There are a lot of differences between South Africa and Alaska so I thought I'd add a little blip about some things I find interesting here. One biggie is they drive on the left side of the road and the driver sits on the right side of the car like in England. The majority of vehicles are manual. They have men that "watch/guard" cars in parking lots to keep down vehicle theft and you tip them 2R (rand) before you leave. Equivalent to about 40 cents.
They have wild monkeys that wonder around in their yard and roof tops...a change from moose wandering in my yard back home. Their reserve parks have animals like elephant, hippos, zebra, giraffe while Denali National Park has moose, bear, caribou, fox, wolf.
Being in the southern hemisphere their winter is during our summer and their winter temps are like our summer temps. I'm glad I'm here for the "cooler" season.
A diaper is called a "nappy", a napkin is called a "serveet" and a stroller is called a "pram," a traffic light is called a "robot," a pacifier is called a "dummy" and a zebra is spoken with a short "e" sound. Other interestings terminology: running shoes are called "takies," a car trunk is called a "boot," a windshield is called a "wind screen," a flat tire is called a "puncture" makes sense to me. My favorite that my dad will be appreciative of the blinker in your car is called an "indicator switch." My dad always refers to as that and I always roled my eyes or laughed at him, but know I know of an entire culture that calls it that!
Their currency is the African Rand and the exchange is 7-1, for every American dollar you spend 7 Rand. A little on time...Durban is 10-11 hours different from Anchorage. A funny thing, ALL of South Africa stays on ONE time zone and they do not recognize day light savings. So it could be light at 4:00 a.m. and dark at 6:00 p.m. in Durban and not get dark in Cape Town (far west side) until 2-2.5 hours later.
I learned today that Durban has the 2nd highest Indian population in the world after India itself. I was talking with Ella about it today b/c by far the most people I've met and see have been Indian. There are African and Colored people here too, but not as many in the urban area.
Another interesting thing about Durban for all my pyro family and friends...there are numerous wild fires here b/c it is so dry and warm. They let them burn out of control for the most part right next to neighborhoods and 8 lane major highways. We did see a couple fire trucks out the other day working on a fire that was burning close to a lot of eletrical wires. Ella said that is the first time in their 4 years here that she's ever seen a fire truck respond to a fire!
A couple new things I learned today (9th), babysitters are not paid here. They do it out of the goodness of their heart. They think it is crazy to be paid for watching someone's children. Another tid bit...you cannot pay for gas anywhere in S. Africa with a credit card. The government sets the price for gas for the country (fixed amount) and the gas companies lose $ by going through credit so all gas MUST be paid for in CASH! I can't remember the last time I paid cash for my gas in the U.S.