It’s always the little things that stick. The past eight weeks have been a whirlwind. My Emzingo journey in South Africa has made me fall in love with thirteen other crazy students and this beautiful country. But crazy students aside (they deserve a separate post dedicated to themselves), I have made a list of the strangest and most intriguing small details that make South Africa, well, South Africa. If that makes sense. You’ll understand if you are here!
Vertical toilet rolls
Yes, you read that correctly. In South Africa, many toilet rolls are placed vertically. It’s clever actually. This way, once the roll is finished, you can easily remove the bottom roll and a new roll from above will simply fall down into place, ready for use.
Fresh food and ingredients I can pronounce
If food is a universal language that everyone loves and can bond over, then let South Africa be the poster child for delicious food. The food here is very fresh! Whereas in North America, there is a clear distinction between “regular” food vs. “organic” food, here in South Africa, the line is wonderfully blurred. Imagine picking up a container of hot sauce and being able to pronounce and understand every single ingredient.
Load shedding is essentially scheduled blackouts by the electricity suppliers in order to prevent excessive power usage that can overload the generators. Although there are planned, prepare for sporadic blackouts nonetheless.
Have you ever had avocado on pizza? In a hamburger? There’s been avocado offerings on practically every menu. Also much more affordable than in North America, consider South Africa an avocado paradise.
Short green lights
Whenever you are about to cross a street in South Africa prepare to sprint. Two steps onto the road, prepare to see a blinking red man, warning you that your time to cross is almost up. Run quickly!
South African humour
The South African humour is delivered with a stoic and straight face. Here’s a list of the times I was fooled. df
What’s an avocado?
One afternoon while I was sorting my avocados, Lee, one of the drivers of the lodge, came in and stared at me strangely.
“What’s that?” He asked pointing at the avocado in my hand.
I stared back blankly. In truth, I should’ve realized that this was all an intricate joke for Lee’s amusement. Call me gullible. I asked Lee several times over if he was sure he never came across this amazing fruit to which he proceeded to insist that he did not know what an avocado was.
So for the next 2 minutes, I explained to him the taste and texture, what it can be paired with, and then offered him an avocado. Lee nodded enthusiastically, took the avocado and then burst out laughing. My jaw fell to the ground and I gaped like a goldfish.
The origin of lollipops
According to my boss, it all began with a man named Mr. MmLolli…. In my defense, Jojo was there as well and when our boss said Mr. MmLolli, we both stared at each other with wide eyes and exclaimed; “Wow, it all makes sense now!” Call us both gullible. df
Broken stoves and no more breakfasts
Weekends are always a peculiar time during the week because we are don’t need to be up by 6:30/7:00am. Our B&B offers breakfast from 7:00 – 9:30am for all seven days of the week. More than once, I’ll walk into the kitchen on a weekend asking for two scrambled eggs with mushrooms, and the mamas will look at me straight faced and proclaim that there’s no more breakfast. I look at the clock and surely I’m reading it wrong because I see 8:30am. I’m perplexed until I remember the time when a mama told another unlucky victim (one of the other Emzingo cohorts) that the stove was broken and breakfast was over. So let it be told once again of the many times a mama has tricked me for their amusement. In truth, I should be better prepared but secretly, I might enjoy the pranks and banter.
There’s a million more little things that fully illustrate the beauty of South Africa, but let these six quick highlights be a prologue to your potential next trip there! And of course, how can we exclude an African sunset picture? Every night, they really are as beautiful as depicted in movies.