Thursday, November 13, 2008

Zulu-Portuguese Christmas Land!

I've had a pretty random last few days. On Monday afternoon I went with a few of my friends to a shopping center and an area called Davenport that has a lot of cute shops and restaurants. We ended up going to one restaurant that had free internet because one of the girls needed to register for classes. Unfortunately, none of the waiters knew the code to get access to the internet, so we didn't really know what to do. We ended up staying there for a while talking to these random Portuguese men. We talked about politics in the U.S. and things to do in Durban. One of them thought we were crazy for taking the mini-bus taxis. Another one started telling this really elaborate story about how a long time ago, Portugal used to own Durban as its port until the British took over. He told us that "Natal" means "Christmas" in Portuguese and that the name of the province, KwaZulu-Natal (a hybrid of Zululand and Natal) effectively means "Zulu-Portuguese Christmas Land." It was pretty funny.

On Tuesday, I went to an internet cafe with my friend Daryl. I decided to check out a website about 2010 that I hadn't looked at in a while, mostly because of my computer being on the fritz, and I found out about this "2010 Roadshow" hosted by this tourism enterprise. I decided to find more info about it, and figured I might be able to catch it when it came to Durban (the post I saw was from last Friday in Cape Town, so I figured they would be gradually making their way East), and I found out from the schedule that they were actually in Durban that day! I basically ran back to my apartment and changed into the nicest clothes I had and got a cab down to this really fancy hotel by the beach. Unfortunately, the program had just ended when I got there, but the woman who ran the program was still there, so I got to talk to her for a bit. She gave me some really useful information and some pamphlets, and the contact numbers for the provincial team in KZN. It sounds like a really cool program. They're working to help small business owners, specifically craft-makers, reach bigger markets and buyers. They also help bed-and-breakfasts advertise so that they can compete on an international level. I've been trying to contact the man who heads up the KZN team, but I haven't had much luck. Maybe I'll try again today.

In yesterday's paper there was an article about a woman who calls herself "Mama 2010." She works at this tourism office that's right across from the new stadium, and she gives tours of it. My advisor, some other students, and I have decided to pay her a visit tomorrow and check out the new stadium. I think it should be a lot of fun because this woman sounds really interesting and eccentric! I'm excited! Yesterday, I also went exploring on Florida Road (a big restaurant/shopping road right next to the hostel) with one of my apartmentmates. She had seen this sign for what we thought was a Victorian-style bath house (based on the name), so we decided to check it out. Sadly, it was not a bath house, just a showroom for really fancy bathtubs...we had a pretty good laugh about it though. I'm not really sure what the rest of my day will hold, but I'm sure it will be interesting. Sala kahle!

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