adrian is rad


the man next to the aisle didn’t kneel down

Filed under: — adrian @ 12:45 pm

kentucky bend, from Strange Maps

From the very interesting Strange Maps post about the Kentucky Bend enclave.

Mark Twain writes in Life on the Mississippi:

Both families belonged to the same church … They lived each side of the line, and the church was at a landing called Compromise. Half the church and half the aisle was in Kentucky, the other half in Tennessee. Sundays you’d see the families drive up, all in their Sunday clothes, men, women, and children, and file up the aisle, and set down, quiet and orderly, one lot on the Tennessee side of the church and the other on the Kentucky side; and the men and boys would lean their guns up against the wall, handy, and then all hands would join in with the prayer and praise; though they say the man next the aisle didn’t kneel down, along with the rest of the family; kind of stood guard.



Filed under: — adrian @ 8:16 am

goat in the road, Ingwavuma
a sheep in the road in ‘town’ in Ingwavuma

As I hinted at earlier, I am returning to Ingwavuma. I’ll be helping withZisize‘s children’s radio project once again.

I leave Friday and I’ll be there for most of October and November.

I’ll be back in Cape Town for about 10 days in December before heading back to Charlotte, US America. I’ll go to DC before returning to Charlotte for Christmas. I’ll spend New Year’s and some time after in Boston and then some time in Philadelphia. Or something like that. I haven’t figured it all out yet.


with time the abnormal becomes normal

Filed under: — adrian @ 2:27 pm

After a while the abnormal becomes normal. Recently I’ve been trying to think about all the things that fall into that category as far as living in South Africa goes.

Car guards tend to shock visitors. They’re guys who watch your car (often at night) while you’re in a restaurant or store or whatever. And when your car is still there after eating, you give them a small tip. But to visitors it’s a strange guy running up to their car as they approach it.

security concerns in south africa
various security measures in South Africa

In general security is a big concern here. Seeing razor wire and ’emergency’ buttons is the rule rather than the exception. I would call this more ‘usual’ than ‘normal’.

A few weeks ago, I went to see a movie with a large group and it was a bit of a debacle. In this theater, one could book specific seats and because it was a large group, the organizer booked a chunk of seats ahead of time. At the last minute the theater pushed two showings of the movie into one screen. We were delayed while they were reassigning our seats and the movie had already started. The organizer grabbed the manager. “You stop this movie right now and start it over! And give us a proper block of seats!” And that’s just what they did–they stopped the movie, turned on the lights, worked out our seats, and restarted the movie, 15 or 20 minutes after they’d stopped it.

It seemed like an entire situation that I wouldn’t have seen in the US.

electrical plate
an old electrician’s name plate with a 4 digit phone number

I’m getting used to the technology lag here. It’s not as bad as it once was—TV was introduced in 1976. Most of the iPads here were brought from abroad and iPhone 4s are hailed as ‘coming soon!’. The first even moderately affordable uncapped internet plans became available a few months ago (and they’re still slow).

I have no idea when the electrician’s name plate above is from but I think 4 digit phone numbers haven’t been used in the States for a very long time. (Five digit numbers were introduced in NYC in 1930.)

A social costum that I found odd here, though I don’t have that much experience, is that at parties, the drinks you bring are still yours. I’ve always found the social convention in the US America to be that as soon as you bring drinks to a party, they’re no longer yours, but are available for public consumption. Those socialist Americans!

skye way
Skye Way stairs in Cape Town

Like Pittsburgh and to a far lesser extent San Francisco, Cape Town’s hillier neighborhoods have named stairs. There are a number in my neighborhood that I used on a frequent basis, some for getting places and some just to go for walks. A road often dead-ends into them and the stairs keeps the road’s name, though there are some places where the stairs are named independently as [name] Trappies/ Stairs.

Though it has something like 4.5 million inhabitants, Cape Town is a small city. Though I know what I feel like is very few people, I will run into people I know when I’m out or I’ll meet people who know people I already know.

Though it’s a small city, Cape Town is a giant city. Geographically, the City of Cape Town stretches very far. I can drive an hour or more in a number of different directions and still be within official city limits.

The other day I was walking down the street and saw a car turning right and thought ‘that car is turning into the wrong lane!’ Nope. But that was the only time I’ve thought of a car driving on the right side of the road for a long time.

A friend, a German citizen, recently got a job offer here so she needed to get a work permit from the Department of Home Affairs. The work permit process takes up to two months. In the meantime, the employee at Home Affairs suggested she work informally (that is, illegally) until the permit came through.

The department in charge of getting immigrants to work legally suggests they don’t?

I wanted to get the telephone and DSL put into my flatmate’s name so I went down to the Telkom office. They had us fill out a form but they realized that the DSL company ‘owned’ our line. Their suggestion for how to get name on the line changed: cancel our DSL, change the name, restart the DSL. Of course that would leave about two weeks in which we wouldn’t have internet while the various ownership transfers went through…

I noticed recently that I’ll say various local words or usages without thinking, such as stoep rather than porch or stoop and toilet instead of bathroom or restroom.


the adrian

Filed under: — adrian @ 11:35 am

View Larger Map

(View it larger if it’s not clear.)

I like the definite article here.

Thanks to Colin for sending this.


thank you, internet

Filed under: — adrian @ 10:47 am

I’m listening to the Steelers opener online. This makes me so happy. This brings me to two conclusions. 1) The internet is awesome. 2) I love the Steelers in a completely irrational way. I’m fine with that.

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