SouthAfricaFilter: Do you / have you lived in ZA? I've recently moved here and I have questions. Also, general questions on cell phone usage across the continent...
I've recently relocated to Pretoria for a project with my company, and while there's a number of good AskMe's
about things to do and see in this wonderful country, I need a little help on how people actually live here (apologies for the length)...
A) Looking for a nicer area to live in around Pretoria.
I'm in a B&B in Brooklyn right now, and its OK, but I need to find something more permanent - a short term lease around 6-8 months ideally. Nothing fancy - 1br is fine - but I would like something comfortable and in a younger, up-and-coming type neighborhood.
B) Looking for good places to hang out.
I have friends in Joburg and Cape Town, so with them and the advice already on AskMeFi, I think I'm fine. I'm a little more interested in night/weekend life in Pretoria - I went to the mall at 6:30 last night looking for a cell phone and everything was closed! Where do people go between 6pm and bedtime? Home?? I've heard the best bar area is around the Uni, so I'll be checking that out this weekend, but I'm a late 20's single male, so more interested in a little more upscale places than college dive bars. Interested in restaurants, bars, and any other socio-cultural venues where I can connect with locals.
C) Cell phones.
My work will involve travel to a number of other African countries (likely Kenya, Zambia, Uganda, Sudan, etc.) so I'm not sure as to whether to drop the extra Rand on an unlocked phone, and get new sim cards when I get to other countries, or to get a (cheaper) local phone here (Vodacom, MTN) and just use the roaming / SMS when abroad. Pretty set on going with a pay-as-you-go plan, either way.
- I have a rental through work however I'm tasked with finding a short term (again, 6-8 mo.) lease for a vehicle. I'll be using it for personal stuff as well (driving to Joburg, Kruger, Plianesberg, etc.) and would like to get something that sits a little higher on the road (for visibility in the parks, mainly) than your average VW, Toyota, etc.. I have no idea where to start here beyond going by a local dealership.
E) Tipping. What's customary?
At dinner last night they brought me the bill and apparently here you fill in your tip before giving them the credit card. I went with my standard (US) 20% - is that average? Also, is 10R a day customary for the chambermaid at my B&B? I left it in an envelope on a bed pillow yesterday but she left the money in the envelope on my desk, so I wrote "for housekeeping" on it today with another 10R and put it on the bed again. Any other abnormal situations I should be aware of tipping in?
F) Power conversion.
I picked up an adapter for my US AC plugs to the local 3-prong, which works fine for my laptop power cable so far, but I'm a little wary of using it for my more sensitive electronics (toothbrush, video camera, etc.). Do I need some sort of converter? If so, where can I find this, and, hopefully, some surge protectors?
G) Afrikaans - should I even try?
I'm trying to pick up a few common phrases to help with conversing with locals who don't speak fluent english, but I've ran into a few who seem a little annoyed when I start out in Afrikaans but am unable to continue the conversation (they speed up rather quickly above my comprehension). Should I just stick to starting with English? Any other communication tips?
I'm a reformed presbyterian of sorts, but fairly relaxed religion-wise. Looking for a laid back reformed church, anglican or what-have-you.
Any other general or specific advice on anything I may have missed is greatly appreciated. Thanks again.