Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Machine Guns in Parking Lots
Enough time has passed where I can safely say that I have made it through the stages of culture shock with little or no negative repercussions and am accustmomed to many of the different day-to-day routines here. One part of daily life in South Africa that will never leave me with a warm and fuzzy feeling are the armed guards and tanks that pick up and deliver cash to the ATMs. There's nothing like watching men in bulletproof vests with giant automatic rifles in their hands stroll through a mall parking lot to really put me at ease. As a peace-loving Canadian who's never held a gun or even seen one outside of action films or a police officer's belt, my obvious reaction is sheer and utter panic followed by the primal instinct to get as far away as humanly possible in a short period of time. The paranoia instilled in me before even arriving in South Africa about the perils of withdrawing money from ATMs has only now abated to a reasonable and healthy fear with Sarah as my bodyguard. Being confronted with a machine gun on your way to pick up milk is one thing that I probably won't be too homesick for when I return home!