Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My Trip to Gaborone

I'm wishing now I would have taken my camera to Gaborone so that I might have taken a photo of one of the scariest things I have seen in my entire life. The Western Bypass is a highway skirting the centre of the city of Gaborone. Currently they have dug up one of the traffic circles along this highway. Apparently they want to do something quite spectacular in the way of engineering feats, but in the meanwhile they have created an area where people can get an inkling of how it feels to drive in a place where there are 1) No road rules, 2) Everyone is either angry or insane and 3) No speed limits. They've made this sort of super size traffic circle with really wide lanes that turns everyone into a Michael Schumaker on steroids without the use of indicators.

Every time I had to get into that circle my heart raced and sweat started pouring down my brow. I have a strange sense of direction in Gaborone where I know everything in relation to either the University of Botswana or the Western Bypass, so I was forever finding myself at the Circle from Hell. I think Gaborone residents and I are in absolute prefect agreement on one thing- I should stay in Mahalapye until construction is finished.

I love going to the cinema so I was very pleased to see two films while there. The first was District 9. I don't know if this movie is going to be distributed worldwide, but if you get a chance you must go and see it. I loved it! I thought it was clever and hilarious and touching. It is done like a documentary. It's about aliens which are living in District 9 in Johannesburg South Africa. The police unit is attempting to relocate them to what is basically a concentration camp but things go wrong. There is a fantastic analysis of District 9 and its echoing of the racism and forced removals of the apartheid years and the workings of racism in general here written by South African academic, Andries du Toit. Nigeria has apparently banned the movie because of the way that Nigerians are portrayed in it. I find banning a pretty useless way to engage with a discussion.

The other movie was The Taking of Pelham 123. It was okay because I like Denzel Washington and John Travolta but it was predictable. It was a bit of a letdown after District 9 but still going to the cinema is going to the cinema.

For the first film my husband and I were alone in the cinema. For the second film, there were a total of nine people in the air conditioned cinema. It's ridiculous. You would think they would lower the price of tickets so more people could go. A ticket was P33 (about 5+ US dollars). If they lowered the prices and filled the hall they'd certainly make more money.

After four days of running around I am now back home. Being away is nice, but being home is always nice too.


Helen Ginger said...

I laughed at your description of the traffic circle. We don't have many here in Texas, but the ones I've driven make me nuts. There was one in Spain once that I didn't know how to get off of. I circled several times before finding a way to work my way to the outside so I could exit.

Straight From Hel

bonita said...

Same here met my first traffic circle in Portugal AAARGH! Both District 9 and Pelham 123 have been here and gone. I have one friend who could not see that District 9 had a political statement to make!!! I agree in principle with your views of an empty theater but I must say that having few people in the theater is a blessing. People today (30 and younger) seem to forget that the movie theatre is not their living room and they talk and cavort all through the film. At $10 a pop that's really annoying.

Elizabeth Bradley said...

I hadn't been to the theatre in 10 years, but the other day my son suggested we go see "Where The Wild Things Are", his name is Max and it was one of his favorite books growing up. Two loud mouth bimbos sat right in front of us and they wouldn't stop gabbing through out he previews, but at least they shut up when the movie started.

It is nice to come home, isn't it?

Lauri said...

Helen- I always stay in the outer lane so I can escape. I don't know if this is right or wrong. I get a few shouts every now and then but I also always use my indicator (unlike most people) so that everyone know what I'm up to.

Bonita- In a way I was one of those jerks with District 9. We were lucky we were alone because I kept repeating things to my husband. Especially at the beginning which I thought was hilarious. I wonder how much of the beginning especially people who don't know South Africa would be able to understand.

Yes Elizabeth coming home is very nice. It was nice to see my doggs and the kitties- who have no learned to walk all over. My house is currently infested with cats!And I like it!

Simone said...

Next time don't forget your camera at home!