I'm visiting family overseas at the moment. Last night I stopped to visit one of the local lodges. My father in law dropped me off and pointed out the obivous dodgy areas to avoid (buildings half falling down). I got there a bit early and went to look for a coffee shop to wait. The only thing I found was the cafeteria at a hospital a few blocks away. I bought a sports drink with a card. The hot day had me feeling a bit depleted. The ATM there was broken and I needed to draw money for the dinner later in the evening. I didn't want to broadcast in my accent while wearing a new suit that I was looking for somewhere to get access to my cash. I discreetly asked a couple of people behind desks and they couldn't name any other place in walking distance.
Private firearms are pretty restricted here. I've felt pretty naked more than once and have had to rely more on situational awareness and just not going where it's a bad idea. In general, I've found myself not letting anyone get within arms' reach, being more aware of who and what is behind me, and not standing still for more than a 5 count without looking around.
I strolled a short way from the hospital toward a main road, taking note of the private security standing at the entrances to the parking lots. A small pickup truck of non-uniformed workers, aka illegal taxi, passed me and slowed. It came to a stop maybe 30 yards down the road. Part of me said, "Oh, HELL no." and I stopped and checked the street to make my way across and head back the other direction. As I stopped and looked around, the "taxi" moved on. I noticed where it stopped was right next to one of the guards. Whether it was someone who knew the guard and was saying "hi" or stopped for less pleasant purposes and changed their mind when they saw the guard or the guard was uninterested since we weren't in his lot and they moved on because I stopped, I don't know. I'm sure I dodged some kind of bullet there, though.
I headed back to the lodge and poked around the surrounding neighborhood some more. I came across a large complex and thought it might be a commerce center. I had to tilt my head to read the script that said "Coca Cola - South Africa". I looked toward the gate at the camo fatigued guards chatting but couldn't make out their military rifle hardware. I moved on rather than making them think I was casing them. I quickened my pace since though there were plenty of people around, the light was fading fast and I felt more people seeing me stand out.
I got back to the lodge and introduced myself to the brothers there, including the secretary I'd spoken to on the phone about visiting. They asked if I'd be joining them for dinner after. I noted that I only had a few Rand and the money machine I stopped at was broken, but if we could stop at another I'd be happy to. One of the brothers said it wasn't a problem and I could be his guest. I thanked him and settled in for the meeting. After the meeting, a brother took me to the dinner club and then another took me back to my in-laws. All in all, a well spent evening.