Tuesday, September 20, 2005

One pint deserves another

Miss T and I went out exploring again this morning, looking for a free wireless connection (supposedly McDonald’s has it, but we somehow couldn’t connect) so after having compromised my principles and pointlessly purchased and eaten an awful Egg McMuffin -- just as nasty in South Africa as everywhere else in the world) it was back to Nelson Mandela Square to our regular internet cafe.

At least at the ‘Cafe della Salute’ in the Square, if you order a cup of coffee, it comes already made. At McDonald’s of SA, astonishingly, when you order coffee, you get a china tea cup filled with boiling hot water, and then you are handed the jar of Nescafe and a spoon (while you’re standing at the till counter!) and you mix your own. Gad. I’m definitely switching to Diet Coke. Or maybe a nice cuppa tea.

So we picked up some emails -- (thanks to those who wrote -- very cheering!) -- and then wandered about the mall a little, before coming back to the apartment to read the paper and nap..... Yes, nap..... Please don’t get on my case about it. It’s exhausting to move to a new country. And I dare you to try..... I do. (And I promise I will be there to hold your hand when you’re sobbing there, alone, by yourself, in your bathtub. Not so easy,eh? Never mind.)

No, everyone says I should be used to it by now, after 12 moves in 26 years. And I am....you must believe me. I believe it, I do. Yes, I do, on a good day..... (OK, now I am trying to stop thinking about you, naked, in your bathtub. Oh hang on, this is a family blog, I must stop that, this minute. Whoah, that was distracting.)

But hang on, we mustn’t get all gloomy and weird. What else has happened?

I almost got talked into giving blood at the shopping mall (something I do strongly believe in, as the ex-chair of the blood drive at St. Mark’s) but I reconsidered, as I’m still feeling significantly tired and near faint about half the time. (Or maybe I felt faint thinking about giving blood ... was that the chicken or the egg, or what? Oh well....) Apparently, South Africa has a huge blood shortage, and since at least 25% of the population is HIV positive, tragically even less of the population than usual is able to donate usable blood.

And of course, you and I BOTH know that most people will think up just about ANY excuse not to give blood.

“I don’t do needles” -- Steve
“I didn’t eat breakfast today” -- Sarah
“I have to work this afternoon” -- Mike .... oh, puleeze!

That would not be you, of course ... not .... YOU?? Go out and give a pint of blood, just for me, next time you get the chance. There’s no synthetic blood invented yet, no way to transfuse people, saving their lives, if their blood type just isn’t available in hospital at that moment... so... give somebody a break today. It could be your own life, or a friend’s, that you’re saving. Yah, I know that’s a stretch, but things could get odder. I mean, here I am in South Africa.....

So......if you give a pint, I’ll buy you one. (Amstel, Stella, whatever you like.... and I promise someone will appreciate your pint of A, B, AB, or O) Anyway, I’m putting that on my list of things to do, once I’m not keeling over from the altitude adjustment issues. St. Stithian’s is having a blood drive on Wednesday, so maybe I’ll be recovered by then? One can only hope......

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