With just less than a week left I felt like doing a compilation of stuff that I find weird, different or amusing here in South-Africa. Be that customs, rules or anything. So I'll start with my favourite one:
1. The public taxis, or combis.
These are vans that drive around a certain route and pick up anyone who needs a ride, much like a bus. But unlike a bus, they don't have predefined stops and if you jump on the front seat, you'll have to help the driver count the money. You also don't pay when you get in or get out. People pay at seemingly random times and hand money around the car announcing how many people they're paying for. Stopping the taxi also needs some knowledge. At least in Lenasia, if you want to go driving around Lenasia you point down when stopping the taxi. This route costs R7 (around 40cents). If you're going to Joburg, you point up and it costs R16 (around 1€). The condition of the taxis also amuses me. Some of them clatter and make so much noise and are just generally banged up beyond recognition and might be missing some glasses and just have some loose plastic covering the holes instead. In one of them, the shift stick was loose and everytime the driver changed a gear, he hit me in the knee with it.
2. Car guards
People on parking lots that you pay to watch your car so it doesn't get stolen.
3. Phrases, words etc.
The one I hear is the most is "howzit". It's not a question, just a hello. After that it's "eish", "izit", "lekker, "sho" (I have no idea to spell it), "yoh", (usually repeated many times". One thing that amuses me is how many nicknames I have here. I always get lots of nicknames but here people have trouble pronouncing my name so they just call me whatever version they're comfortable with, like Tunalo, Tunali, Tanala, Tanel, Tunala etc. My favorite though is Tananas. Apparently it means being little tipsy, and most people call me that. Even people that I don't recognise greet me with that name.
Television is on, always, everywhere.
The amount of dogs is mind boggling. There are dogs everywhere, I guess people keep them as guards and when they breed, you get strays. Funniest animal related thing I've seen though is a small herd of goats and cows grazing in an unofficial garbage dump. I just always forget to take a picture of it when passing that shack town.
6. Attitudes and work ethics
For a Finn, this is hard to get used to. Lots of stuff is left for the last moment and the whole pace of the day seems slow. Arranging a transport for example takes a long time, when I was leaving for Cape Town, I only got a ride 8 hours before I was supposed to be at the airport. People wake up really early but don't accomplish that much. Only expection is housework, or at least in my host family. The whole house is clean, dishes and laundry done before I even wake up.
People are really friendly, but cashiers NEVER smile. Even the security guards smile when they greet you, but not those cashiers.
8. Hot water
Very few houses I've been to give hot water straight out of the tap. I guess it's to save electricity.
9. Walls and gates.
10. Vendors in traffic lights.
They're really persistent too, if they see a potential buyer they will run after the car. Most of the time they actually catch them too because of the horrible traffic lights, which brings us to the next point.
11. Traffic lights
Pedestrian traffic lights never tell the truth, they might show green when cars are speeding by and red when no-one is moving for a minute. Just cross the road when cars moving to the same direction as you are moving.
I'm probably missing a lot funnier or more unimaginable things but I really wabted to get this post out tonight.