“May I get some pula, please?”

What do a bridal suite and pula have in common? Well, the answer is: me. You probably must be Romanian to get these puns, but hey, you’re in for a treat: I’ll explain it all to you.

With no further ado, pula is the national currency in Botswana. You can get 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 pula bills. Divide it by 10 and you’ll roughly get the value in USD. For instance, a Dove soap bar is about 7 pula, which would translate into approx. 70 cents. Yes, Botswana is a poor country, and as such, the prices reflect the difference.

Now, the more interesting part comes. Pula is the word in Romanian for male genitalia. A significant part of the Romanian swear words contain pula (the organ, not the Botswanan currency), although there are plenty of sayings that include the female counterpart, too. Leaving modesty on a side, Romanian language is a leader in swear words, in terms of both content and expression.

But wait, that’s not the purpose of this blog. I apologize for drifting away from the main topic. The bottom line is, I have a hard time pronouncing the local currency here. Surrounded by Lindsay, Nani, Joanne, and Carolyn, how could a gentleman like myself keep saying the ‘p’ word? I’m blushing.

Getting back to my initial question. Some of you might we wondering how my room looks like, here at Lape Lodge, and that’s something I forgot mentioning in my previous posts. Well, no need to hold your breath anymore: I was the lucky one to get the bridal suite! (whatever that means…). The ceiling is completely covered in white wedding dress like textures and inspiring motifs. I refrain myself from sharing my morning feelings when I wake up my eyes pinned to the ceiling. I did take a picture of it, but again, the internet is way too slow to be able to upload anything.

The Bridal Suite

The Bridal Suite

Back to reporting: yesterday was a full day. After breakfast, we met up with David Slater (the local music teacher and vocal coach with whom Lindsay has been in contact throughout all the months of preparation) and we went to see the places where out festival takes place: Maru a Pula school (!) and Baobab primary school. The principals of both schools greeted us and were extremely hospitable. The performing halls of both schools were far beyond my expectations: bright, spacious, with large scale stages.

I witnessed a bit of the music lessons at the Baobab school, where the music teacher, John, was introducing kids to the violin, as well as dancing in pairs. John impressed me with his patience, kindness, and dedication that I observed during his work with the kids.

Lindsay, Nani, and I took the stage for a short sound check. I am confident the opening concert of the No. 1 Ladies’ Opera Festival that is about to start in just a few hours will be a great success. And for me, switching from a Kurzweil synthesizer to a Pearl River baby grand piano is an unexpected, yet pleasant upgrade.

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