Thoughts on common sense

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I thought common sense is called that because it’s something the majority would regard as smart or correct. But travelling has taught me, that for different countires, you also have to use different degrees of common sense and sometimes it’s worth it to ask again, how their common sense looks like. For example the other night, I was invited to an African braai (another word for bbq) because it was a girls’s going away party. I had only just met the people who invited me that day but everybody is just so friendly here in Umzumbe. So, anyways, I was there and we were talking about how the current safety situation in South Africa is and a girl says, you know, it isn’t any more dangerous as other places if you just behave normal and use common sense. Sounds completely logical to me. But so, I asked her whether she would walk home alone after dark. I meant to add “in Johannesburg“ because I heard that it can be dangerous there but I couldn’t finish my sentence, she right away jumped in “No, of course not! I wouldn’t even walk on my own for five minutes, like here, that’s just something you don’t do.” We were only a five minute walk from the surf house. There only is one road here and everything else is beach and jungle, it’s not like there should be a lot of drunken creeps hiding in the bushes. But you have to listen to these things as a foreigner and therefore I was glad that people here always drive you to places without you even having to ask, just because that’s how you do that here. So much for my common sense. In Switzerland and in many European cities any gender could come and go as they please at any time of the day or night. It would be quite a sad shock if you got stabbed. And I know the basics like: “don’t walk around and look like you have a lot of money or expensive possessions and don’t leave your bag unattended.” But here, we even have to hide our flip flops in the bushes when we go surfing, because apparently, they have been stolen before. I guess, this time it’s not just the tourist guide that tells us these things but the locals actually follow these rules quite strictly, too. Therefore, when I saw a public bus driving by I dismissed the thought of taking that one up to Johannesburg very quickly. It probably would be cheaper and a lot more entertaining but I already learned in Honduras that in some countries, it’s just not safe to use the normal public transport. There, we needed to get from the harbor back to San Pedro Sula and the normal bus was $20 cheaper than the tourist bus. It took my friend Dimitri quite some time and energetic words to convince me, that it really wasn’t safe to ride with the locals because the chance of getting robbed, into an accident or even murdered was so high. These things are sometimes hard to understand for a Swiss person, where even children can ride the buses and trains on their own. But even in that sense, I learned a lot during the past year and I now try to adapt to the local common sense right away if somebody suggests completely unnecessary sounding boundaries to me.

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Yesterday, the ocean had been much calmer. So calm in fact, that there were hardly any waves. But I at least caught a vew good ones 🙂 Today it was a completely different story again. Strong onshore winds that make the ocean very rough but kill all the nice waves. Unfortunately, I therefore had to take a break from surfing and we went on a hike in Oribi Gorge instead. There is a famous gorge swing and a long suspension bridge but we hiked in the less touristy part. All the pictures are from the hike today. Now I keep my fingers crossed, that my surf luck will be slightly better for my remaining days here.

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