Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What South Africa Thinks of the US (and other weird things)

Let me preface this entry by saying that this is definitely from my very limited perspective and is mainly absorbed through pop culture.

The US is:
  • Otherwise known as “America”. It’s of no use to explain that there are several Americas which are also continents. To say that Brazil is also in an America is absolutely absurd.
  • The home of Barack Obama. These are usually the first words that are said to you after you say you’re American. I definitely don’t mind this one!
  • The birthplace of KFC which I am going to say is the more popular than McDonald’s around here. To quote a South African, “South Africans love their chicken. It’s the most important food.”
  • Where excellent music comes from. Music like Michael Bolton, The Backstreet Boys (I heard “Larger Than Life” like 5 times in one morning on our bus driver’s mix. I could have gladly gone my post-middle school life without ever hearing that one again…), Boys II Men, Whitney Houston (Andy can do an AMAZING falsetto of “I Will Always Love You”. I’m very excited to find out that there are still things about him I don’t know), and Beyonce (this is the most recent of the tunes I’ve gotten to hear).
  • Where excellent TV comes from. TV many of us have long forgotten such as Silk Stalkings, Girlfriends, and the OC. Then, there’s the TV I wish I could forget such as the hours (yes plural) of WWE wrestling I’ve been subjected to, though watching our host grandmother yell “One, Two, Three” every time a guy goes down is pretty amusing.
I can’t vouch for what’s playing in the theaters, but the movies that have come to television are absolutely top-notch (I’m dripping with e-sarcasm right now, if that hasn’t translated). We did take the time to view The Whole Ten Yards (a downright awful sequel to The Whole Nine Yards which I’ve never actually seen) and a large portion of 2 Fast 2 Furious, and have seen previews for Around the World in 80 Days (the Jackie Chan version) and I Spy (an Eddie Murphy/Owen Wilson team-up?!).
  • Seemingly not that interesting in terms of news. I have seen fairly constant coverage of the gender scandal of the South African world-record runner, but unless someone important from the US is actually in South Africa, talking about South Africa, or is Michael Jackson, there’s nothing interesting to report about it. So if anyone wants to send me emails with US news, it would be much appreciated!!

Some weird things about South Africa (and life in general):
  • If you don’t want to get stuck eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch again, you can run on over to the “Tuck Shop” and buy a sandwich from the Sandwich Man. What kind of sandwich you ask? Why a hotdog, bologna, french fries, American cheese slice, and Achaar (a pickled mango spread) surrounded by 4 slices of bread sandwich, of course!
  • If you get sick (like I unfortunately did last week), no worries. They have effervescent tablets with aspirin, vitamin C, and pseudoephedrine (the real stuff) that you just plop in water and drink.
  • If you have trash or seemingly annoying brush, just burn it! I have inhaled more smoke in the last month (I can’t believe we’ve been here a month!!), than I have in my lifetime.
  • If you are a valley girl in search of a good home, have no fear. You can just hop on over to one of the big cities (Johannesburg, Pretoria) and go to a mall. A mall. A mall like any mall you would see in the US, but with different names for the stores with the same kinds of items. I had Thai food. I went to a Woolworth’s that had a grocery store. I experienced First World/Third World for the first time. My mind was officially blown.

That’s all for now, folks! We’re getting our site placements on Friday which everyone is quite anxious for, and then it’s off to the site for a week to check things out. That means internet might not be in my future next week, but I’ll do my best to report sooner rather than later. Love, love, love!


  1. I have to say I really didn't get this whole blogging thing; why would anyone want to post what they were doing and better yet, why would anyone read it?

    Now I understand...can't wait for the next installment.
    Love you!

  2. Enjoyed the bloggin' and good to know where you guys are this week! Am sending the link to grandma. Hugs to you both.