Saturday, November 22, 2014



The opinions expressed within this blog aren't really Logan's but things Logan has picked up from talking to a variety of people.  My opinions on South Africa are as follows:  I am very grateful to my hosts for allowing me to live here cheaply.  I've met a lot of interesting people and hope to meet more.  That's really all I've got.  I'm just a temporary visitor.


Warren and Leon took me to a hooters here in Johannesburg, South Africa.  It was pretty much like every other hooters in the USA.  Girls with tight shirts and pasted on smiles trying to be chipper without much luck.

Fortunately, none of us were there to view the women.  We were there to chat about travel.

Both Warren and Leon are pretty well traveled, especially considering they live well away from...well, any where people really want to travel.  It's one thing to travel Europe when you live in say Czech Republic, quite another when you are all the way at the tip of Africa.

Fortunately, the 'load shedding' black outs hit the hooters and the overly loud background music was killed.

Hate music so much.  Conversation is better.

In South Africa, they have a lot of problems which come out regularly in day to day living.  This is different than in the USA where suddenly the house you still owe money on has dramatically reduced in value.

Here, they have massive corruption that causes them to turn off the electricity from time to time.  Since the electrical company has switched from government owned to a 'for profit' company, they've found more money to be made if they don't actually provide a service.

This is so wide spread that there is an ongoing joke about the people of Johannesburg becoming confused if they get to a traffic light that is working.  This actually happened when Leon was driving me around.

Another of the problems is the huge chasm between the 'haves' and the 'have nots'.  Something like 80-90% of the population live in shanty towns on subsistence farming, mugging, domestic work and other criminal enterprises.

Every traffic light has either beggars or people attempting to sell things nobody wants.  A common trick is to check out things lying in view within the car.  Should there be anything good, the beggar can either text his buddy or stick a piece of gum to the side of your car.  Within a kilometer or so, a smash and grab takes place.

There is a reason South Africa is easily the most paranoid country of any I've been to in my entire trip.  Nobody is without a story of a friend of theirs getting robbed, car jacked, mugged, stabbed, killed or eaten.

Perhaps not eaten.  I made that one up.

Since we didn't want to get robbed and our corpses violated in unspeakable ways then fed to pigs, Leon took me to one of the places where the 'haves' go.

Montecasino (above and below)

It is a combination of several (live) theaters, shops, a casino and large artificial Spanish village - complete with both day and nighttime skies.

As with every casino I've ever been in, the expressions on the face of the gamblers is one of 'grim resolve' rather than any sort of 'enjoyment'.

It has always confused me when people tell me they have 'fun' gambling.  These people are either the kind who win consistently or are addicted to trying to get something for nothing, ending up with nothing.

I've only met a couple people who make their living by gambling and it seems rough to me.

It was interesting as we wandered around the fake village made of real stone to see just how huge the divide is between rich and poor.

There is a lot of money within this country and mostly in the hands of the few still.  Though the few are mainly white, there are many blacks slowly clawing their way up into the middle classes.

It's a long process.

Unfortunately, something which usually helps is education.

To give an idea of where the education system is in South Africa - if you can afford it - a passing grade is 33%.

When I went to school in the USA, it was 70% and you were considered quite a dullard to score close to that.  Can't image what passing with a 33% is like.

Apparently education won't save the country soon.

Though I'm wanting to get more views on the country, the ones I've gotten thus far have generally not been possible.  Massive government corruption, the entitlement feeling of the poor in wanting government handouts, horrible education and dwindling coffers may be a sign of bad things to come.

Overthrowing despotic leaders is always easier than...keeping the lights on afterward.

We'll see what happens.


Begging birds
TV studio

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