Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Uniquely South African Experience....That I won't forget.

At Stone Hurst the sink has two faucets one with hot water one with cold neither with warm thus you must cup your hand to capture half freezing water and half scorching to have warmish water.

In this same line of thought showers taken before 8:30am are burning hot and post are frigidly cold. Thus we have adapted to these polar temperatures by putting only part of your body under the stream in at a time to brave the temperature. This results in a very awkward shower experience and either blue or red skin when you exit the bathroom.

Room 11 also has a special feature where the light switch for the bathroom is the same as the big bright light in the middle of the bedroom. Thus at 3 in the morning when needing to take a quick bathroom break you must either go in the pitch black or blast your roommate with the main light.

The 100 year old paper thin walls also allow for an extremely intimate relationship with everyone in the house as all can be heard and if you perchance missed a minuet piece of chitchat Mr. Tingle will be sure to carry the news from room to room.

Central Heating here equates to more blankets.

The train’s ghetto fabulous graffiti d├ęcor coupled with the sopping wet floor after a storm and blind singing duos provide for a unique traveling commute to and from work. Also the local’s affinity for using Sarah’s shoulder as a headrest on our way home always brings me a good laugh.

Mini Bus experiences could be an entire separate volume of work however for the sake of brevity I will say this… 5 rand will take you to the city center but this doesn’t guarantee you arrive alive nor does it mean a fight will not break out in the mini bus or that you will have your own seat or any sense of calm. Twenty-four people can be stuffed into the mini bus to zoom through tiny streets and doors may or may not close thus you may or may not remain in the car. However if your lucky there will be a disco/strobe light and blaring techno or rap which creates a rave-like ambiance at 8am that ultimately distracts you from the driver’s insanely reckless race car maneuvers.

As for white South African Men, they are super models who are constantly posing with blonde bowl cuts, mustaches, revealing v-neck shirts, mantini’s, or man tanks and pointy shoes. Hilariously this has created situations of great ambiguity for our group in terms of date-ability. (One word people…EVO!) Fortunately we did make lasting friendships with a South African girl by the name of Zebranna who has assisted in making our experiences abroad more robust.

Additionally beggars here are persistent and driven. In America if you say no to someone asking for money they become defeatist however here in South Africa they are even more committed to the task of taking your money and or giving you the screw driver. After dark these individuals become intoxicated with the joy of seeing tourists and insist on helping you spend your money or assist with use of your ATM card. These people will walk with you for ten blocks, they will wait 45 minutes for you to order Chinese take out, they will make fun of you, and they will even try to seduce you with ridiculous poses, deep stares, and kissy faces. This shows the diversity of strategies operationalized here to ensure the financial success of beggars.

Half built freeways with giant vuvuzelas, incomplete ferris wheels, empty construction sites, unfinished train stations, beautification paralysis, are all indicative of time management values. In Cape Town its cool to arrive late, leave early, and have a 2 hour lunch. Amazing!!!

Oh and vuvuzelas are considered a musical instrument here while under normal constraints are viewed as crappy noise producing plastic horns that are blow incessantly to dive visitors to the brink of insanity.

The food here is great! Well just don’t eat Chinese, Japanese, or Mexican or anything other than game meat & Malva pudding. Warthog, Kudu aka Bambi, Oxen, Crocodile, Ostrich, Springbuck are all delicious meats and also if you love sauce you will love it here. Sarah & I once ordered a burger from Steers and asked if there was mayo and yes there was mayo as well as tomato sauce, mustard sauce, bbq sauce, garlic sauce, spicy, and special sauce- no idea what special sauce is. Pretty saucy.

Now I could go on and on about the hilarious little daily oddities one picks up on when living abroad in South Africa but Ill stop here so that these all surprises are not revealed. It has been a wonderful experience with wonderful people and I will carry these memories with me. “So remember just smile smile and wink wink.”

With Love,


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