Here are some of the things I’ve noticed after two months of living here:
- Gas is the same exact price everywhere. It must be announced to the public prior to being increased, and all gas (er, petrol) stations must then change their price accordingly. (Although, the current price of gas here equals about $5.65/gallon!!)
- Public urination is not frowned upon in the least. I cannot tell you how many men I see relieving themselves on the side of the road daily—and not worrying to hide it one bit!
- There are not near as many TV commercials here. All of the American shows play with maybe only one commercial break, so the rest of the spots where the show has broken off for American commercials are all awkward here when you’re watching the show and it transitions off, then back on. I’m not complaining, though!
- You have to pay in advance for medical care; even if you have ‘insurance.’ Speaking of medical care, if I wanted to have another baby while I was living here (which I don’t!), I would have to search high and low for a doctor who would allow me to have a “natural” birth. And here, “natural” means vaginal. Over 80% of births here are c-sections (many of them scheduled). Whah?????!!!!!
- Car insurance is not required by law (though, it really should be, given the way people drive around here!!)
- It reaches 60 degrees in the morning here, and people walk around complaining about ‘winter’ and they wear scarves and coats and hats and the whole garb.
- Most kitchens do not have a dishwasher or double sink in them, but rather those things (plus the washer/dryer) are in a room next to or behind the kitchen called the ‘scullery.’ Super annoying when you need a big sink for food prep at dinner time!
- Pretty much everything closes for the entire month of December here (which I am quite looking forward to, since it’s summer then!)
- South Africans use phrases like “Just now” and “Now now”…..sounds like they mean “Right now” right? Nope. It just means later (at best) or sometime in the somewhat near future. Definitely not “just now.”
I do find it really interesting to see the differences in culture when I travel. It’s especially neat when you get the chance to live somewhere and really interact with people on a day-to-day basis. I can be frustrating, sure, but mostly it’s just really interesting and enlightening!
I hope to keep track of all these things so we have a nice little record of this really neat place we got to live once. :)