30 December 2009

catching up ; also, why am i here, anyway? i don't have the "africa bug" that people keep talking about.

i will try to make more than one post today, largely because the things i want to talk about are just so different. 

first of all, it doesn't look like india is going to happen. i lost so much money on the sale of my house, and there were a few unexpected costs and expenses that arose, which not only will put india on hold, but also my plans for the uk, as well. it's more and more likely that i will be here through the world cup at least. color me unhappy. 

that said, there is something i really want to put out there with regard to why i'm living in south africa in the first place. the racial attitudes where i attended both high school and university wanted me to live somewhere that black people just weren't expected to be second-class citizens. this killed almost anywhere in latin america, which is kind of sad. i actually like latin america, but having to speak in english to the police in order to show i'm not "a local black person" gets real tiring real quick. both my spanish and portuguese are good enough, still, for me to have lived almost anywhere in brazil or the bits of latin america touching the caribbean. 

secondly, i wasn't going to live anywhere with regular snowfall. sorry, no. the winter of 1993-4 has put me off of snowfall for life. 30cm of snow every wednesday for 10 weeks... as the mtn commercials says, this is not ayoba. washington is tolerable, but not a place to stay forever due to this. london's having two major snowfalls in ten months is starting to worry me. eish. 

thirdly, i was not going to get trapped on any island that i would be trapped on during a hurricane. not only does this eliminate most caribbean islands, but it also eliminates places as seychelles and mauritius. 

fourthly, no mosquitoes. i'm not doing malaria or yellow fever again. this eliminates most of west africa and/or any country where i have to get the yellow fever jab. 

finally, i need to have a favorable exchange rate, and to have a place to live with internet access and easy access to nightclubs. that's it. sadly, this eliminates my preferred choice -- senegal -- as it is eurozone. the west african franc is hard-pegged to the euro, and the last few years have been painful. it had gotten down to nearly 400 cfa to the dollar. god, i can't afford that. horrid. 

and so, this is how i ended up in south africa. it essentially fit all of those criteria. none of this "africa bug" that people keep talking about; it was the only place that met most of my criteria. cape town fit it better than johannesburg did -- cape town doesn't get cold enough to snow, while it has snowed twice in joburg while i've been here, not to mention the beach being down the street from my house -- and so i'm here. 

what i haven't expected is the level of official xenophobia that exists here. it's been so hard to secure a residence permit without marrying anyone or knowing someone or being a dollar millionaire that i'm basically giving up. it's a major reason i'm upset that i'm basically stranded here for another year. 

i'll get over it, but eish. 


Balanced Melting Pot said...

Wow, you had very specific criteria, but it's good to know what you want. So, from your explanation, South Africans do not expect black people to live as second-class citizens, but there is a high level of xenophobia. I guess you're not able to easily "pass" as a black South African?

kwerekwere said...

the short answer to your question is: i'm too tall. most south africans over 30 are around 5 feet tall; few are taller than 5ft6, and i'm 5ft11.

most south africans who are around my age who are close to my height are either only children, or the youngest or oldest by such a significant margin that their parents didn't need to share resources during those crucial nutritional development years.

this country is an excellent case study in the effects of nutrition between pre-pregnancy and age five with regard to ultimate height.

south african television is also pretty fun to watch for this reason; an actor who is six feet tall tends to tower over everyone else, and they have to re-frame the shots.

Ladyfingers said...

Australia has worked out pretty well for me.

I think you'd prefer Melbourne to Sydney, culturally speaking, but Sydney does have the better weather.