We are located in Pretoria, one of the capitals of South Africa, yes South Africa does not have a capital like most countries, but it has three of them: Pretoria is the administrative capital, Cape Town is the legislative capital and Bloemfontein is the judicial capital; one of the many peculiarities of this country with a complicated past that tries, in some way, to go further.
We are at the Sheraton in Pretoria, a very nice although very sumptuous hotel; it directly overlooks the Union Builnding and the statue of Mandela that is famous all over the world.
This morning we woke up relatively early for our Milanese canons, but decidedly late compared to what we have done in the last month; we have a quick breakfast, check out and put our bags on Dr. Livingstone.
We don't know Pretoria, we passed by several times but we never stopped, so we ask the concierge if he has a map of the city and if it is safe to go around the city and the answer was, after making a somewhat perplexed expression, "ok but don't bring anything"; ok message received.
We go out on foot leaving our Dr Livingstone at the hotel parking lot and we decide to cross the road to go to the park to take some photos of the parliament and the statue of Mandela but, in doubt, we do not bring a camera but only a cell phone.
To tell the truth, people seem calm and heedless of us, most ignore us just as someone greets us.
As we go to take the photos we see several people carrying buckets and bottles of various sizes, initially I foolishly thought that, being Saturday, they came here to the park to spend a day with friends and relatives and that they used the buckets to carry something, like for example food.
But looking better at the situation, we realize that instead they are taking water from the park's irrigation system and, most likely, they are taking it home; needless to say, we were flabbergasted, in fact we saw that the hotel also had a tank of water delivered.
We imagine that there is a serious shortage of water in Pretoria, unfortunately we are not informed because if it happens in Cape Town the whole world knows, if it happens elsewhere it does not make much news.
We go back to the hotel and take our Dr Livingstone and leave, we are not very inspired to visit Pretoria, maybe we will come back another time when we have more time, but we take a tour just to understand what the atmosphere is like.
Today is Saturday and there are a lot of people around, they are almost all black and most seem to belong to the middle class, but we also see several people who seem to be in a situation of poverty and first of all we are sorry but it does not make us want to roam around the city.
We go by car to the monument of the Voortrekker that is located outside the city center on a hill; we see it from afar and it is huge and stocky, it is not one of the best managed monuments, we do not enter to visit it, we will do it when we will spend more time in Pretoria in the coming future.
We go back to the center, today the Market@TheSheads should be open, from what we understood reading online, it is a kind of Fourways Farmers Market in Johannesburg, but more focused on art and crafts and a little less on food.
We follow the directions of maps.me but we cannot understand where it is because the roads leading to the exact address are closed, yet on the site they say they have a free but above all safe parking.
While we try to understand, a guy approaches us and asks if we need directions, but he has no idea where we would like to go even if he claims to have understood and tells us that it is nearby; he asks us for money for the information and, as he seems to be in a bad situation, we give him 50 Rand.
We try to take another road that seems to lead to the right address and, just around the corner, there are some guys who offer to find us a parking space, to clean our car and other things.
A little reluctant we try to park and Silvan goes down to see where this place is, the guy we gave 50 Rand joins us and says "Come down it's near here", he looks objectively drunk and he is not in a good shape so are the others.
While I show one of the other two boys where we would like to go and the address the strange guy tries to steal my iPhone but he doesn't even stand up and Silvan stops him immediately while the other boys are on him, too; when they understand that just before we had given him some money, they immobilize him and rummage in his pockets to find the money and give it back to us, one of the two bites his hand and does not let go until the guy decides to return the money, they are out .
We leave the money to the guy who recovered it and he says "now you can go, now it's safe" but objectively the desire has passed and above all who says it is "safe"?
Maybe the drunk guy comes back and makes some spite at the car, or they could all agree, who can say it; maybe we are led to think about the worst but we don't want to be in unpleasant situations so we prefer to go.
We take our Dr. Livingstone and leave, Johannesburg, or rather Kempton Park, is waiting for us; rather we take a ride there once we get there if we feel like it.
Bye bye Pretoria, I don't know if and when we will meet again.