Today I drive back, from Joburg to Dundee. It’s an uneventful drive. But I like that I no longer need maps. I manage to find my way through all the turns without trouble.
Back in Dundee I stop at the ATM I always use to get some money out. It takes my ATM card again, though in a slightly different manner this time: It goes into “temporarily out of service” mode a moment after I put my card in.
The first thought that occurs to me is that I am an idiot for continuing to use an ATM that took my card once before. But then I realize that since I managed to get my card back last time, this is probably the best place to use the ATM. If I lost my card at another ATM, who knows what I’d do? So I pat myself on the back for my cleverness and go inside to get the card back.
The fellow at the counter tells me that if the machine is out of service that I have to come back in the morning when the service guy comes. I pressure him to let me talk with the manager, which I think he finds a little annoying, and he assures me the only way to get the card is to come back in the morning. He promises me he’ll be there, and tells me they open at 8:30AM. So I accept this and go home.
Back at my place I set up my room the way I like; taking everything that I use out of my bag and setting it up on the bunk. Then I sit down and read from Wikipedia a bunch of stuff about developing nations. I learn about the UN’s “Human Development Index” (HDI) which attempts to rank how successful a country is. Roughly speaking, it combines measurements of the Gross Domestic Product with life expectancy and literacy. The US is 8th in the world as I write this. South Africa is 120th.
It’s an interesting metric to consider; it certainly indicates something important about quality of life in a given country. But then again you can have illiterate farmers leading fulfilling lives, and you can have educated and well off people that are very unhappy. I guess it indicates opportunity. In a nation with a high HDI, it’s still up to the people to make something of it.
I decide to just stay in. I text Donna and Alan to let them know I’m home okay, and then I go to bed.