Harare trip, touring the neighborhood

After a shower, shave, snack, and a short while lying down to relax, Stanley (my host's groundskeeper) took me on a tour of the neighborhood (Mount Pleasant). I told him I was most interested in grocery stories, local shopping, sports, and the like, so that's what he focused on for this trip.

First, we went to a local mall. It was around 5 minutes drive away, in the next suburb over, Burroughdale. This kind of mall is a large collection of smaller stores with a couple larger anchors, all arranged around attractive outdoor walking avenues. There were probably 30 to 40 smaller stores, with a variety of vendors including hardware, electronics, books, clothes (women's, men's and children's), furniture, bath/beauty, salons, jewelry, perfumes, and more. The larger stores were...grocery stores! Unlike the US, consolidation and growth has apparently been limited to just grocery chains, here.

Looking into a couple of the grocery stores, I saw a pretty good variety of goods, priced close to what I'm used to (once I took into account that goods-by-weight are in kilograms rather than pounds). These reminded me of the grocery stores in Russia, particularly because the milk is packaged by liter and the selection of goods is heavier on European and local (?) brands. Milk products were one exception I noticed to the general rule of things being similar in price to home...they were around twice as expensive as I'm accustomed to seeing.

After the groceries, we drove back through Burroughdale and Mount Pleasant, passing initially by a food court area of several restaurants, including pizza, hamburgers, chicken, Greek, and ice-cream. Later we passed by a Sports Club, which he said some of the prior residents had joined in order to play rugby and go to yoga classes. I asked about Zumba and he chuckled and confirmed that they have classes like that here, too. We also passed his preferred butcher and flower shops on our way to our next destination, which he called The Avenue.

The Avenue turned out to be an open air bazzar very familiar to me from my time in Russia. Here each vendor had a small booth and hawked his or her wares directly to the marks...I mean customers. Nothing is priced and haggling is expected. The variety of wares was limited to dry goods here, with emphasis on clothes, shoes, furniture, and knick-knacks. There were a few booths selling less common stuff, including used books, electronics, household consumables and watches. Right next to this was a small complex that contained The Arts 7, a theater that regularly shows movies, according to Stanley, but also hosts local and traveling performers.

All of that was within about a 10 minute drive of the school. We didn't go downtown, though we got close at The Avenue. I know for sure the last time I was here I went to a mall entirely across town to find masks and other interesting gifts for folks back home, so this definitely was not comprehensive.

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