This post is written by Thandekile Madikane but because of the technical problems, I upload behalf of.
Hello again to you all..
I will be taking you on a journey through some of my experiences and certainly some of the culture shocks i have discovered along the way. I am well aware of the fact that as individuals, we are all bound to see and view certian experiences in different ways depending on which side of lifes window we chose to gaze at the world from.
Follow me through some of my most shocking and breataking steps through this startling introduction to the “other side”…
1) AM I BROKE ALREADY: OR TAMBO AIRPORT SOUTH AFRICA
Pre-departure was both exhilarating anduncertain as leaving my country was becoming a reality. So I had to man up and take the bull by the horns, there are many bulls where I’m from, from experience I must warn you, that this act is never a good idea. So after dragging my entire family and continent to bid me farewell , I had to do the most sensible thing and exchange my South African Rands to Euros . Needless to say, after exchanging exactly 6 (R 1 200) notes I was handed a measly 3 (90 Euros) –how awful. After a brief scolding from my better half, I hesitantly accepted the converted currency whilst wondering how stingy my destination could be for depriving my wallet of a decent perceived thickness.
2) FAST FOOD: FLYING SAUCER & LEMONS?
After an eleven hour flight to Amsterdam and a 3 hour train ride to Maastricht, we could finally have something to eat. The most obvious choice was at the first ‘good-looking-mouth- watering’ place we could find. Well unfortunately I still don’t know what the round-looking, meat and extras filled bread is called, quite odd really. What I found even odder is that Fanta Orange in Maastricht (I’d imagine all of Netherlands, I suppose) actually tastes like lemons than orange really. Now this might sound ignorant of me, in South Africa the opposite holds, the colour of the drink is orange and yes you guessed right, it tastes like fizzy orange drink.
3) Transportation and mobility: DAISY BELL!
I have come to be appreciative of the transportation system in Maastricht, I am impressed by it so far. More so by the bicycles that are an everyday means of transportation for residents here. Firstly, as a student I envisage that no one really looks down on you for not having a car and riding a bicycle in this town, unlike back home; am even sure that many of these bicycles could tell of numerous romantic stories and love fairy tales past bye. On that note, am sure that the old folk song about Daisy holds true in Maastricht. For all who might have forgotten the lyrics to this Harry Dacre classic, they go somewhat this way “lalalalalalalalala……….It won’t be a stylish marriage,I can’t afford a carriage,But you’d look sweet upon the seat Of a bicycle built for two”. So fellas if you want to ease up on the gas and impress a lady at the same time, Maastricht is the city to do just that.
4) Food and Drink
I’d adviseyouto learn and get some grasp of the Dutch language, it has been difficult at times understanding what is written on food labels. I will admit however that my knowledge of Afrikaans has aided in this regard, but I still find difficulty in understanding instructions on the packages. It certainly wasn’t hard knowing what beer one would drink right?-you can imagine the shock of discovering that two of my favourite beers were completely different here 1) Amstel was in red coloured cans and 2) Heineken was in brown bottles……..what a shocker. In South Africa these are in green bottles, so please bear with me ok, very shocked indeed!
5) WEATHER &WHAT AGAIN?
I hope I don’t offend sensitive readers for what I am about to write next. Firstly I apologise for the two photographs, but they express how I feel at times. They express my feeling towards the weather in this town as well as my confusion at the sanitation system here. It’s simple really, back home its summer and here we’re entering winter (makes me want to do whatever the short guys are doing – *hides*). What I find baffling as well is why the toilet bowl hole (for lack of better word) would not be positioned in the middle as is back home, this I really found puzzling– it provides difficulty for certain activities to be accomplished, and certain missiles to be optimally positioned- if you have the answer certainly clarify.