I arrived yesterday at 11am and was met by Sharon one of the embassy Cultural Affairs Staff members and an embassy driver, Joseph. Sharon is interesting in that she grew up in Swaziland, went to college in Indiana and has family in Mozambique.
The drive is about 53km. I don’t understand metrics so, ? We drove through the same beautiful country I remember falling in love with in 2014. Gorgeous, rolling green hills, river valleys..
We came to University of Swaziland (UNISWA) and my house. I realized why there were so few pictures. The pics were taken with a very kind eye. The good things: the place is much bigger than I thought with an outdoor courtyard and a back yard. They’d already installed my air conditioning units–and of course left the bill. It was cold last night, about 48. I’m enjoying the heat right now and am glad it’s here.
The bad is … the place needs a bit more work than I thought. There are quite a few maintenance issues. OK, this place is…uhm…going to be a challenge.
Sharon & the embassy driver took me to buy pre-paid electricity, buy a cell phone, household goods, and groceries–all learning exercises. Though I didn’t notice when I was here before in the tourist areas, the people here use British English. I should’ve studied vocabulary.
So after hours of going hard with no lunch, I was dropped off at 4pm with a bag of Nando’s chicken, spinach, rice, & toasted vegetables. It seemed like a full day hour ordeal.
My house hadn’t been occupied in a while, so after cleaning several layers of dust in the kitchen & the bathroom I punked out and requested the name of a housekeeper and a gardener. After all, I’m here to work, not clean. Right?
Internet is super scarce. I’m told it’ll take a full month to get service at my house…I’ve got to finish my summer semester grading somewhere soon. And I need to Skype my Hunny and Big Boy to find out about the tooth fairy.
Last year’s Fulbright sent his secretary and his driver to meet me today. The secretary Nozipho is a joy. The first thing she did was take me on a public bus into Manzini. That’s the first thing the embassy staff told me NOT to do. It was E6, about $0.45. Then we stayed out at dinner past dark. That was the second thing the embassy staff asked me not to do… But we took a taxi back for E80, about $7, and got back safely.
She was really helpful with power adapters, showing me the good shopping spots, opinions about pricing, translating, and all around cultural information.
There is NO lactose-free milk.
Cheese does not come pre-grated.
You must have your produce weighed and the bag sealed in the produce department or you will really annoy the cashier.
Pinotage is a red wine (and should not be refrigerated).
Hot chicken at Nando’s is like, on fire, not the same stuff as Nando’s in DC and there’s no beer to wash it down like in South Africa.