Playing House

This week I’ve spent some time playing house and trying to find the things I need for my new wonder-pad in the various shopping multiplexes of Opuwo.

It turns out that, if you do look hard enough, just about everything can be bought in the town to get you to almost the level where you could move in.

It was on this basis that I sampled the wonders of the Opuwo PEP. PEP is a big chain throughout Namibia (and SA I think) which does all sorts of clothes and household stuff. In Windhoek and other cities the stores are huge department-store affairs with wide isles, point-of-sale signage, organised queues, trolleys and all that other good stuff.

The Opuwo version of PEP is a dingy store next to (naturally) a shebeen pumping bone-shattering Otjiherero rap music out. You can tell if it’s open by the nature of the crowd hanging around outside. If some of them look sober and/or have shopping bags then it’s open.

Inside they have gone all out to maximise the retail space (see my DSG training didn’t all go in vein). They have accomplished this by cramming a massive amount of shelves and freestanding units in leaving at best 1-foot gaps in between.

Just in case you could manage this discomfort and close proximity to your fellow shoppers to add an extra level of challenge they have distributed goods around the place in such a way as to make precisely no sense. There is no pattern, don’t try and look for one.

Hence pillows are on one wall and pillow cases on a totally different one, next to cups (naturally).

In typical Opuwo fashion at least seven hundred people are packed at any one time into the store, if for no other purpose than to make you squeeze past them along the impossibly small isles.

Luckily, also in typical Opuwo fashion, everyone is friendly enough and are wildly amused by the white devil trying to do his shopping and make sense of the system.

So through the wonders of PEP, PowerSave, the China Shop (run by people from China in case you were wondering hence the name) and Ok I managed to get most of the stuff I needed, including sheets, pillow, pillow case, duvet, two saucepans, a cutlery draw thing, some mugs, a kettle and some cutlery. No duvet cover, that would be too simple, everywhere has sold out and I must wait for next week.



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