Things I Won’t Miss

What do gas heaters and William Nicol Drive have in common?

They are both on the list of things I’ll be glad to leave behind in South Africa.

Maybe you’re surprised I do indeed have such a list. A collection of all the stuff I won’t shed a single tear over when it comes time to say goodbye. I know I’ve been going on and on about how great life in South Africa has been. I’ve written about the things I WILL cry over at length, and I’m not even done with writing about them, but today I’d like to mention the other side.

The dark side.

Call it self-preservation. Because thinking of all that I hate here will make leaving that much easier.

What prompted me to write this post was when I gave my cancellation notice to Afrihost, our internet service provider. I had to go online, indicate my termination date, and then select the reason from a drop-down box. Guess what one of the choices was?

“The cables keep getting stolen.”

I won’t miss the fact that in this country, stolen cables are a major reason people are canceling their internet service, along with relocation and death.

This is what I also won’t miss about South Africa:


South African power outlets (the two you get per room) and the resultant carnage of multi-strips and extension cords
In almost three years in South Africa, I have never once scored a roll of aluminum foil that didn’t do this


The mere existence of such a thing as a Traffic Register Number


We haven’t had any bad experiences in this regard but I won’t miss the idea that there are crime hotspots out there


Lugging this clunker anywhere I want to run one of our appliances


Seriously, the world can live without this. Looks (and tastes) like pickled engine oil
The fact that I’m banned from all cool American cheap stuff


Hunting around for the tire lock nut before changing a tire. Oh, and having to change tires in the first place. Never once had to do that in almost twenty years in the U.S.


A library system from circa 1962


Parktown Prawns


Living behind high voltage…
…and barbed wire


South African newspapers


Having to get out the heavy machinery just to hang a simple picture


Having to talk traffic cops through their own laws and being threatened with arrest every time I get pulled over


Joburg rush hour


Minibus taxis jumping the line
The slowest internet connection in the world


Gas heaters
My Eskom file
I’m sure some of you can add a thing or two to this list. What’s yours?


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