It is 8:30 on a Saturday morning, and our family of six is ready to go on our first tour of Soweto. It doesn’t sound like much, but this is quite an accomplishment! Not only getting everybody out of bed and out the door on time, but overcoming ...  Continue Reading

Great Info about South Africa and Johannesburg

While I take pride in occasionally making you laugh about my escapades as an expat in Johannesburg, there are other, much better researched sources of information out there. There is no reason for me to re-invent the wheel, so please visit the following:

Jozikids: Wonderful resource for anything related to kids or family life in and around Johannesburg, such as schools, things to do, parties, babysitting, sports, and classifieds. City of Johannesburg: Another good resource for events in Johannesburg and all sorts of other information (this is where you can report potholes and out-of-order traffic lights, as well as request new dustbins – but don’t hold your breath on the delivery!) Gumtree: The equivalent of Craigslist, also available for Cape Town, Durban, and Eastern Cape. Bushbreaks: By far the best website I’ve found for finding and booking game lodges in Southern Africa; organized very well, has great overviews of the different game reserves, and offers friendly service and good discounts to boot.

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Searching for Applesauce in Johannesburg

I’d like to shed a few more thoughts on local food, or, rather, the process of acquiring it. It’s the weirdest things I have trouble finding here in South Africa. I wouldn’t have been offended if there was no Nutella, or lemongrass, or Tahini, or any kind of ethnic food. Yet those things are surprisingly easy to find in most supermarkets, while other items I consider staples have been on my iPhone Grocery IQ app for months, without any luck.

Applesauce is one of those items. How can an entire country not know about applesauce? A country practically founded by farmers (boers) no less? When I finally hunted down a jar of applesauce, it was no bigger than a small can of tomato paste, and the applesauce was indeed a sauce, very soupy. ...  Continue Reading

Welcome to Africa!

Although this happened sometime back, I thought I should record some “Welcome to Africa” moments:

April 28, 2010:

We’ve been here for almost two months, and once again we seem to be in the moving backward phase of “one step forward, two steps back.” In my mind, it was just a matter ...  Continue Reading

From Babbalas to Yebo

Having been in South Africa for 4 months, we have greatly added to our dictionary of South African expressions, so here is Part II on my Language entry (click here for Part I):

=&0=&A hangover =&1=& – Dried meat, like jerky – grows on you! =&2=& – That which goes on a braai (a really long coiled-up sausage) =&3=& – Gosh/bummer/ouch/no way – fits in most “welcome to Africa” situations =&4=& – Answer to Howzit (I’ve often felt a bit awkward when I only say “good, thanks” and then get “good thanks” back automatically, even though technically I didn’t ask “and you?”) =&5=& – How are you? =&6=& – Oh really? (which sounds funny to us in a dialog such as “I’m planning to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro,” and “Izzit?” as the response) =&7=& – Afrikaans for yes =&8=& – Technically this means soon; but in reality not very soon at all, definitely not immediately, might not even be today =&9=&Uniform (athletic) =&10=& – Tangerine/clementine =&11=& – You’re kidding/really – hard to translate but used often, like when you’re telling someone an endearing story and they cluck sympathetically on occasion =&12=& – Team =&13=& – Patio =&14=& – Sneakers/tennis shoes =&15=& – Zulu for yes

One last thing on language: I’m very impressed what an effort South Africans make to pronounce words correctly, as opposed ...  Continue Reading