When we first visited America 3 years ago, we were horrified that the South African rand was trading at just under R9 to the US dollar. At the time we had no idea what the holiday was going to cost so, in addition to the dollars we bought, we sent over money just in case we needed extra. As it happens we didn’t use it and decided to leave it behind for contingencies. As a result we already had some cash here to help pay for this holiday, which was bloody lucky for us because right now $1 is worth nearly R17.
I try not to convert because it’s so damn scary, but I did some conversions when we visited the farm stall, Robert is Here, in Miami. The tomatoes cost R63 for 450g and the grapefruit – R95 per bag. And a bottle of Kanonkop Cab Sav at a supermarket in DC cost R670. Yikes.
Clothes shopping, on the other hand, can be quite reasonable especially since Kiera and James know how to shop on the cheap. All the clothes we have bought have cost less than if we had bought them in SA, even with the deplorable exchange rate. Macy’s in Miami had an amazing Christmas Eve sale (some items were marked down by as much as 70%) and the shop was not busy. In DC, we visited the Leesburg Outlets (or factory shops as we know them but much more upmarket) where Alex managed to refresh his wardrobe quite substantially. Other than that, shopping has not really been high on the agenda, as you can imagine.
New Years Eve was a quiet affair – we prepared a Durban curry for our American family, complete with sambals and naan bread. And they, in turn, provided the most spectacular, decadent dessert to top it all off. Alex would have preferred a night on the town but he had no takers. Besides, hitting the Miami nightlife scene would definitely have broken the bank. Fortunately he did get to go with Kiera to a free Macklemore and Imagine Dragons concert at Miami’s South Beach the night before New Years Eve. Apparently they put on a really good show with a strong humanitarian message and fantastic fireworks display.
We returned to DC without Alex who left earlier than us as he had to be back at work on the 4th January. We have since spent quite a bit of time at Kiera and James’ flat, cooking dinner, watching some brilliant series on telly (River – a BBC One show, Top of the Lake – a Jane Campion show set in New Zealand and Mozart in the Jungle – with the gorgeous Gael García Bernal) as well as teaching Kiera and James to play bridge.
As our holiday draws to an end I find myself apprehensive about returning to South Africa. Since the beginning of 2016 social media has been abuzz with the most appalling racist rants. Macklemore’s song is about tolerance –
It’s the same hate that’s caused wars from religion
Gender to skin color, the complexion of your pigment
The same fight that led people to walk outs and sit ins
It’s human rights for everybody, there is no difference!
Live on and be yourself
When I was at church they taught me something else
If you preach hate at the service those words aren’t anointed
That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned
When everyone else is more comfortable remaining voiceless
Rather than fighting for humans that have had their rights stolen
I might not be the same, but that’s not important
No freedom ’til we’re equal, damn right I support it
Here’s hoping that more people start promoting love and tolerance rather than hate and prejudice.
I forgot to include these pictures in my last post of a beautiful Roseate Spoonbill in the Everglades National Park.