We went to our first soccer game yesterday, held at the University of Botswana stadium. There is a huge national stadium in the works, but it's not completed yet. Anyway, the game was between the Extension Gunners and the Serowe Miscellaneous (obviously the best name for a team ever). I think these are local teams from around Gaborone, though some teams in the league are from farther out.
A wore his new jersey of the Township Rollers, also known as Palastina, as in Palestine, for vague, not-all-that political reasons we don't really understand (they are tough?).
This resulted in tons of people getting excited and yelling "Rollers!" "Palastina!" when they saw him, which was really fun, until someone from their rival team gave him the finger.
As we approached the stadium, there were lots of people lined up selling penny candy, frozen bottled water, sausages cooked on tiny gas grills, etc. These little "tuck shops" pop up everywhere people go. A and I stood outside and put tons of sunscreen on, which fascinated and amused the ladies working the tuck shops. In general, though, it is not that weird to be white here, and in fact there are lots of people from all over the world that live here--Chinese, Indian, Russian, American, Canadian, South African, Israeli, etc. But we were the only white people at the game.
Tickets were about $4, and seating was open, though basically all views were blocked by a barbed wire fence. We sat on the shady side with the Serowe Miscellaneous fans, who wore red and white. The Extension Gunners fans wore black and white and occasionally very strange costumes, like the one man wearing a diaper and a skeleton mask, carrying a telephone and a sign that said "Note to Teenagers: This is not your mate." Indecipherable.
(Doesn't this photo look dramatic?) Anyway, the Gunners won, and it was quite a fun atmosphere, though people were about as drunk and annoying as people are at American sporting events. After the game, we got a ride to Pilane, the other apartments owned by Penn, and on the way I tried to take a photo of the sunset, which is amazing and hard to capture.
Don't look directly at it! Then we headed to Red Lantern, a Chinese restaurant that was recommended by a lot of people. P, A, and I are all fans of Lantern, a great pan-Asian restaurant in Carrboro, North Carolina. Red Lantern was a bit different--for example, there were lights shaped like fireworks outside that turned on and off. Ordering Chinese food from a menu that is not really in English via a Motswana waitress and trying to order only vegetarian food is quite challenging. But it worked out, mostly, and we had fried peanuts (aka peanuts--not sure what we were expecting), chinese pancake with egg and onion (my favorite), fried potatoes with chillis, and some tofu thing that I thought tasted suspiciously like beef and couldn't really enjoy as a result. Chinese food is hard to do vegetarian.
After Red Lantern, we made a brief appearance at the Gaborone Sun, a resort-type hotel, with casino, golf course, pool, restaurant, etc. Social life to some extent revolves around this bizarre place, but we like it because it's not all expats, and lots of local people hang out there, too. Anyway, the boys gambled while the girls hung around. Adam lost 100 pula (about $14) at the blackjack table. He is clearly developing a serious gambling problem. I about $2 in slot machines. Tonight we'll probably go to the Sun again for jazz and Indian food, a Sunday night tradition!