night and its exhilarating disorienting. To look up and see the southern cross instead of Orion and the Big Dipper and realize that I am literally on the other side of the world is a singular experience I will never forget. The other thing that slipped under my radar, and I didn't realize it until early this week, is that people walk on the other side of the street. I knew that cars did, but that's a little more obvious; I mean, there's lines. So, for the first two weeks I was literally bumping into everyone on the street.

This place is wild. On a weekday you can see, on one block, in one eyeshot, men in business suits, army officers with high tech weaponry, donkeys (yeah), and women with babies on their backs balancing crates on their heads. All that and a dazzling array of Dutch Euro fashion. Here are a couple pictures of some notable hot spots:

This is the Olde 65 pub. It's a Zimbabwe-owned place and is the location of some of the more heated, and truly mind expanding, political and cultural debates I've ever had. Oh, and they have drinks, too.

At Rhodes, you either live in Res (short for Residence Hall- they abbrev. everything here), which is on campus, or you live in digs, which are off-campus residences. This is the digs of a few South Africans and Zimbabweans I've become close to. It has been named, with absolutely no sarcasm whatsoever, The Monastery.

Here's what's growing out side my window (which has a wonderful view of the Chemistry department- I was coming out of the shower the other day and didn't realize that there was a full class that could have looked in if they so chose.)

I'm not sure how well that came out, but it's an orange tree that grows in our courtyard.

Alright, everyone, I'm going to call it. Expect posts at least a couple of times a week. And please, leave comments. If there's anything in particular you want to know about, I'll try to find out.

Soundtrack for this post:

Lil Wayne, Let the Beat Build

Nina Simone, Baltimore

Andre 3000, Hollywood Divorce

Talking Heads, Sugar on My Tongue

Joy Division, Love Will Tear us Apart


Rob said...

Awesome. I'm glad to see the Blog up and running. I assume the photos were taken with the new camera. They look great. I'd like to see more photos around town and around campus when you get time. Views down streets and across areas would be cool instead of straight at a building. That would give us a sense of the area. This blog is going to be fun. ---Rob

Rob said...

Now that I've figured out how to do this I have a few more questions.

Have you found any strange food items that you like? There must be some odd dishes or fruits or something there that you've never heard of. Is the town ever brimming with activity? All the photos I've found online are always devoid of humans. It's odd. I'm sure the people who live there go outside but they are never in the photos. Is there a Rush Hour or anything? In Google Earth there are hardly any cars on the road. Maybe there just aren’t many cars to drive. The town looks small enough to walk everywhere anyway.

More later...Love--Rob

Cal said...

Calvin - this is so cool. I can't wait to see more. Have some people take pictures of you in front of these places too. I'd love to see how you're looking these days. It would also be interesting to know what's being covered in your classes.

At first I was a little surprised by the plants growing in the courtyard. From this vantage point they looked a little ODD.

I know what you mean about walking on the left side of the street. It took me a few days in the UK to figure it out and was reminded of it when I was in Singapore this past week. By the way, I'm back home now.

And, as you probably heard, Manny was traded for Jason Bay of the Pirates in a 3 team deal that sent Manny to the West Coast Red Sox.

I can't wait to see more. Keep it up. --DAD

jfly said...

Yesterday, Rob and I were out in the middle of the bay when the wind died. It was a sudden, peaceful moment; I found myself thinking of you intently and singing along to the Talking Heads:
"Home is where I want to be
Pick me up and turn me round...
Feet on the ground
Head in the sky
It's ok I know nothing's wrong
It wasn't sad at all, but an exhilarating flash when I felt really connected to you and really, really proud that you are a young man not only seeking his place in this world but making a home whilst he does so.
Reading your blog this morning was the perfect accompaniment to yesterday's telepathy. THE BLOG ROCKS!!! I particularly enjoyed your sky narrative. Post pics of your room and friends when you can.
Love, Mom

ELWTG said...

Very cool bud! Isn't the sky over there so amazing? I'm so jealous that you saw the southern cross! I can't wait to hear more tales of your Africa moments. When you get a chance, take some pictures of your friends and your dorm room. Hey, have you had a chance to get out of the city yet? Have fun and don't do anything I wouldn't do. xxoo Ericka

Lise said...

Hi Calvin,
This is amazing, I can't wait to read more and see more. You are greatly missed. Tessa wants to know what the strangest food is that you've tried so far, any bugs? What is the teaching style like there? Is it similar to the US? Hey, we went to Niagara Falls and it brought back lots of memories from when we took you. Love you, stay safe!...Lise'

cwebb001 said...

Hey Calvin, WOW Your blog just makes me want to visit you more, I will work on Grandpa for that one. Pictures are great, would love to see some of you with your friends and out in your community. Car is fixed, you would never know that anything happened. I would love to see some pictures of where people shop for food and the different displays of food. Maybe they just have a plain old supermarket. Can't wait for more. Love Grandma

cwebb001 said...

GG here,that's Great Grandma from Ohio. I am so proud of my Great Grandson who is seeing the other side of the world. I would like to see some photo's of family life in Africa, also photos of you in your new environment.
Love you higher then the moon.
GG Peg

Pinch Hit said...

Hi Calvin, this is Patrick. Have you seen any rhinos or giraffes yet? Have you seen a cheetah? Can you take a picture of a rhino, a cheetah, and a giraffe for me? I lost another tooth since you left. Does the tooth fairy go to South Africa? What kind of money does she leave? We go on vacation on Saturday, and I am so excited. I love you. Write back soon. Love, Patrick.

Pinch Hit said...

Hey, Calvin, nice job on the blog. Any info and pictures you send will be great. I love your commentary and look forward to more. I'd love to hear more about your classes, your profs, classmates, and everyday life (even though it might sound boring to you, it's awesome for us to read.) Does it match with your expectations? What do you miss most? How's the Olympic experience watching with a bunch of non-Americans?

Check out the kids playing Pin The Tail On The Yankee on your Dad's YouTube site:

Take care. Can't wait for the next blog posting! Love, Karen

Rob said...

Hey Calvin, sure would love for a new update on the Blog. We're all just so curious about what your life is like there.

Feed us baby...feed us...

Love, Rob

Lise said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lise said...

Hi Calvin,
You Look fantastic. I'm sure you must go through a host of emotions after seeing how mis-managed the funds really are. I'm glad you're able to travel a bit while there, take advantage of every opportunity you can get your hands on. Tessa and I miss you greatly! Lots of love to you and stay safe!

Rob said...

Looking for the next installment. Have any good photos for us?

Love, Rob