Monday, September 29, 2008

things about south africa

  • Ketchup is called Tomato Sauce and BBQs are called Braais.
  • Stop lights are called robots and texting is called SMSing.
  • There are no smoke detectors yet all the windows and doors are barred and gated with locks.
  • It can be hot one day and monsoon raining the next (and cold!)
  • The light rail company has it's own jail for people that don't have tickets where they can keep people all day sometimes.
  • The grafitti is pretty good.
  • There is no such thing as dark beer, only seven types of lagers (including Miller Genuine Draft which is brewed here under that label)
  • Maltabella is a breakfast favorite made of the South African native grain red sorghum and has the consistency and look of re fried beans.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

JP2: There's Tom Waits to be heard in So_Af

I was in a pub called A Touch of Madness: A Victorian Quaffery (I, of course, call it the Victorian Qweefery) and Heart attack and vine came on. Bars are the same all over the world: smoke, old guys talking to young girls, bad jokes and coworkers discussing the day's crazies.

It's still stupid cold here, I'll let you all know when it's Speedo weather.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


On the 21st, Jenna's friend Guy took us on a drive through the country and in the mountains. This is a shot of Franschoek, a small wine town that's pretty well to do (and subsequently white.) We drove through and had some lunch. On the way up we went through Pine forests which seemed very familar and smaller towns where most of the people did farm work and felt the most "Africa" to me. A lot of it could have been Eastern Oregon with lakes and forests and mountains. Actually, a lot of it reminded me of the country around Livermore, California where I spent the first part of my formative years. The fam will know what I'm talking about.

The geography changes as fast as the weather around here. Yesterday was shorts weather and today it's 55 F with driving monsoon-like rain. Not that I've been in a monsoon, but if it rained like this Portland, people would be flippin' out.

Okay, over and out.

the coast

On the 20th, Jenna and I took the train down to a small coastal town called Muizenberg. It's a surfer hang out and much like coastal towns all over the world it had antique stores, art galleries and caf├ęs. It's funny how unexotic this place can be at times, but the coast was amazing. This is a picture of Kalk bay (fun to say) where we hung out for a few hours before the trains got too packed (Tokyo sardine style.) This is a pretty good place for whale watching which I hope to do soon.

This is a shot of some of the bazillions of shells to be found here. Rick Steves would probably say something like "a true beach combers delight." I have to admit it was pretty cool finding shells that you usually have to buy.

This is an example of simple Dutch Colonial architecture with the thatched roof. There other buildings around with elaborate facades as found in the Netherlands but they are more reserved here.

Sorry about the formatting, still trying to get this blogger software down. Most of you probably don't care but as a designer and recent recipient of 30k in student loan debt, I care a lot.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I finally received my bag thanks to Jenna's phone negotiation skills, it took about 12 hours and 5 different people to find out what we had to do to just get the bag. Blah blah blah, it got it though.
It's nice to be wearing my own underwear again.

I'm pretty jet lagged, I wake up feeling really heavy and my waking hours are really surreal. I think what adds to the surrealism is that this place seems familar to what I know (gas stations, hippie shops, supermarkets, homeless people, cars, etc.) but there are some radical differences in mindset and lifestyle that I have yet to grasp.

The house Jenna and I are staying is pretty cool, it has a hostel feeling to it. Jenna and I live with four Germans (one who is leaving soon) and two White South Africans. We share two bathrooms, a kitchen and an enclosed backyard space with two fire pits (or fire stations as the Germans call them) for braiis (BBQs). The house is two blocks away from the train stop which is very convenient and two blocks away from a supermarket (Ketchup is called tomato sauce.) I have wifi that I have to pay for by the megabyte which is odd to think of internet usage in those terms. I just buy a block at a time. We had our first community Braii last night and watched a movie. They're a great bunch of people. Germans have to either do a year of military or humanitarian service after school so these kids are in cape town working with the homeless and the disadvantaged. The one South African is working on his Doctorate in astronomy and is going to take Jenna and I to the observatory soon. The other is in advertising.

Jenna and I went to the coast on the second day, I'll make a separate blog entry about that and start including photos and video.

Take care.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Made it!

Okay, so I was going to craft a beautiful opener but eff it. I made it! Holy crap that was some serious traveling. The 'puter is about to die, but I wanted to let everyone know I made it and to tell those that know my bad luggage luck that my luggage was marked as dangerous and the airline in Frankfurt is refusing to send it. I think it's because it sat around for 8 hours (the duration of my layover.) Jenna and I (actually Jenna mostly because she is better at this sort of thing) are taking care of it. Hopefully tomorrow on the next flight out of Germany.

It's pouring rain here, good thing I'm used to it and very cold. The flight into Soaf was awesome, there was a lightning storm over Africa (we were flying over the ocean). I'll post a video soon. I also got put into first class because of a mix up with a family, so that worked out great for me. I'll do a more involved description of the wonders of first class next time.

Things are well overall, it's my first day and dealing with little hassles, but Jenna and I still love each other and are glad to be within high-five distance.

Hope you're well.