All in a days work September 18 2019

Bookdealers in Africa

Johannesburg is a bustling city. Early morning traffic.
Coffee on the go. Skype meetings.
Relaying information via whatsapp & email.

It all happens here!

And then we get reminded with a jolt (pun not intended) when we are plunged into
darkness as yet again we have a cycle of load shedding as our power company is unable to keep the lights on!

For those who do not live in our beautiful country it is these very contrasts between our first world ideals and our third world reality that makes living here so interesting.

This is Africa.

We are a very accepting people and carry on regardless.
Laptops and smart phones come into their own!
The very nature of our jobs mean that as Bookdealers a few candles should suffice so one would think this is not a serious problem.

Well not entirely true.

Our shops are plunged into darkness.
Some of them have a little natural light .
And one is in a mall with a generator that only powers up the areas which have some sunlight.
Those of us in the basement have no power. Go figure that one out !
As I said .

This is Africa!

During this period Doron and I headed off to the Far East to assess a library .
This is what we do. We arrived at a beautiful house and were escorted inside where we spoke in a book lined study. It was magnificent.
We peered at beautiful tomes and then were told there were more. Much more .


We got up to look.
Our hostess, a tall and very thin lady led us into a lift!
I had underestimated this house.
How many floors were there I asked .
Oh only two she had said .
The lift only goes up the equivalent of a flight of stairs.

Unlike the very thin hostess I am large.
Very large.
I suggested that I left the little lift and climbed the stairs.
I was worried it wouldn’t carry me.
She scoffed.
‘Don’t be silly ‘ she said. ‘I use it all the time! ‘
Off we went.
Well that was the plan .
We started ascending and then all went dark.
The lift stopped.
Load shedding again!!
‘No problem’ our hostess said.
I will call my daughter and she will open for us.
We can climb out.
Said daughter arrives and she is instructed to pull a lever and open the door.
The daughter thinks she had to pull a lever and pull us all up.
Remember mom is thin ( but tall ) but I am big and Doron has the well fed look of a happy Bookdealer.
Add the weight of the lift..
She was not happy and decided this was not a good idea.
Mary the house keeper came to the rescue.
She understood what the lever did, it opened the door.
And so we were saved.

Well nearly.
A ladder had to be put in the lift and we were told to climb out with Mary shouting all the time ‘Off with the shoes” I thought this was a family ritual.
No shoes upstairs.
And then I saw my hostess shrink before my eyes.
I was in some warped version of Alice in Wonderland.
But instead of heads it appeared that it was shoes that had to be discarded.
And then I saw the heels.
Such beautiful stilettos .
Such exquisite shoes.
Such inappropriate footwear for climbing up ladders.
And we clambered out and viewed a second room lined with shelves of more beautifully maintained books and sensibly walked down the very short staircase when we were done.

All in a days work.