While I appreciate differences in customs, routines, and culture there are some things here in South Africa that just seem to make little sense. I am constantly reminded here that when it comes to culture, instead of making a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ judgement, I must first tell myself it is purely different. So, I’m not saying these oddities are ‘bad’ or ‘stupid’…they are just…odd:
- There is no standard plug in South Africa. This means that while the lap may plug into the wall just fine, your South African phone charger may need an adapter because the plug doesn’t fit.
- In England they differentiate chips (french fries) and crisps (chips). In South Africa, they are both called chips.
- Public schools have uniforms which families must buy. However, public education is free. Why not make it all free?
- There are currently no auto factories in South Africa, so cars must be imported from other countries. This makes purchasing a car quite expensive. Apartheid ended 16 years ago, I think it’s time for auto industries to invest in South Africa.
- When traveling to South Africa, you must have two blank pages in your passport otherwise you will (most likely) not be let into the country. I’m not sure the reason for this, but the first time I heard that I thought ‘I wonder why South Africa doesn’t want well-traveled people in their country’.
- Because of the lack of industry here, mascara is about $20. As in, 20 US Dollars. Yea, I can go without it if need-be.
- Even though hitch hiking is illegal, I’ve seen more hitch hikers here than I ever have in the US.
- The light switches are upside down. To turn it on, you flip it down instead of up.
- There are some companies here that have no competition (like the phone company, there’s only one provider for landlines) however there are commercials advertising it.
I’ll probably have others as my time here continues but these are the ones that really stick out to me. Different is good and I’m embracing these oddities that are now a part of my everyday life.