Geoff Tennant - Promoting access to mathematics for all
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19/8/14: crumbs, South Africa is a bit different

Back from Uganda on Saturday, quick stop in Dar es Salaam before going on to South Africa for holiday yesterday.  Wow, things are a bit different here.  Found the toilets in the airport terminal, space age sinks with no discernible way of turning the tap on.  Even when I succeeded in provoking a water flow I wasn't sure what I'd done which made it happen.  Central queuing for immigration control with no pushing in!

Went to buy some South African rands and somehow managed to restrain myself from apologising for producing American dollars rather than Her Majesty's own currency.  Actually, not got my head round the currency, but it is the 5th that I've handled in 3 days - Tanzanian, Ugandan, Kenyan shillings and, of course the ubiquitous American dollar.  Random thought; what effect does it have on the American economy that its currency is so widely used right across the world?  I'm told that the US dollar is the currency in Zimbabwe, with any change less than a dollar given in kind.  There must be an answer to this question....

So, back to my South African travels.  Went to the train station to buy a ticket and was asked to put my water bottle away.  And when I got a ticket it was in the form of the South African equivalent of an Oyster Card.

Train pictured above, here's the platform:

Arrived at destination, was waiting for the pick up, and got asked a grand total of once if I wanted a taxi!

So, all a bit different here.  Aware that this is not the complete picture by any means, but a strong sense of stepping into a different world.

As to what I'm doing here in South Africa, I'll tell you about that in a future post.  Suffice to say that I'm on leave!

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