October 13, 2008

Welcome back to South Africa, Jesse

All my life, I have stuck to the belief that I should only buy cheap sunglasses given my tendency to break or lose them. As a camp counselor, I would frequently start the summer with three or five pairs and be fortunate to end the summer with one.

But while shopping in the U.S. this past month I decided the time had come to turn over a new leaf: I was going to purchase a pair of sunglasses that cost more than five dollars. After all, I reasoned, I’m older, wiser, and take better care of my possessions now. (I was apparently willfully ignoring the fact that I had lost a pair just a few weeks prior while kayaking Lake Simcoe in Ontario.) So I picked out a pair that cost about 25-dollars (no need to overdo it all at once, you see) and patted myself on the back for my newfound maturity.

Well, it’s good thing they only cost 25-dollars because they’re already gone and I hadn’t even worn them once. I got separated from my luggage on the way back to Mthatha and when I was finally reunited with it five days later, someone had obviously given it a thorough working-over and the sunglasses - and some other items - were long gone. Unfortunately, this is a fairly common story with checked luggage in South Africa.

I was kicking myself the whole way across the Atlantic for forgetting to pack a few crucial items. Now I’m glad they’re safely on my parents’ couch.

There are lots of sunglasses for sale on the streets of Mthatha and they are all blessedly inexpensive.