Well some friends asked me to stay abreast while back in SA for a short break so this is my entry into that. I am now in SA and am living currently in central Pretoria (Yes not Tshwane). I have been here now for close to two weeks and it has been great. I am going to start first with a rant about Pretoria.
Pretoria the city
I have lived for most of my schooling life in Ga-Rankuwa, north west of Pretoria. I moved to Johannesburg when I started university and stayed there for close to six yes and fell in love with the city. Now I am residing across the street from the South African State Theatre, we plan to watch at least two shows in the next few weeks. Pretoria is different from Joburg. A simple example is that the city is still alive at 10 pm. I mean the central city is still alive. If you go to downtown Joburg at 10 pm it is spooky and no one(in their right mind) walks the streets. The first time I ever saw tumbleweed was in Joburg at 11 pm. Maybe it was plastic tumbleweed, but it was tumbling. Here in Pretoria there are still hawkers out at odd hours. Almost all storefronts are closed but people are still making the rounds. There is a 24 hr McDonalds across the street, perfect for Thembi's McFlurry addiction, if thats a sign of progress in the city. I have setup shop in the Sammy Marks library (Also across the street) doing my research there and also coding up in MATLAB during the day while other preparations also happen in between. I guess having now lived without a car in the US I have come to appreciate the walking and taking in the city. I am also planning to figure out the bus system and want to take the bus from one side of Pretoria to the the other and snap up some pictures. We also plan to visit some museums. The urban renewal projects are taking off and I sure do hope it leads to a complete revitalisation(Yes in British English this time) of the inner city. It is jewel in South Africa's crown. To lose it would be fatal for a lot of people.
Since I have been back
Its been a busy two weeks. In between preparations, research, report submissions and algorithm coding I still have found time to do some visiting. If I have not seen you yet I still am making plans. Probably things will happen after 30th May.
I went home to Ga-Rankuwa for a few hours with family, then travelled to the apartment in Pretoria.
- I saw Iron Man 2, Geek Awesomeness (Not as good as the first, never expected that anyway, sadly thats the end of the summer movie season for me, not excited for much else)
- Found the National Library of South Africa in Pretoria and was happy to see them using Linux but was discusted by the internet situation there.
- Discovered Sammy Marks Community Library. Had a good talk to the librarians in the Information Center about a new project I am working on that is slated for late June release (so keep a look out).
- Setup shop at the library.
- Visited Peter Maher, The Director of Alumni Affairs at Wits (Good catching up)
- Visited the ancestors at Knockando (lol). Here is to Edward, Muntu and Collen.
- Went to Soweto already. Too much construction happening all over the place. We have 20 days left before kickoff, some people are working 24 hr shifts it seems.
- Watched my brother build his first Lego MindStorms robot. Awesomeness, cant wait to get my own. Played HALO 3 online and got our avatars whooped. Need more practice.
- Had dinner with Prof. Tshilidzi Marwala, my previous supervisor, now Dean of Engineering at the other university, University of Johannesburg.
Visited Prof. Ian Jandrell, Head of School Electrical Engineering, University of the Witwatersrand. Had a good talk about some exciting stuff that's coming up. Also saw the revamped chamber of mines. Looking good.
- Paid a visit to CSIR, both Pretoria and Johannesburg. Met the old gang. Mistry, Lesedi, Nthabiseng and the rest of the team at CSIR.
- Got a visit from a Venda guy driving a coffin on wheels, a Smart car. Thanks for the stuff Taki.
- Hunted down my sister and found her without any technology whatsoever. Her phone died.
- Work, research, work, research, work, Skype, work submitted some algorithms. Yeah I know I am no fun right.
- Visited my cousin Mabosigo and her daughter Tlamelo (hope I spelled that right, I am hopeless). Kids love iPod Touches and iPhones. Still experimenting with them, maybe we can find a way to cash in on this later.
Ohh before I forget we celebrated a late birthday with some good cake baked by a nice lady across the street. Also crowned a new Scarlet Knight.
What's still to happen
More work life balance will be happening in the next few weeks before I go back to New Brunswick.
- We plan to see some theatre shows at the State Theater.
- Plan on taking the BRT one of these Saturdays. Soweto and back.
- Plan to take the GauTrain from Sandton to the Airport.
- Watching a World cup match in Nelspruit.
- Might watch South Africa play a friendly. Hopefully Benni plays, lol.
- Might have a picnic.
- Attending a Fulbright Scholarship dinner. Looking forward to meeting the new scholars and alumni and the staff from the embassy.
- Speaking at the IGRISE Camp Rising Sun student departure meetup.
- Launching some new projects and updating old ones.
- And yes work research work research work Submission.
How is it being home especially close to the World Cup
Its great being back even for a short period. There is still a lot of construction happening. But the infrastructure is impressive. Pity we cant do this much work for the poor. Pity. A thing I have to highlight is the patriotic madness. Fridays are Football Fridays here. So everyone is encouraged to wear Football (Soccer for you Americans) shirts. Its a great campaign, Fridays are very colorful. People now put flags on their cars. This was great seeing it for the first time for me at the beginning but I am beginning to slowly not love it, its getting to me slowly. But again thats just me. People love it. Maybe I should buy one of those mirror flags and I will feel better, maybe. If I do I will post up a picture of the car and its mirror flag.
Well thats it for now. This is over 1000 words long. Thats long. Very long. Too long and I am not making it better by typing that its long. Adios. Ohh one more thing, that post on facebook university marketing is still on the way.
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