In Which South Africa Makes me Realize that Living in China has Drastically Lowered my Expectations

Hello friends! Short post today, as I am just waking up in Greenpoint, an area of Cape Town, and will be embarking on a trip to the hotel breakfast buffet soon. The faster I write, the sooner I’ll get to coffee, so I plan to type pretty quickly.

The past two days are a blur. A fifteen hour flight from Beijing to Johannesburg. Followed by four hours in the airport, and then a brief two hour flight. Lots of time in planes. Lots of worrying about crashing. Lots of weird half-sleep with my head rested on the lowered food trey, which is kind of like the airplane version of how my students sleep with their heads on their desks in class.

Anyways, finally we got to Cape Town, and it was then that I learned that living in Beijing for the past three years has drastically lowered my standards and expectations. First, the air. Oh, the air! My girlfriend and I can’t stop talking about the air! It’s breathable, and you don’t need a mask with a filter, and there are even birds flying through it. All we could talk about for the first hour was the air. There could have been a gang of children beating an elderly man to death in plain view, and we just would’ve stood around happily breathing the air. That’s what Beijing has brought us to. Some people go to other countries seeking adventure; we simply sought oxygen.

Later we went to a restaurant and were amazed by the wait service. The waitress, a short blonde girl with a ponytail, kept coming over and checking on us. “Everything ok?” “Is there anything else I can get you?” “Do you need another drink?”

What was this? Fang Deng and I were amazed and confused. I mean, we’re used to Beijing service, which basically consists of the wait staff playing on their phones or talking to each other or just plain zoning out and, as a consequence, totally ignoring you. This kind of attention was unheard of! To us, the waitress is supposed to slap down the plate of food with an angry scowl on her face and then never be seen again.

All of this is to say that things are going swimmingly so far. I’ve never written while traveling before, and look forward to keeping up the blog while here in Cape Town. And with that, I am off to drink coffee. Cheers!

2 thoughts on “In Which South Africa Makes me Realize that Living in China has Drastically Lowered my Expectations

    1. Haha! Water out the tap? Does that still exist? For the foreseeable future I’ll be expecting to boil water in a kettle…and when in public have to search out sit-down toilets.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. : )


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