Things I want to remember

I know, I could just write it in a notebook, but sharing is more fun …

The first day we were in Jo’burg, we noticed windscreen washers at traffic lights. Since then, I’ve been making a list of other entrepreneurial traffic light sellers and the range of wares and services they offer: Tag Heuer and Rolex branded wall clocks; bubble guns (actually, they looked really fun!); sunglasses; gym membership; car cigarette lighter plugs, adaptors and cables; raspberry ice blocks in plastic bags and even a guy busking with a guitar. That didn’t seem to work so well because all the cars had their windows up and their aircon on. I’m not quite sure how a complicated transaction like choosing an adaptor or cable would work in the limited time that one is stationary at a traffic light, but I guess it does or these guys would seek other selling outlets.

We’ve also seen lots of stalls set up by the side of the road, selling food, drinks including a type of local moonshine, mobile phone sim cards and recharge options and my 2 favourites – decorative bamboo screens and panels north of Jo’burg, and reed brooms and rakes just outside Gaborone.

Greg bought internet data when we were in Gaborone and it took a while so he got chatting to the woman who served him. She loves the north of Botswana, around Kisane and across the border into Zambia. She complained about how terrible the traffic had been that morning, because school had just restarted after the summer holidays … you know, just like we do at home. We drove into Francistown at 3.30 yesterday afternoon and yep, the after-school traffic was chaotic, just like at home.

I still don’t ‘get’ tipping, probably never will. Do I tip? Who do I tip? How much?

I tip waitresses in restaurants and cafes about 10% of our bill, and when we buy fuel, I tip the young man who pumps the fuel, and the one who washes the windscreen. Usually only about 50c each, but they’re happy to accept it,  seem happy with the amount and it’s probably about half of what they might spend on lunch. I don’t know if it’s the done thing, but I do it anyway.

‘No plastic’ seems to be universal – at home, in Scandinavia, Russia, the US and now in Africa. Doesn’t matter what language we speak, we all understand that ‘no plastic’ means we don’t want a shopping bag.

2 thoughts on “Things I want to remember

  1. So the school traffic is all over the world! We have to time our leaving home as there are 3 schools on our main road . x

    1. Definitely!
      It’s a bit like toddler tantrums – we’ve heard them in Spain, Russia, South Korea, Johannesburg, heaps of other places, and they all sound exactly the same, no matter what the culture or the language. xx

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