Monday, November 12, 2007


Apparently, it's the biggest mall in the southern hemisphere. A whole bunch of shopping! Oh Boy! To quote an old line from a comedian (which one, I cannot remember) "there is a reason the menswear is located right inside the door to the mall…"

It was interesting at least to see the differences between what you'd see in a mall here and a mall back home. The building is more-or-less the same. This one was a bit more opulent than some, and more diverse. There was a three-storey rock climbing structure at one end where the atmosphere of the air-conditioned park-like setting changed to more cave-like, but al-in-all, it was still a mall.

We were there to get stuff that everyone needed to buy while here. A few things to bring back to London, or to the flat in Ballito, a lot of shopping to take advantage of the exchange rate between the pound sterling and the rand. At the best of time I do not really enjoy shopping… I run in, get what I need, run out. It is almost as if I am afraid that I will spontaneously combust if I spend too much time in a mall.

Besides that, I already have too much stuff to bring back to the states with me in two weeks. It is as if need to get more stuff. So I walked down the mall, looking at the people and the way they interact with each other. People Watching: the one really good reason to go to a mall; in my humble opinion.

There are subtle differences. There were more bare feet than I would expect to see. Perhaps it was an anomaly, but shortly after one guy walked in with three sons in tow (all bare below the ankles), I spotted a woman walking around barefoot. Ironically, she had two shoeboxes in her arms.

The real difference was the behavior of the staff. They were helpful. Too helpful. On the off chance that there would be a store that I actually wanted to see, I stopped to peruse the directory. There were a number of stores whose names were familiar, even more that weren't.

After a few minutes of reading through the list, a uniformed person came over and stood at my right, just in my field of vision. "May I help you find something?" he asked. I assured him that I was just looking and had no specific destination in mind. Okay. That was strange.

The fact that it happened two more times with more-or-less the same exchange in the space of the time it took me to read through the list is what makes this interesting. It wasn't 'til I had re-grouped with my friends that it was brought to my attention that I had missed something. Something that was pretty obvious now that I think about it. There seemed to be more staff than shoppers in the mall.

We had adventures trying to get out of the parking lot due to a malfunctioning exit gate that would not open, then when it chose to open, it slammed shut before we could reach it to exit. Drinks and dinner later, we finished another wonderful chill-out day of holiday

Wherever you are today, I hope that you're having a lovely day!

Don Bergquist – 12 November 2007 – Ballito, South Africa

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