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Monday, 18 April 2011

Temple of mammon

Took a trip to Pietermaritzburg on Saturday the 16th of April. Once a month the Italian Leprechaun go to the big city for a treat. Pietermaritzburg is the capital of KwaZuluNatal province.

On ramp to the N3 highway which is about 500 meters from my cottage.

A view of the N3 toll road through the rolling hills of the KZN midlands, looking south east. Toll fee for the 100 kilometer trip to Pietermaritzburg, R32 about $5, Time to cover the distance at +- 120km per hour, 50 minutes. The highway stretches north from here for about 400km to Johannesburg. About 190km south east from here lies the port city of Durban, Africa's largest port. This highway is one of SA's main export and import routes. Usually this highway is crowded with huge trucks, this photo was taken on a Sunday morning. Long stretches of the highway, through especially steep places, has three lanes on each side, rather than two as seen here. The wide centre median leaves lots of room for widening the highway later.

Our destination Liberty Midlands Mall, entrance 2 of the temple of mammon, here materialism is worshiped The mall is built on the site of an old brick works. Five or six entrances to this mall, it is a baby mall compared to some of the mega malls which can be found in the big cities of SA.

Watching people at the mall and listening to conversations I get the idea that shopping has become entertainment, no longer something done out of necessity. If you're bored go to the mall and entertain yourself with some shopping. Kids getting underfoot at home during the holidays or over the weekend. Give them some money and dump them at the mall.

A town or city's reputation depends on the size of the mall, or how many you have! There's talk of a mini mall being built in Estcourt, and the residents are beside themselves with excitement. A mall, we have arrived, and now have some status.

The rain is pouring down.

The food hall in the mall. The Boulder Creek Spur on the right is the place to go if you feel like a big steak or spare-rib. There are Spur restaurants in most towns and all the big cities in South Africa, and they all have an American names, there decor themes are all a South African idea of the Wild West. Food to satisfy any taste. We went to the Mug & Bean coffee shop for breakfast and coffee.
Spotted this couple with their toddler outside the Mug & Bean coffee shop, dining alfresco.

To us two country bumpkins it sounds like the baristas speak a foreign language, (barista is strange enough) coffee is not just coffee, always has a foreign name, not quite sure what you're ordering. But we did get some fantastic coffee, drink as much as you want, and a breakfast that was worth every cent. The service is slick and fast, and the baristas extremely helpful and friendly, left a large tip.

The actual reason for going to the mall was to sort out a problem with my cell phone at the customer care centre of the company with which I have my cell phone contract. I was helped quickly and efficiently by a friendly young Zulu man named Andile. He typed some arcane code into his computer, my cell phone number and viola problem solved Always nice when you come across someone who knows what he is doing, and obviously likes doing it. The Italian Leprechaun had some bank business to attend to, his problem was just as quickly sorted out.

Ended up in the Exclusive Books book shop and bought these two books. I have a compulsive disorder when it comes to books, just have no willpower. But I think they were worth it. The Italian leprechaun and I have been coming to the mall once a month for about two years now and we only know three or four places, coffee shop, Christian book shop, Exclusive Books, and Cape Union Mart, the outdoor and camping supply shop.

Who's the Italian leprechaun? He's my colleague and friend, also fellow traveller on the road of faith. Teaches grade seven class at the school where I work as librarian. Real name, Enrico Bucceri. Father of Italian extraction and mother of Irish. He is no Italian Stallion, so I thought Leprechaun was more apt.

A master at his profession and all children just love him. One of his learners said to him a while back; "Sir, you are not a real grown-up, sir." Describes him in a nut shell. Much to the chagrin of the principal and more up-tight colleaques he might spend half a day teaching his class how to fold paper planes and then fly them out the top story window of his classroom, but make no mistake, academics do not get neglected.


Desiree said...

I really loved this post, Phillip! Thank you for sharing your day out, interspersed with your views on life and getting to meet Enrico. Love that you nickname him IL (does he know, BTW?) How super that he's never lost his child within and can relate so well to his pupils! The world needs many more teachers like that, for sure! Must say, I've not yet seen al fresco dining in a mall myself!

So glad you found a couple more books to grace your shelves...I understand your 'addiction' :)

Phillip said...

Hi Desiree,

He knows I call him the Italian Leprechaun, wiyh ancestry like his, what else.


Shoreman said...

Seems like malls are the same, world over. I try to avoid them when at all possible. Living in a little town in the mountains as I do, it's also an hour drive to the closest one. Good thing I can shop in town.


Gorges Smythe said...

Not MY sort of place!

Joyful said...

Enjoyed your post. I got a good feel for what your day was like. I'm glad you explained what the Italian Leprechaun is or I would've been scratching my head over it, he he. I've never seen people sitting on the floor of a mall either or was that really the sidewalk on the outside of the mall.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading it. I've known Mr. Bucceri since 1996 when I started grade 1 at Drakensview Primary, I was a boarder as well and I got to spend 7 lovely years with him. He's such a legend, send my regards.

By the way, I'm now doing my final year in university ( he taught both me and my sister) and my sister is done.

It's always good hearing about that man

Dante said...

Reading this makes me feel so nostalgic. Mr Bucceri taught me in grade 9. He was my form teacher. He taught me history and so much more, he made me fall in love with the hobbit and he unlocked a passion I had for reading. He saw a potential within me which I had always denied. But he also taught me things that where beyond the classroom and while I did know it then, it was those learning a that have had partial influence on the person I have grown into. This is why I hunt little people for sport (kidding). It was a privilege to have been in his class.