Ok, ‘speak’ may be a bit of an exaggeration.
My second AirB&B in Pretoria was so freaking amazing, I can’t believe the treasures I scored in that city.
Mia, Jaco and Zoey’s lovely home is near the centre of the city yet seems a million miles away from its intensity. It is a heritage property and while it was likely much bigger back in the day, is still very generous. Inside it has been renovated, modern yet respectful of its heritage.
The property is fenced, gated and alarmed. I was there only 2 days yet got to meet the security guard so many times I was worried his wife would get jealous. 🙂 I could not get the hang of that damn alarm system. No one was home when I got there and a few hours later my friend Karen arrived and I had to re-open the gate. Now I managed to get the gate open when Stephanie dropped me off but for some reason I just started wildly pushing buttons… including the panic button!!!! Several times.. good thing we were white women otherwise I fear guns would have gotten involved.
Now in Africa dogs are part alarm systems and part beloved members of the family. The degrees of each vary family to family of course. But with Zoey, the Border Collie, she is all family. Security wise, she is more likely to lick you to death trying to get you to throw that gross ball.. just one more time! The only time I heard her bark was to get me to throw the ball just one more time! So adorable.
Of course minutes after getting there I had to hook up to wi-fi. I searched everywhere for the password … nada. So I am wandering around looking for a freebie and sauntered over to the neighbour’s house thinking they wouldn’t mind. Nada. They were on the deck so in desperation I called up to them and asked if, by chance, did they know Mia’s password. Ok it was a shot into the very dark heavens. Well it was very dark indeed. the lady of the house did not know what wi-fi was. sigh. However if I wanted to use one of their computers do come over. Hmmm I asked, “How?”. “Oh you will have to drive around, there is a fence all the way around except for the gate. Of course there is. Since I didn’t have a car I decided I would climb the fence, nothing was going to stand between me and the internet. Mia and Jaco have an old camper tent thingy beside the fence so I climbed on it and hopped over the fence, no biggy, it wasn’t even an electric one. A whole while the lady was clucking and wringing her hands with worry. I climbed up the bank, pulled myself up onto the deck… all the while holding on my laptop. We were no further ahead in regards to access to wi-fi, she didn’t even own a cell phone and wore her
ignorance innocence like a badge of glory. mutter mutter mutter. She called her husband downstairs to help me, then a visitor said, oh there is wi-fi at the office… ok, where’s the office? Oh just down the drive way. So he leads the way to the ‘office’, which I think is a converted stable… very nicely converted. So we’re loitering outside the door trying to connect but of course he can’t remember the password because like all of us, he only has to put it in once so why would you remember? Then the Lady comes booting it down the drive with a glass of “Argentinean champagne” with ice and hands it to me. When I first arrived she had done her best to feed me so she wasn’t going to be denied a second time. So now I am fully armed with wine and laptop feeling more and more at home.
Then Lady’s husband shows up with his iPad and joins us in watching our cursors blink. I said it is too bad I don’t have Mia’s phone number I could call her. At this point you are likely wondering why I didn’t ask for the phone # before the password initially. Well, at that point I didn’t have an African sim card and I certainly wasn’t going to use roaming!
Anyway he called. Left a message. She called back and he handed me the phone. You can imagine how confused the poor woman was. So she told me the password (it had been on the back of the router. sigh. This is in the land of maximum security) So now armed with the password I retrace my steps but this time with the gentleman following me clucking and wringing his hands. He was suitably impressed when I popped off the camper none the worse for wear. I have a feeling though he might be upgrading that fence pretty soon.
I never stay in a room in someone’s home, it has to be independent, my own room, kitchen and bathroom. There was a misunderstanding and I realized the morning that I was to move to Mia’s place that it was just a bedroom, I didn’t even have my own bathroom!!!!! Well that sent me into a tizzy but after emailing and phone calls I felt I could look at it as an adventure and it was for only 2 nights. And they had a Border Collie. Through all that and the neighbours and the security guards Mia and Jaco was the epitome of kindness and grace. I had dinner with them on my last night and it was special – intelligent conversation, differing views, discussions, excellent food (vegan) and wine. I truly felt blessed to have been able to spend even a short time with the three of them.
Before I knew it I was on my way to Cape Town and adventures there!