As if waking up to the obnoxious buzzing of one alarm clock isn’t terrible enough, we have the displeasure of awaking at 6:45 each morning to the discordant beeping of three separate cell phone melodies. After pressing snooze for 15 minutes, we silently trek single file down the staircase layered in blankets, scarves, and hats to the dining room where we then suck down coffee, cereal, juice, and yogurt. Around 7:30, we head back to our room to beautify ourselves for our internships. Though we have a solid hour before we have to be out the door and walking down Brownlow en route to our respective museums, the most difficult task of our day presents itself in the fact that while there are three of us, there are only two small mirrors in our room.
On Wednesday morning, we passed by a black boar nonchalantly eating breakfast on a small patch of grass (Grass! There is so much of it in Tamboerskloof!) on our route to work. Surprisingly enough, this wasn’t even the best part of our day. Upon arriving at work, Fatima and Janine told us we would be heading to the Slave Lodge with them to assess the ancient Egypt exhibit. Apparently we’ll be spending every Wednesday here. We were a bit early, which gave us the opportunity to wander through the Siliva Zulu exhibit, as well as ogle old South African baby dolls. Needless to say, my dreams that night were rampant with glass-eyed school boys and big-bonneted puppets.
Since many objects are currently being taken out of their protective cases in order to be conserved, Selina and I were given the task of updating the museum’s old inventory list by documenting which items were either missing from the list or missing from the exhibit. Somehow, five hours flew by, and upon completing our list, we were told it was lunch time. Janine mentioned heading to the Michaelis Collection, the city’s first art museum as of 1914, and invited us with her. We, of course, said yes, and spent the next half hour mesmerized by the detail of the strokes and lines in the early Netherlandish art that was on display. We were also impressed by the way the furniture in the museum seemed to be from the same era as the paintings themselves. Sometimes the furniture that litters a museum contrasts so greatly with the art or objects being presented that it detracts from their value, but the synchronization at the Michaelis Collection did nothing but strengthen it.
After leaving, we still had a bit of time before we had to be back at the museum, so we popped into a cheap and cozy café that is a 30 second crawl away from the Social History Center. Selina somehow managed to score a tomato and cheese sandwich (this is her new thing), chips, coleslaw, and beans for only 15 rand! While that price for this meal is the kind of thing penny-pinchers dream about at night, my broccoli, apple, and rice cakes were free. Well, kind of.
We finished our meals, and headed back to the Slave Lodge. The next two hours were spent dusting and polishing the dozens of silver objects that are currently on exhibit. While polishing my seventh silver platter of the day, I discovered formations of muscles in my fingers that never existed before. All of this conserving sure is strenuous on the hands!
We then rushed home from work, changed out of our dusty – yet still very professional! – clothes, and walked over to the South African National Gallery to view the opening of the Rendez-Vous 12 exhibit. While the art was nice to look at, it was also nice to see so many familiar faces circulating through the exhibit. We ran into Farzannah, Lalou, Layla, Yehuda, and countless others whom we’ve met on our South African adventures. We chased down our bruschetta crackers with the live jazz music reverberating through the museum, and after chatting with some of the artists, and making three laps around the exhibit, said goodbye to the museum and hello to our beds.