This is a typical "This is Africa" anecdote of the kind that I've so come to miss over the years. It's a story of thievery and deceit, ingenuity and cunning. Like so many stories set in Africa, it somehow has the power to make you smile, even if one cannot condone or admire the perpetrators. In any other place on Earth it would be met with condemnation, but This is Africa!
For the first few weeks in South Africa, most expats fight a valiant fight, flailing their arms and willing things to happen NOW, not JUST NOW or even NOW NOW. But in the end, South Africa wins, so that eventually you are totally resigned to the fact that an errand, any errand, will always take the better part of a day, if not week, even if it is ever so small.
Back in America, where the trash gets picked up with unflinching regularity, where I can bank on every traffic light working like a charm each morning on the way to school, and where I can start and stop utility service with just a single phone call if I so desire, I chuckle with utter delight when reading about the misadventures of yet another American expat in South Africa.
I don't think many would call South Africa a paradise, mainly due to its persistently high crime statistics. And one could argue that not all outsiders are tolerated, given some of the nasty excesses of xenophobia that occasionally flare up across the land. But weather and countryside do come close to my definition of paradise, as does the part about the simpler life.
I have a collection of "Only in Africa" pictures I've collected over the years. I've uploaded some of these to my Facebook page as "Humor of the Day" shots, but now thought I might put them together in a collection. I can't give credit to the photographers in this case - most of these were sent to me via long email chains that make tracking down the photographer impossible .
I had just gone through having to cancel Eskom, Telkom, and other utilities. But those were South African services and not American services. American services, I learned in about 12 minutes last week, are absolutely AWESOME to cancel. If you live in South Africa, you might want to stop reading right here, or you might suffer a severe case of customer service envy.
This is one of the many things I love about this country: South Africa’s got humour. South Africans are always ready to crack a joke. Whether you're in the relaxed atmosphere of a braai at a friend's house, or finding yourself in the seemingly never-ending queue at the local Telkomstore, someone is bound to make everyone laugh.
"I am very type A. I will leave this country as one cool lady or very medicated." This quote is from one of my readers who, having recently arrived in South Africa, is struggling with the typical moving-in and getting-settled type chores, such as waiting around for contractors to fix things around the house "just now." All I can say is "Welcome to Africa: you will miss it one day."
South Africa is like a jealous lover, making sure I give it my full attention instead of some other country I might take a fancy to.
Because how else would you explain that every time I come home from an absolutely stunning vacation, ready to gush about it on my blog, South Africa throws a story my ...