What I’m Learning in South Africa — Everything Is Cheap So I Can Tip Like a Player

Greetings from Johannesburg. It’s 61F at 11pm as I write this. Joburg is my final destination before I head back to London and eventually the U.S.A. I think I can eek out a few more adventures in South Africa before I have a mental breakdown from exhaustion.

In any event, I can tell you that doing things here, whether it’s eating, drinking, getting an Uber or tickets for admission, is ridiculously cheap. I thought Hong Kong and China were cheap, but I’m a king here with the currency exchange. Thanks Mandela!

XE.com has 1R equaling seven cents. To give you a few ideas of what my spending is like, I’ll share some of my receipts.

Starting with a hearty breakfast at Truth Coffee — french toast with bananas and honey (56R), drip coffee (14R) and iced coffee smoothie (25R).  Add VAT and generous tip to 130R and that’s $9.50US. I came back to buy a 225g/8oz. bag of beans for 89R ($6.40US)

Roundtrip to Simon’s Town for the penguins from Cape Town on a local train, 35R. The trip was about 45-55 minutes at 27 miles and made several stops. That $2.55, which is less than a cost of a NYC subway.

An UberBlack (because I ride in style, yo) from O. R. Tambo International Airport to my hotel was 37 minutes at 21.4 miles. With base fare, distance and time, it was 513R, which equals $37. It costs me that much to get to Newark Airport, and I’m 12 miles away.

Finally, my four full-pint craft beers at the Foundry with the sexy clientele with the local mover and shaker local who would not leave me alone. Sample conversation:

Him: “Bro, I love everything about New York. The culture, the style.”

Me: “Oh, so you’ve been?”

Him: “No.”

Anyway, 210R for $15.31. I’ve been tipping over 10%, and the reaction has been like I’m some international hot shot making it rain, when in reality, it’s a drop in the bucket for a big, fast rich American.

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