Monday, July 12, 2010

A good place

So we're out of apartheid and conflict and all the awful things that various groups did to other groups becuase of it. Thank God. Enough is enough. South Africa (despite reports to the contrary) is actually quite a nice place to live. I like it here. I wouldn't trade it for anywhere else, and its not that I haven't been anywhere else. Alright, I'm not so widely travelled, but I don't think that there will ever be any place quite like it. I bristle like a porcupine when people fail to recognize its many virtues.

We've got fabulous weather, wide open spaces (not only between my ears), good people of all races and backgrounds (some bad ones too: it happens), economic growth (despite the recession elsewhere) and a government which, while at times cringe-worthy doesn't mess folks about too much. I'm not complaining.

We've got some of the most progressive legislation in the world: the laws relating to paternal rights, labour rights and environmental conservation to name but a few. We've got natural wonders, a low cost of living (with matching salaries - I'd 'earn' more being unemployed in Europe - so bring your small change and have a blast) and friendly service in the shops (I never could get over the 'we're doing you a favour' attitude in the 'old world').

Its a nice place. Most of it is pretty 'safe' (unless you like exploring slums) and the diversity both in its landscapes and its people is staggering.

Come and see! Enjoy! I do. You will.

Today's pic: The valley of desolation.


  1. First off- let me say I read Pure Tones stats and opinions on your prior post- and I was offended. I couldn't point to specifics because I don't know enough to do so. I do know that- much like our discussion of crisis oriented news- it is easy to find statistics and stories to support ones point of view.
    I've heard the things he said in other sources- that news is out there for sure. I also know that one could find horrible stuff about where I live and make it all about that- and I suppose some do. I choose not to.
    I think both of you write so well- for selfish reasons- I hope these debates are civil (even though PT wasn't in the previous post).
    In the end, I'll trust MM's (my BFF) point of view. She lives in South Africa- she knows the truth of her life. Those English chaps can be so irritating on so many levels! :-))) OK- I'll stop trying to smooth things over now. Play nice guys so we can all remain friends. We have a lot we can learn from each other.
    As I'm typing this I'm listening to the ongoing local story about thugs- I mean college football players- who beat up a policeman and put him in the hospital over the weekend. Yes- the football (American football, not soccer) players were black- the policeman white. Football rules here in the South- it's a large part of our economy and most of these guys probably barely finished high school- I have a tough time believing they passed their college entrance exams.
    Today's photo is lovely my friend.

  2. I've got to STOP doing this!! (Sorry MM- after this one- I'll try to contain myself, I promise.) The football players I mentioned will be expelled- but this is an ongoing issue here. The need for football (which drives our local economy) means these guys are exploited for their athletic ability- and the normal college entrance rules are ignored. It's a disservice to everyone. The players (all races) aren't held to a standard UNTIL they commit some crime that's known publicly- there is an outcry- but yet the football program operates as usual. No one questions that the university continues to recruit guys for their athletic ability- not for their academic standing. The double standard is MIND NUMBING!!! And NO ONE talks about it. The almighty dollar rules!!!

  3. So, after talking the place up, you mention that you lead off with a picture from a place called the valley of desolation? I like the US, but I wouldn't use Death Valley as a marketing tool.

  4. Ah Grant, but there is such peace in the valley of desolation! It looks quite beautiful to me.

    And PAMO you got your cartoon face all scrunched up! Never seen this side of you before. In my news I heard today about 60 people being brutally murdered just because they like soccer, because some fanatics believe that soccer is satanic. The world we live can be so beautiful, and so horrific as well. Thinking about it, the beauty of the valley of desolation is perfect.

  5. Dan- I did get my cartoon face all scrunched up- a perfect observation. And it totally sucked! I felt like an idiot for doing so. Back to being "me".

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  7. *edited for typos*

    I really, genuinely can't see where I was being offensive. Maybe it's because I'm not English - I'm a mix of Irish, Canadian, Ukrainian, etc. etc. who's lived on four different continents and as such maybe I'm blind in that I offended your sense of patriotism? Or if it sounded racist, I should put up a Mendel family pic some point - I have black, hispanic, middle eastern, sri lankan relatives so me being racist would be like saying I don't love my cousins.

    I lived in Nigeria when there was a military coup, and the only thing I remember of it was gunfire that I thought was thunder, and tanks rolling past our gated community. Living in a place doesn't mean that you know everything that's going on. Also, I don't find statistics to suit my opinions, but the other way round. Facts aren't the whole truth, but they are a skeleton over which to build subjective human experience.

    I apologise if I have offended you both. I speak my mind all the time, hence the title of my journal, "everything you say will destroy you" ...

  8. PT- For my part- I'm over it. It's that passion thing. It just bubbles out sometimes. I like your line: "Facts aren't the whole truth, but they are a skeleton over which to build subjective human experience."
    Often- the people who make me the most angry are who I learn from the most.
    My "English" dig was meant to be funny. It's kind of an American joke- but not appropriate, eh? Sorry about that. I too am made up of many bloodlines but am fully American. And believe me, I've heard what Europeans think about Americans! It's hard not to generalize- but again- I was out of line.
    While I greatly appreciate the apology- it isn't necessary. The title of your blog is perfect- I only wish I had thought of it.

  9. Peace Betheren and Sitherthen!

    Let's just say that terrible things are perpetrated by individulas for reasons of ideology or out of pure bloody-mindedness, and that ruins everything for everyone else.

    Its difficult not to seethe when such things happen. I'm aware that you had a traumatic time in Nigeria PT: the difference here is that it never went quite that far, despite all the reasons why we SHOULD have had a bloodbath, no-one really wanted it and we found another way.

    People, all people, are capable of evildoing - but its difficult not 'taking sides' when you've seen the worst. Just be careful of tarring everyone with the same brush. Its not really fair.

    All I can say about those statistics is that I've never heard the screams - never known anyone who was murdered. According to the stats, I should have. I don't trust stats, not even when I know the source and certainly not when I don't.

    Anyway. Its interesting how the controversy can arise just from a few reminiscences. I suppose this is visceral stuff. Given that our guts are now well and truly wrenched, I'm steering back to safer waters, at least for a time.

    I was intrigued by the football stories PAMO and Dan. We never hear about such things over here. What a crazy world we live in!

    The valley is desolate, its true, but yes. Its very, very peaceful. Just how I like life to be!

  10. By the way: I checked the source of your stats: a sampling of 4000 people (out of how many million?), and I'd like to see what the actual questions were. In this country, its considered polite to say 'Yes' if you don't understand, and also to tell people exactly what they want to hear. Its good manners.I wouldn't be able to function here if I didn't understand that. I wonder if the questionnaire was in English or in vernacular? It sure as hell isn't ideal to be taken as a fact. ITs more like a 'fact'. Which is the same as saying it ain't true.

    I don't think that this was taken into account.

  11. I'll dig the dirt about England if you like?

  12. But I'm not really English, so I wouldn't care ... I have many terrible things to say about the UK anyway ... and I didn't have a traumatic time in Nigeria, I had a bloody lovely time, and that I guess is my point.