Matobo National Park and National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe
Matobo National Park and National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe.
I left my hotel which smelled like mouse urine.
I was walking down the street when a dog freaked out and started barking at me. Science says that dogs are colorblind, but there is no doubt that the dog recognized that I was alien to the majority of the population here. It makes me wonder if I was frightening the dog that was clearly confused by my peculiar features.
And speaking of features, I like how the local people of Zambia and Zimbabwe refer to me as a “Colored person!”
That is what they call me. They do not call me white or Caucasian. They call me colored. It is funny. They find it amusing and surprising when I tell them that is what African people were referred to in North America until sometime in the 1960s, but it is a derogatory term that is offensive in my part of the world today. The term “colored” is fascinating. “Colored” seems to be the natural definition that humans everywhere give to those with a different skin hue of the mass majority populous.
Patrick, a cabbie I made a $30 deal with last night, came to meet me at my hotel at 10:15 to spend half the day driving me to and around Matobo National Park. The park is only 34 kilometers from Bulawayo and it is a beautiful place full of strange and crazy boulders, naturally stacked on top of each other. Words cannot explain so I will add a photo gallery here…
It cost me $15 to get into the park as a foreigner, plus $4 to get Patrick in and $3 to get his car in. So, I did it all for $52 and then I bought him lunch after. A tour agency wanted to charge me $75 to go with them on a tour. It is important to think outside of the box!
Patrick had not been to Matobo National Park since he was a boy, so I told him to not treat me as a client, and to treat me as a friend and to enjoy the day as much as I was going to. I told him to stop the car to take photos when he wanted to and that he could make decisions too. So, we became pretty good friends through the day.
For me, the best part of the day was when I asked Patrick why he had one long fingernail. It made him a little bit bashful and he took a moment to answer. Then he told me, “It is for wife. For nipples. If you this, this is woman, she go crazy!” I was laughing at him. He said, “That is my business too. I like the womans!”
Patrick and I made a circle around the “Scenic Drive” of Matobo and then came back to town where he dropped me off at the National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo. I have not been to an art gallery in a very long time and I have forgotten how much I enjoy looking at the painted minds of creative individuals. I feel like the world is getting busier and busier and we are losing time to make and enjoy art.
When is the last time you were at an art gallery? See!
The National Gallery in Bulawayo is a beautiful building/mansion called the Douslin House that is a historical monument in the city. The grand building was constructed just before the turn of the 20th century and has been home of the National Gallery since 1984. The building itself has a historically-elegant feel inside the walls of its grand demeanor with plenty of exhibits to enjoy.
Creative art lines the walls, and outside in the courtyard, a dozen studios rooms are busy with artists filling canvasses with beautiful drawings. The National Art Gallery is just that, but it is a workshop of beautiful minds as well.
I miss art. Today made me realize that I have been away from it for a very long time…
The hotel I am staying in has a fairly lousy bar and I spent the evening drinking beer and writing in there while locals stopped by to say hello.
In Zimbabwe, you will hear the phrase, “Is it?” anytime you explain anything in a conversation.
Me – “I have been in Africa for three months.”
Zimbabweans – “Is it?”
Me – “I could kind of use a haircut, but there is no way I am doing it here due to different features. I would not get laser eye surgery in Asia and I will not get my hair cut by someone in Africa.”
Zimbabweans – “Is it?”
I guess it is short for, “Is it true?” It initially seems like the person you are talking to is involved in a different conversation than the one with you.
Here are a few more photos of the Matobo National Park!: