Continued from part I.
1. Public transport. I know, I said I was looking forward to leaving taxis and buses behind. Yet zooming out a little bit, the public transport system here is remarkably extensive and convenient. One can get fairly reliable and cheap rides to even the smallest villages out in the hinterlands, and it's really a remarkable feat of logistics. The bus companies, in particular, make for my money the best-organized, best-run, most efficient and most reliable system in South Africa. I'm sure the options are better in Sweden, but they sure as hell aren't in America.
2. Long runs and walks alone. My plan when I get back to America is to live for at least the next few years in Washington, DC, and while I'm sure there will be a lot of things to like about that, one of my favorite things to do here is wander around the bush alone. I grew up in remote rural towns, and when I moved to New York, the crush of people definitely took some getting used to. In my village, I can be walking alone in the riverbed inside of ten minutes, and the solitude in the wilderness is something I'm going to miss.
3. The countryside. All irritations aside, South Africa is really a staggeringly beautiful country. We've got plains, weird Utah-style desert (my personal favorite), developed world-quality cities, wetlands, imposing mountains, and a gazillion others. Though I bitch about the climate all the time, if you could build a half-decent house, it would be totally livable. Not really that hot or cold. Plus, where I live at least, it's dry. I find both dry heat and cold far, far more tolerable than the wet alternative.