An African in America: First Impressions

By Audrey Kruger

Have you ever kept a travel journal? Here is mine – an African in America, from when I arrived in the U.S. of A a little while back. Oh what a place… writes Audrey Kruger.

Getting off the plane

Whoa mense! Hierdie plek is incredible! America! A-merr-rica! Getting off the plane and heading to immigration the first time I have to say I was crazy confused. They kept telling me I had to go in the ‘alien’ line that was moerse long. I’m talking longer than the line at our voting stations. I kid you not okes.

Alien. Seriously? Guys guys I’m only African, I may talk different but eish I’m not green ek sé!

I finally got to speak to this nice oke that looked all official like, and after a long discussion he agreed I didn’t look at all like an alien. Eish. The relief. I was worried there for a moment that I had landed in a different orbit or the nice air hostess had dropped her muti in my brandewyn!

After a bit of a walk, I finally found where my bags are and I didn’t have to wait long. All these okes were standing there looking for their bags and there was mine wrapped in plastic. Seems no one in this America is scared of picking up an empty bag… but not me, nope my chinas… my whole life is in one bag, I’m not letting no one empty it but me!

Heading out of the city

Then I got outside and all these cars are driving on the wrong side of the road and in straight lines, all organized like a Virgo’s cupboard. Huh! No crazy spaghetti-driving overloaded taxies. The smell, man the smell, like old petrol without the sweat too!

Our car was waiting for us and we got in. I quickly locked my door, triple checked it and hid my bag under my legs with the strap wrapped around my ankle for good measure, you don’t know what these Americans could be like.

When I looked up everyone was staring at me confused like. Shrug, they can lose their stuff, not me ek sé.

We started driving out of the city (phew) and this huge ambulance was coming up behind us with all lights flashing and noisier than an angry mama on the other side of the street. I thought ‘yay dice my china dice’, but no… our driver suddenly pulls over to the side of the road!

We didn’t have a flettie (flat tyre) my chinas. No, no everyone was pulling to the side like it was out of the movies when the real aliens are attacking and you have to run like mad for cover. I looked up to the sky but couldn’t see any ships or nothing, the ambulance went past with no chase and all the cars went back on to the road. Jinne this is some crazy stuff, no racing, no chasing the ambulance… these Americans are weird; they treat Ambulances like a royalty passing by ek sê!

It was a long drive but man the beauty of this America, weird ambulances and drivers included. The mountains, the same yet so different to ours my chinas. There are no signs asking us to not honk while the ostriches bonk, no signs to watch out for the cows crossing the highway, no high-jacking zone signs or cobras crossing the road. It’s so peaceful and the roads are almost drugged in their lazy quiet orderliness.

First week observations

1. There are no people on the street corners making goods for you to buy or asking for your car and keys. People walk with their handbags loosely on their arms, not wrapped around their chests hidden under their shirts giving them a sexy beer boep.

2. When you go to the ATM you don’t have to take a friend to stand guard when you draw your money, mense keep distance like you smell or something.

3. We stopped by McDonald’s and I ordered a Big Mac. Jinne mense the lady handed me one that was a couple’s size! I ordered a medium drink and the lady gave me an extra large! I told her all nice like that she had made a mistake but she kept telling me it was medium. No ways was it medium my chinas, this thing could last days with leftovers!

4. Forget about walking to the shops or banks. Here in America you have to drive everywhere and they have bokke they call deer that jump in front of your car. Not as clever as our springbok that jump over the car!

5. No one believes me when I tell them I’m from South Africa, they all tell me I can’t be because I can’t show them my tribal heritage. Next time I’m bringing it with me, that’ll show those ‘mericans!

6. I was crossing the road yesterday and I was so nervous with these Americans driving the wrong side of the road. They have zebra crossings like back home but their lights are all weird, I pressed the button and waited for the weird man to show I could cross the road. The weirdest thing happened my chinas… the cars stopped, I didn’t know what to do like was I getting kidnapped or what. What is this place where cars stop for you to cross the road?!?

I think the old lady in the car got frustrated and she started waving at me to cross the road all mad like. I was so stressed I was sweating like it was summer. I took one step after the other and when I got to the other side I just stood for a few minutes taking in the fact that I was still alive, I hadn’t had to dodge cars or taxis, not one.

7. People don’t lock their houses in this place! The other day we left the house and my friends couldn’t find the keys to lock it. We just left with the door unlocked! I kid you not my chinas, they didn’t even break a sweat, they told me I’m in America now and no one is going to steal my stuff. The whole time we were out I was a sweatball of stress, jinne alles I had was in that house!

They were right, the minute we got back I went to check my hidden worldly possessions and they were still there! Freaking crazy this place without electric fences, barbed wire, burglar bars, and car guards.

8. We went to a pizza plek and I was excited to order my favourite, see I was missing home and was craving a banana and bacon one. These Americans sigh… they refused to even make one special for me. They just laughed like I was joking or something. I had a Hawaiian, it didn’t taste the same without a banana sigh.

The days coming

We will see what else this weird America has in store for me. It’s such a different place, people seem so stressed out all the time with no chill, makes no sense. They are safe, they don’t worry about carjackings or cobras. Their president even doesn’t believe he can shower aids off, hasn’t stolen millions to build a pool in case of a fire or sang “Kill the boer”!

Strange place but I can’t wait to see what else is different. I’m excited but I miss my bacon and banana pizza eish!

* This post is satirical and by no means what a South African thinks or feels. Written with creative license by a South African.

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This blog post first appeared on Sanityfound, and is republished with Audrey Kruger’s kind permission. 

AUDREY KRUGER – aka Sanityfound – is a Travel Addict and avid Photographer from Cape Town, currently living in Florida, who blogs about her mis/adventures around the world.Sanityfound03

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