As Schatsi Schnauzer and I begin what we call the Central Saunter, we spot a young man piling up pockets of oranges for sale determinedly helped by a wee tot no bigger than the pockets themselves.
Then it struck me. Where within roughly a kilometre radius does anyone have roadside stalls, parks to explore, unique little shops and what I believe is one of the most vibrant café societies in town?
So why not ditch the shopping mall and explore this wonderful old part of Port Elizabeth?
Take Rink Street for example. Within a few hundred metres you can do your banking, have your eyes tested, pop into Spar for any urgent food items and have your laundry and dry cleaning done.
Not only that. There are a couple of Far Eastern emporiums where you can browse for hours. If it’s lingerie you are looking for, you will find a selection of bras in a variety of colours from lime green to plum. They are certainly not of the divide and separate design, but more the uplift and explode showing far more décolletage than most of us would dare to expose.
In addition, you can find bling clothing to die for and a plethora of novelties that even include glow-in-the dark crucifixes.
Within the same precinct, there are hairstylists, nail bars, pharmacies, florists, bakeries. stationers and coffee shops where you can take a load off and enjoy the passing parade.
Hang a left down Parliament Street and like Govan Mbeki Avenue; you can only be impressed by the semi-pedestrianised area which hums day and night. State-of-the-art double light lamp standards light up the area at night and the music pumps from wall-to-wall coffee shops, taverns and restaurants.
During the day people flock to the numerous eateries which have sprung up in Richmond Hill and abound Parliament Street. Business people use these charming places to network over steaming cups of filter coffee.
The fare is good as are the prices.
Explore the charity shops where you will be surprised at what nifty little numbers you may find for a song.
Then there are the antique shops whose stock will have your tongue hanging out; determined to find a place in your home for beautiful glassware and some other objet that you cannot resist.
From genuine Beatrix Potter figurines to exquisite Murano and Vaseline glass and other collectables, they are real treasure troves and knock the socks of any Internet searches you may try.
Their owners are knowledgeable and their love of their precious pieces make a buy there very special.
Bookshops lure you and often you can find that special one to complete a trilogy, one from your favourite author that you have not read or an interesting piece of Africana.
If you have never been in this charming part or Central or not visited for ages, I say shame on you.
Take a morning or more and do the Sally and Schatzi Saunter, even if you break it into parts – The Hill, Richmond Hill and the CBD. It’s fun and you will be richer for it.
Oh, on our way back that day, the orange seller was still there; the toddler having succumbed to exhaustion and asleep on the wall while father was holding another sleeping infant and carefully guarding his stock.
Reprinted by kind permission of The Herald.
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