Sign Language: Back Home


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I’ve chosen to do my last post on South Africa under the”Sign Language” banner because money exchange and wiring signs were everywhere in Cape Town, yet often they were the only real reminder that we had that we were truly in Africa. Cheap calling rates to Angola, bargains in West African francs and cheap tickets to Nouakchott. I barely knew half of the places and names advertised. I was warned by many before we visited that Cape Town wasn’t really “Africa” and–although I didn’t get the opportunity to see the contrast–what I saw was enough to still understand why.

Our time there was such a mixture of different emotions. You’d have to make the journey from one of the world’s poorest countries, to one of the world’s richer cities to understand the culture shock we found ourselves in. It took 24 hours just to feel normal again around traffic lights and sidewalks. I spent the next few days figuring out where I thought I was on the scale of all thing previously experienced: a little bit of England, a little bit of Australia, and a little bit of something else entirely. And, yes, judging by the staff who served me in the restaurants – a little bit of Africa. That was the oddest part. The separation of black and white is still very much in existence, but from the little slice of middle-class black South Africans that I saw, perhaps this is slowly changing.

Two weeks is not enough to see the country. I wish we had two months so see and explore the country more….and maybe we will some day.  But, as it stood, it was the perfect break from the chaos of Kathmandu.  ‘Til next time…

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