comedic masterpiece about handwashing stuff made me appreciate once again what a magnificent appliance the washing machine is. I bow down and give thanks to the mines, the iron smelters, the steel foundries, the (probably) Chinese manufacturers, the 104,400 ton freighters, and the national transport system that makes it all possible. ( Dryers, on the other hand, seem to me to be mainly an expensive waste of electricity. Wet clothes are why God made the sun.)
2. Low crime. By developed world standards, America is a rather violent place. But in my corner of Colorado, we sleep with the doors and cars unlocked. That is simply unheard of in South Africa, and it's quite the psychological relief to not be constantly looking over your shoulder. It's the kind of thing you don't really notice until you stop doing it, like a muscle you didn't realize you were constantly clenching. (I'm moving to DC though, lets hope I don't get beat up by random douchebags.)
3. Road construction. I remember some road repairs in South Africa that had started before I got there in July 2009 and weren't even close to finished when I left in August 2011. Here I saw a road resurfacing out here in the boonies that, though it was a fairly simple and small project, was finished in about three days. I never saw anything even get started in that time in South Africa.
I know I was saying South Africa's got the edge when it comes to dynamic governance, but by that I meant that they try and do big, ambitious projects. Because it's South Africa, once they're started, it probably takes quite a bit longer than it would here, but at least they're trying. Here we've got way better construction crews and the like, we've just got a "can't do spirit" that precludes basically everything except desperately needed repairs.