September 7, 2010

Back Home

Just a quick post to tell you that we're back in Johannesburg, where a day of bright sunshine is just as sure as a power outage while you're gone. Thank goodness Sibu, our domestic, checked everything while we were gone, or we'd now be dealing with a very smelly freezer oozing all sorts of drippings, and probably a green pool. Turns out our friends at Eskom had once again turned off the power mistakenly, so sorry for the inconvenience. Funny how they always manage to do that when we're gone.

The news here is that South Africa has pretty  much been on strike while we were travelling. Teachers and nurses and other public workers are demanding 8.6% more pay and not happy with the 7.5% the government has offered, even though inflation is below 3%. This has led, for instance, to TB patients being released from hospitals to go and spread their drug resistant strains among the general population. Sibu tells me of relatives who have died because they were turned away from the emergency room. Once again, this leaves me feeling very grateful that we can afford alternatives in health care and schooling, but I cannot help but feel terrible about such a miserable reality for so many people.

On a more local level, we have been advised that it might soon be raining shit, excuse my language. But it's true! There is this sewage pipe that spans the entire valley of our neighborhood, and apparently its protective aluminum siding is progressively being stripped by enterprising thieves (you wouldn't believe what kinds of things are stolen around here) and the newly exposed pipe is in danger of spilling. Just one more thing to keep an eye out for!

The last bit of news is that I received my first traffic ticket! All this time I'd been on the lookout for the police, after Noisette having to empty his wallet for them, but what had not been on my mind at all was speed cameras. I can now tell you that they definitely have them in Joburg, somewhere on Main Street going into Randburg. They sent me (or actually Noisette, as the car is registered in his name - that's another story) a notice, complete with picture and everything, and please to pay it ASAP or there will be an additional fine. Seeing as it was only R250, I obliged, but have made a vow to be more careful in the future.

Welcome home is all I can say!


Sine said...

I just realized my last two blog headings didn't make much sense - "home leave" meant going to the U.S., and "back home" meant coming back home to Joburg. But that's exactly how it is for us!

W. A. Jeffrey said...

It is good that you can laugh at these things. I too feel sorry for those who suffer under the bad stuff which even though 5 years has passed, similar things go on from time to time. While I would never say so in person, my advice to the locals would be to stop voting for the ANC. I doubt they stick with the same brand of coffee or soap if it keeps disappointing them so why should politics be any different?

Sine said...

Yes, hard to understand but then again, we are not tribal people brought up to support our tribe above all else. I suspect that is the main reason for the ANC's strength, or perhaps more the fact that it was a protest organization for so long that it has defined generations of people. But support for them IS eroding, to the extent that I've read that it might not be many elections down the road that it will lose Gauteng. If the Democratic Alliance can keep their act together and attract more black members and leaders, it might happen sooner than later. The fact that the Cape Province is continually better governed with better infrastructure and living conditions is not lost on the population at large, I think.