Aug 22, 2011

Ways in which America is unquestionably superior to South Africa

1. Beer.  When I arrived in Denver after a marathon 24 hours in the air, I sat down at a pub in the airport and ordered a porter, and it was by far the best beer I've had in two years.  The taste of freedom.  Speaking of which...

2. Customer service.  The bartender at this place also had the best customer service I've had in two years.  Friendly, polite, cheerful, and very well-timed.  Quite a shift from the usual South African sullenness where you have to practically lay out bear traps for the waiter to get the bill.

3. Food.  My mother made some corned beef with vegetables, and a shortbread with Palisade peaches for dessert, and it was a workout my tongue hasn't experienced in some time.  There's good food to be had in South Africa, but more often it's a kind of red-headed stepchild of old British cuisine consisting of small variations on "boil it into an unrecognizable paste."

4. Construction.  Walking around my family home, designed and built almost entirely by my father, I notice that the standard of construction is substantially higher.  It's often in the details, but in my experience that's what makes a home feel very high-quality.  For example: all the doors are hung exactly right.  No falling open or closed.  All the taps, excuse me, faucets, are correctly and consistently labeled (that's a mistake you'll find even at high-end places in South Africa).  The house is designed so in the winter, the sun shines inside and warms the place, but in summer, it's stopped by an overhang.  I never saw a building in South Africa that was designed with the sun in mind.  As far as I can tell, a great number of the buildings were put up in the 70s and haven't been improved since then.

5. No roosters outside my window.  Good lord, that is a relief.  On a run this morning, I noticed that some of my neighbors out here in the boonies actually have roosters, but so long as I can't hear them from my bedroom, that's acceptable.  I don't imagine this will happen, but if I see any on my property, I'm gonna take em out with my dad's new varmint gun (which is great fun, by the way).


  1. And no donkys. At least, here in Michigan. Don't miss them, or the dung, at all. I love the green. Everything is so green here, so very green. My eyes are just so happy to feast on the grass and the trees, the rivers and the lakes, I really missed this. B

  2. I totally know what you mean about the green. Our part of Northern Cape was just bleached out.