Cautious. Apprehensive. Curious.
These were the words which best described my state of mind as I ascended the steps of the jet which would depart Johannesburg, South Africa taking me to Gaborone, Botswana. Having had a pleasant stay in what is considered the New York of Southern Africa, I wasn’t sure what I should expect of Botswana’s capital city. As the small plane roared to a stop before the terminal building in Gaborone, my first impression of this diamond rich country of some 1.8 million people was, ‘remote and quaint”. The terminal building instantly put my mind to our own airport, having a similar colour scheme and architectural design. I mentioned the remote and quaint appearance of the place because the airport is located practically in the middle of no where; surrounded by what I will assume is forest land and the tarmac was virtually empty, giving the impression that very few international flights docked at this particular port of entry. As one can imagine, I became apprehensive and questioned why I left South Africa to come to this country, which had already begun to reinforce my stereotypes of Africa as a place of ‘nothingness”. My next stop, having left the airport, was to be the Cresta President Hotel; where I was to spend two nights before taking up residence on the campus of the University of Botswana. Centrally situated, this hotel is not unlike the ones we revere in Kingston; boasting all the amenities of a four star hotel. Perhaps the most outstanding thing so far about this country, is the cuisine. My teammates and I have played Russian roulette with exquisite meals that range from California Chicken to Beef Setswana. Our ambitious eater has promised to try the roast ostrich, something we all eagerly await. No matter the name or particulars of the animal prepared, I have found the cuisine delectable and prepared to the specifications which would please the ordinary Jamaican. The meats are generally well seasoned and cooked so as to retain the flavour. Botswana gets a A plus for their cuisine as far as this writer is concerned. Being a diamond rich country, I would have been surprised if the architecture was any less than what I observed. My opinion that the country was remote and quaint was quickly rubbished on my tour of the city. Botswana, particularly The university of Botswana, boasts outstanding feats of architecture. Buildings that outclass any we have in the Caribbean, certainly any in Kingston. The county seems to invest heavily in the infrastructure of the city as I was unable to identify a single pothole on my journeys. All that said, my initial assessment is so far, so good. I look forward to my experiences in this southern African state. Stay tuned.