I'm going to Lesotho this weekend and am going to do the highest abseil in the entire world. So I can cross that off the list. See here.
South Africa has the highest number of HIV infections in the world. Something like 70% of the worlds' cases exist in sub-Saharan Africa. See here.
My hands are doing just fine, because its summer here, but even in the winter it stays warm enough and there's enough moisture in the air that I don't think I'd have a problem. I'm debating whether this is a sign, or not - but I like living somewhere that I don't have to worry about them.
Tipping is a bigger part of life here, there's more of it, but you tip less, amount-wise.
The food here is pretty good. Pizza rocks. Chinese sucks. Burgers are average. Bacon is different and is sub par so bacon cheeseburgers are right out. Salads are not big here as its a very meat-eating culture, so usually they're average at best. Steaks are pretty darn good, and the highest-end ones are cheap, in USD. They have most of the normal fruits and veggies I'm used to although my blueberries are now imported from Europe. They have Hass avocados (but they call them avos, here), so this officially qualifies as somewhere on the planet I could live long term. Cheeses are average, and the selection is much smaller. The water is fine, haven't had any problems with it. Oh and there's an organic strawberry yogurt from Woolies (Woolworth's) that I will miss very much when I leave.
Its still a pretty lonesome (which is a different word than lonely) experience here on the whole. I don't really have a lot of friends, and the nature of the work is such (typical of a consulting project) that I don't have a lot of evening time to make them. I've been trying to make them through church and so forth, but my social muscles have gone a little slack. Plus the whole introversion thing. I have more time to myself (be it working or otherwise) than is probably good for me.
The Rand (ZAR - their monetary unit) is back up to almost 6.80 against the USD. It was 7.30 when I got here, and dipped below 6.50 at points in the last 2 months. So now is a better time to go on vacation, but still could be better.
I am behind on my work.
Things that the sore on the inside of my cheek where I accidentally bit myself does not like: Italian dressing. Also, chips and guacamole, but its just had to learn to deal with that one.
There aren't a lot of cops here (and they wonder why there's a crime problem). So sometimes, when I stay late in the office, and there's not a lot of traffic out, I drive home like I'm in a Rally race. Which is pretty fun.
I've developed either a sinus infection or an allergy to something in the last 24 hours. I hope its the former and I hope it goes away soon.
I get to watch everybody wake up, so to speak, as daylight generally hits their part of the world and they log on to their various IM application of preference. When I get in, the London people usually show up about an hour after me. Around 2pm US the early birds from the Eastern US start to show up. Western US joins about 3 hours later, as 5pm here is 7am their time. I can also see who's generally up late in the US, because they're still online when I get in every morning.
It will be strange going back to the US and jumping straight into winter. Hasn't felt like Christmas here one little bit. Its hot. You don't have Christmas when its hot.
I'm gonna have a heck of a lot of video editing to catch up on when I get home.
We have a pretty cool 2-bed / 2-bath apartment here in Pretoria. By "we" I mean Paul, the consultant who joined the team recently, and myself. We're paying too much for the rent (by local standards) but its under our project budget so its not a big deal. Its furnished comfortably, although the general theme of the place is fairly minimalist, and has lots of nice deck space to sit out on (its a penthouse apartment). I'll try to get some pictures of it up. I miss the old place a little but the bed in this one is way more comfy, which is a big plus, although I'm struggling more to get up in the morning and run. Its right across the street from a shopping center, which is pretty key seeing as we share a car.
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"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."