These are some of the things we have experienced in South Africa so far…our new normal. #truth
Everything here is pre-pay: Internet, electricity, cell phones, gas. When you run out of what you’ve paid for, they shut your power off. Our first week here we ran out of power right around 10:30 pm, and everything went pitch black. Guess we’re out of electricity. :} But it’s easy to buy more. We go to the convenient store right by our apartment, give the guy our meter number, and tell him how much we want to buy. We get a receipt with a 20-digit number on it, you punch the number into your electric meter at home and your back up and running.
Adjusting to the 9 hour time difference was a beast. The first week in Cape Town we were exhausted everyday. As such, our ambition to find food was at an all time low. This is what our fridge and dish drying rack looked like during those two weeks. You can see what the essentials in our house are…sugar! We had gathered the last of the scraps in our cupboards in Salt Lake and this is what was left after our 34 hours of traveling. We may have lost some weight with our meager rations. :}
The Fun Stuff… 🙂
Rob has literally almost kicked two rats while walking across the street, and we’re not talking little homely rats scurrying shyly across lonely side streets; we are talking BIG FAT rats running across busy streets in the middle of the city – So gross! It is not uncommon to see rats anywhere you go in the city.
The birds in Cape Town are not shy! They swoop SO low! Rob was almost hit square in the face by birds on at least two occasions and if I hadn’t ducked at just the right moment the other day, I would have been beaned in the back of the head by a low swooping pigeon!! There are tons of pigeons in the Company Gardens behind our house and people feed them, catch them on their arms, and treat them like they are special rare bird or something… what?? Since when are pigeons highly prized birds?? I am a bird lover, but pigeons?? Really?? No thank you!
At our first apartment there were small cockroaches (that word alone gives me the heebeegeebees) in the shower, often on the bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom floor too. One day while I was washing the dishes a cockroach crawled out of the cabinet below the sink right by my foot!! As soon as my eyes met that little grotesque monster, I jumped sky high – My reflexes have never been so fast! Try opening the fridge and finding a friendly cockroach wiggling its legs, taunting you… super gross! How the heck did he get in our fridge?? It was then that we noticed a bent corner which provided an opening with just enough space for that sickly creature to slide its skinny body into the cool fridge along the top of the door. I HATE cockroaches! I just noticed that I had wrapped my feet up around the chair legs off of the floor as I was writing this post! They make me want to barf!
We see insects on the daily. I am less alarmed every time; don’t love it but, kind of expect it. Without shame Rob screams and parades away like a little girlie when he sees any crawly things in our home. He’s my little bug princess. 😉 By default I have become the bug killer in our marriage! Someones got to do it!
The public transportation in Cape Town is inexpensive, but is not the most reliable. The train in particular. Rob’s first week at his internship he had to go out to Stellenbosch for a meeting, which is 45 minutes away. He made it to his meeting, and on the way home he a tad late getting to the train. He ran his little heart out, but the train had already started to pull away from the station when he got to the platform. One of the train car door windows was completely broken out, and Rob heard a guy yell from inside the train, “jump through the window!” Rob ran, jumped, and squeezed his body through the open window, barley making it as the train pulled away from the station – phew! Dedicated!
While Rob is at work (internship) I sometimes venture out on my own. I have had some funny experiences on these solo outings! In our last apartment complex I use to go workout at the rooftop gym while Rob was at work. My first time up there a personal trainer was training an older man. After I finished my workout I introduced myself. The whole time the trainer and I were talking he was flexing his pecks, alternating back and forth between the two – hahaha! Totally awkward and distracting!
Another time I was walking home along Adderley Street and out of nowhere this old woman ranted at me as we walked down the street. She kept repeating, “foreigners know nothing about South Africa!” She would ask me a question and then proceed to yell at me for my responses, no matter what they were. I said South Africa is very beautiful. She jolted back, motioning to the surrounding area, “what’s beautiful about it?!” in an angry, bitter tone with her bushy eye brows furrowed. After a few blocks of this I couldn’t take the yelling anymore and increased my pace to lose her. Guess by walking along the sidewalk I really tipped her off! :}
One day I had spent far too much time indoors and so with Rob’s encouragement I went to the Company Garden’s just behind our house. The gardens is a lovely park with statues, birds, a couple of fountains, a restaurant, a vegetable garden, etc. I was sitting on a bench alone when a middle-aged man approached me and asked if he could take a picture with me. I asked him why. He said “beauty” as he flashed his silver toothy grin in my direction. I reluctantly agreed, feeling pretty weird about it. Here is this random guy who I have never seen before asking to take a photo with me. I held my hand over my phone in my back pocket as he inched closer for the photo. He smiled a big cheesy grin, snapped a photo, and he and his friend were on their way. Very awkward!
One time Rob got onto the bus a little ahead of me. The guy behind me looked at me and said, “you better go with your man or I steal you,” in a kind of playful half-serious tone. Not sure how to respond to that one! The things people say!
These experiences are not few and far between for us so I promise there will be more to come! 🙂