Friday, October 05, 2007

Turned around

I slept for a while this afternoon, kind of crashing at 1PM after a hot bath. Woke up at 2PM feeling much better so agreed to walk to the post office and grocery store. It was quite windy out and I thought the negative ions might do me some good. After mailing some letters and picking up stamps, Rob asked if I would mind walking to a music shop he had seen last week on our jaunt at that time, to check out what kind of recording gear would be available locally for setting up a studio for Rev. Mothetho. I said I was OK to do so. When we got closer, we could hear music and were pleasantly surprised to find a local band playing live to a crowd outside the shop. We listened for a few songs before squeezing through to get into the shop and actually do some shopping. When inside, the owner welcomed us and explained that the band was not supposed to have set up in such a way that they blocked the entrance. He had allowed them to play there as a promotion and was disappointed that they had actually prohibited business on that particular day, rather than attracting it. I understood his frustration. We'll have to check with him when we go back, see how he did after the band finished their set and packed up.

Interesting things that we noticed; none of the people watching the band were grooving, at all. I mean, there were 3 people dancing right in front of the band, sort of free form. But everyone else standing around, close to a hundred people, were doing just that – standing and watching. No bouncing or even head-bobbing and toe-tapping to the beat. And it was a rocking beat. I remembered that at the festival last weekend it had been the same way. People just watched, they didn't dance a little bit on the spot. I actually asked Portia about that, the non-dancing along thing. She said that it wasn't appropriate to dance along, that “you just have to watch what they are doing.” The proper form of expressing appreciation for their art is close, silent observance.

Now, one of the differences between the festival and what we saw today was applause. At the festival, there was a burst of applause from some of the observers. Today, not a clap. It was totally unexpected. As a musical artist myself, I would feel totally dissed if I was greeted with that kind of silence at the end of a piece and that lack of crowd-grooving during the piece. Yet, a respectful silence is apparently exactly the right way to appreciate art here. I don't know how they can stand it. It took every nerve I had just to keep from grooving; anyone who has seen me in the presence of a beat knows that. Kind of throws everything I've ever been taught about Africans and music solidly and directly out the window.

On the way home, we took a slightly different route. I knew that if we walked a block away from the main street, we'd hit St. Patrick so I suggested that we walk that way, follow St. Patrick back to the Village Mall and then go home as usual. The Village Mall is about a 5 minute walk from home. As we passed Choppies and made it to St. Patrick, Rob said, “Look; there's Nando's!” And it was. I turned around and was floored to see Nando's restaurant, our favorite chicken place. Galo mall was right there! We had found a new way to walk there, one that would chop off 5 minutes of walking each way. So, we actually could get more groceries and return on a more comfortable route. The road we walked there on a week or so ago was a main road; lots of traffic, very dusty, no sidewalk and very little shade. In contrast, St. Patrick is a lovely little side street that runs parallel to the main street for most of the walking that we need to do to get to Galo Mall. Not only that but the Sell advertiser office is on St. Patrick and I was able to grab the new edition on the way back. The Sell is a free weekly paper of classifieds. It's main draw for me is the weekly schedule for BTV, the national TV channel, the only channel I get. We also found an Anglican church on that road that meets Wednesdays at 5:30PM and Sundays at 8:30AM. Not sure what language the services are conducted in but I'd still like to check it out.

The Rodewalds had invited us to join them for their weekly football (i.e. soccer) game but we didn't really make it back to our place in time to get changed, eat and go play so we just stayed at home all evening, relaxed. besides, given my general ill feelings, I had probably better not push myself too hard right now. Maybe next week.

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