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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

WHAT LOGAN HAS (MIS?)LEARNED OF SOUTH AFRICA

CHRISTMAS, BITCHES

Disclaimer:  The below article was written a couple weeks ago during Christmas.  Not a lot has happened since then so you get to read about it now.  Get jolly.


Today, I had something unusual for Christmas.

Crackers.

English style crackers.

These aren't the kind you eat - they are the kind you pull one end, someone else pulls another and they let off a very small explosion.

Yes, the English are fucking weird.  Example, Matthew Lunn.

But the fun doesn't stop there!

Inside the cracker (not meaning 'white person') is a toy so cheap the Chinese may even be embarrassed about it and a joke which is epic in it's lameness.

What do you call a dog that can tell time?

A 'watch dog'.

Yes, that lame.

But you have to wear a 'crown' when opening these.  The crowns provided in the box were clear plastic and made all three of us feel like we were wearing condoms on our heads.

Which would have been much cooler.

So that is yet another strange custom of the English.  Since there are a lot of English people in South Africa, I got to experience it.

Happy Christmas, bitches.



SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT IQ TEST

Read the first paragraph of this wiki article.  Now, read it again.

These sort of things make me think South Africa is going to have a rough time becoming a strong viable country rather than sliding into the shit stew that comprises much of Africa.



WHAT LOGAN HAS (MIS?) LEARNED OF SOUTH AFRICA

Disclaimer:  Let's get this straight right away.  If you wanted to know the true history of South Africa, you'd google it.  Instead, you are reading the Logan version.  This is either because you want to laugh at how little Logan actually understands of the history and politics of South Africa or you believe this version may be more interesting.  I'm sure after my friends in South Africa read this, they will send me corrections.  If you do send me corrections, expect to see them copy/paste into the next blog.

Also, I don't want to come off as sounding too judgmental.  After all, I am from a society which has bought part of a country we're keeping poor then set up our very own torture facility there.  And keeping it open despite everyone finding out what horrible stuff we do there.


Here we go...

Once upon a time, there were a bunch of Dutch guys (Boers, which mean 'farmers') who decided to take over South Africa.  And some Brits were involved.

That way are black people who need oppression!

The Brits and Dutch (who later seemed to morph into 'Afrikaners') got into a pissing contest over this area.  It seemed to be about money and land.

They also shot up each other in something called the 'Boer War'.  Not to be confused with the 'Bore War' (which was dull) nor the 'Boar War' which may have involved vicious tusked pigs.

Do not fuck with these.

There were also a bunch of black people living here.  The Zulus were the main tribe in the area but there were a lot of different tribes in the area.  Or they came in later to make attempting to learn any of the languages spoken by native blacks totally frustrating for white people.  This also makes me want to never call anyone in the USA an 'African American' ever again.  It's a silly made up term that nobody I've run into identifies with.  They will say they are Zulu or Chakti, etc.  Maybe even South African.  That reminds me - back to South Africa...

This is a still from the movie 'Zulu'.  If you Google 'movie Zulu' you can see lots of pictures like this.  No black people.  They didn't rate any pictures, apparently.  If you wonder 'why did they wear red uniforms?' I've been told that when fighting in a line it was so you didn't see the blood and know you'd been injured.  Hence, you keep fighting.  And make a great target.  And are half way ready for Christmas.  Also, your enemies couldn't tell you'd been injured.  Aside from perhaps the large spear sticking out of you.

So it got pretty brutal as wars tend to.  The most famous black warrior was named Shaka Zulu.


He made some new kind of spear I saw at the war museum which is a rather nasty piece of work and makes an unpleasant sound when pulled out of you.  The spear has been named after that sound.  I don't remember the sound but don't want to hear it if I am getting a spear pulled out of me.

Use of this shield in the NERO LARP would be illegal.  It is way too big.

Eventually, Shaka's mom died, he went nuts and got assassinated.  Fortunately, the leaders today I've been told are just wildly corrupt and foolish as opposed to 'murderously insane' (see earlier article 'SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT IQ TEST').

After that, the South Africans fought a bunch of wars.  Seriously, these guys were always fighting.  They fought the blacks.  They fought the British.  They even went up to Angola and fought there for awhile.  They fought in WW1 and it's sequel, WW2.  They fought in Korea.  They pretty much fought all the time.  From what I've heard, they were very good at it as well.

Eventually, came Apartheid.  Probably through various evil politicians.

Not known as the 'Four In One Flag' but it should have been.

Like everything else humans do, it had good points and bad points.

The good points were things like building actual infrastructure.  Under the current government, I've been told this is slipping mightily.  As we all know though, evil guys are plotters and schemers.  They do things like build a country wide road system so that their armies can get anywhere within the country easily.  Revolutionaries' big plan ends when they win.

Revolutionaries have trouble doing the little things like 'keeping the electricity going'.  This is easily seen in  Johannesburg (known as 'Joburg' to the locals) by things like daily rolling blackouts.  They even have something called a 'Joburg stop' which is a rolling stop made at a traffic light (inexplicably called a 'robot' here) which has no electricity going through it.

As in countries which were formerly in the USSR, I've heard that things 'were better in the old days' - meaning 'under Apartheid'.  Everything worked.  Everyone had a job.

Of course, it was a lot better if you were white.

The barbaric practice of 'necklacing' which may sadly be one of the things I remember longest from my visit here.

Black people weren't allowed to congregate in groups aside from churches - which were the downfall of Apartheid.  This is ironic because they used a lot of religion to justify controlling, disappearing or outright killing black people.

If anyone black did anything the white population disapproved of they would simply disappear.

Not pictured:  Several people who have mysteriously disappeared.  Let us have no more discussion on this bizarre cover up.

I'd call that a pretty substantial 'downside' for Apartheid.

A whole bunch of people from British India were also forced to come here.  They weren't white enough to not abuse, they weren't black enough to treat like blacks so they kind of got ignored.  They then became the merchants and 'middle class'.  It is fortunate they were brought because they knew how to make Indian food which is outstanding.  [Editor note:  Logan does not condone kidnapping people from their native countries and forcing them to cook for him.  However, if those people are already here...]

A feast worth kidnapping for.  No - wait - I meant do NOT kidnap people!

Eventually, Apartheid lost it's power.  It was because a lot of external pressure and internal pressures eventually heated up.  However, I prefer to think of the change being brought about following the Star Wars movie with the entire good guy cast being black and the Apartheid guys being the Empire.  Yes, even the wookie is black in my imagination.

Would Whoopie Goldberg play the wookie?

If not, Google has provided a picture of a black wookie.  Of course.


So a black government got in charge.  Everything seemed good until people a decade or two later when the people began to realize it wasn't all that cool.  After both sides made tearful apologies to each other for having horrible crimes done to them, people began to find out that you need certain skills to run a country.

"So.  Who knows how to keep the electricity running?"

And I've been told that the government didn't have them.  They left teams from the old government to try to teach the new one but the new government bureaucrats figured they were smart enough and ignored them.

Bureaucrats of all countries can be played by Grumpy Cat!

And now sometimes things like coal silos collapse from lack of maintenance which hasn't been done since 'the bad ole days'.

The thing which could really turn the country around is education.  There are way too many blank stares and people which seem barely able to function in the modern world.  However, like every other country I've been to, education is woefully inadequate.  Note, their government does say they spend a lot of money on it but the story I've gotten from locals is different.

Even more so here than in the USA.  (On this chart, the USA is at #14.  Indonesia is at #40.  South Africa didn't make the list.)

Back in the caveman days when I went to school in the USA, anything below a 70% was a failing grade.  You had to be pretty dim (or uninterested) to get that low.

Here, I've been informed that a 'passing grade' is somewhere between 30-50%, depending on who you talk to.  And people don't go to school for very many years.

In a country where even the president thinks taking a shower will keep him safe from AIDS after unprotected sex, education seems like a valuable commodity.

But it's not.

If it was, I'd bet this country could turn around within the next generation or two and become a vibrant economy.  As it is now, I don't think it will take place for several generations.  Certainly not within my lifetime.  Hence, it will always (for anyone reading this) be a weird mix of first and third world.


THE WALLS

This picture of Pink Floyd's album "The Wall" and the "Isn't Logan fucking old?" society.

As soon as Apartheid went down, the walls around each and every property went up.

Johannesburg strikes me as a heavily forested prison colony.

Johannesburg really needs more floodlights but you know...daily rolling electricity blackouts...

Not having walls isn't really an option because you can't get insurance.  Walls, electric fences, spikes - all needed.

The insurance company will however allow you to substitute a pyramid of skulls.

It's not just paranoia.  Everyone I've talked to has either been personally robbed, mugged, stabbed, threatened or knows someone who has.  You have to keep your windows rolled up with your car doors locked when you drive around.  Yes, really.

I've even heard stories from multiple people where a mugger has threatened violence unless they were given something like a phone then stabbed the person when it wasn't the right model of phone.  Or just because.

Picture of a white mugger used for 'racial balance'.

Pretty grim situation but the locals have adapted to it.  Humans can adapt to some pretty amazing circumstances but it's not good conditions to live under.

It's bad also for the blacks.  Under Apartheid, they were given some schooling (how to be a maid, how to be a gardener, etc) and given places to live and a tiny tiny wage.  Now they live in shanty towns and get either a tiny tiny wage or often none at all.   Every street corner has people either selling or - more usually - begging.

So, it's not what I'd call a desirable situation.

As to the 'tourist activities' within the country, I can't give any comment on.  My hosts and other people I've met have been kind enough to make sure I was exposed to some of the things in Joburg.  I can recommend it though for a fast moving tourist, it is a couple days of seeing some museums then out to view the 'big five' (see below Traveler's Tip) and off to the next city.

See these...then GTFO...

Those asking "Why did Logan stay for three months?"  Good hosts.  After dropping six hundred dollars each way for airfare, I needed to just hang out in one place and madly save money for three months.  I am extremely grateful to my hosts, Guy and DD for making that possible.



TRAVELER'S TIP - SOUTH AFRICA

According to my hosts, winter is actually the best time to visit South Africa.  It is still warm but it doesn't rain every day.  Because it is so dry, there isn't a lot of foliage on the trees and bushes - this makes it easier to see the 'big five'.



PRICES (in approximate USD)

Middling meal home cooked, $5-6.  Double for restaurant.  (Note, if you are just getting a burger or something don't double the price.)

Medicine - about 6x to 10x what it will cost in Cambodia including the mandatory visit to the doctor.  Stock up well on any medicines you need before coming here because you need a doctors note to buy almost anything.

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PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan | Portugal: Faro

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