Living in Windhoek is not that dissimilar to living in any other city, especially if you have a certain level of income at your disposal. For the most part we have slotted into the life of the Windhoek middle class rather effortlessly, the only major difference being that we walk or use local cabs rather than drive a massive 4x4.
However, it has been interesting to discover what are the issues where I am unwilling to modify my conduct to how things are done in Namibia and instead insist on doing things my way, regardless of the expense or hassle. In other words, I have discovered my inner snob, and these are the areas in which it has manifested itself:
Coffee: Coffee provided the first instance for the inner snob to rear its ugly head. Namibians drink a lot instant coffee, I have even been provided with instant coffee with some warm milk stirred in when ordering a cappucino at a bar. If it had not been a situation of desperation, I would have refused to drink it. F has adapted much better, I have blankly refused. I don’t care if I have to go down to the main building at work for the one pot of filter coffee at the whole Centre or if I have to walk 20 mins to get to a café on a weekend, but I will get proper coffee.
Heat: Namibia (in winter) is the only country in the world where you put your coat on when you enter a building and take it off again when you exit. I don’t know how they manage to build houses this way, but even when it is a nice 23°C and sunny outside, as it is every day, it is cold indoors everywhere. I got sick and tired of freezing my tits off pretty quickly, especially when wearing thick socks to bed and fingerless gloves to work was not enough. So my only major purchase here so far has been a portable electronic heater that I carry around with me wherever I go in the flat. I see the impact immediately as we have pay-as-you-go electricity, which is not cheap. No regrets.
Sports: Windhoek is not a sporty place, so we have struggled a bit to find ways to stay fit. Running along highways (there are no parks) is not enough. There are two gyms in the city. We tried the cheaper one right next to our flat for a week. However, not only was the selection of equipment not impressive, but the clientele consisted mostly of beefcakes who, when not busy admiring their own biceps, were blocking the machines I wanted to use in the nominal circuit and unashamedly oggling at me. So I snobishly insisted that we invest the significant wad of cash it takes to get a membership at the posh (not only by Namibian standards but by comparison to Geneva, Paris and London as well) Virgin Active gym much further away. As a bonus, it has a sauna and a steam room, which I use with impunity (see Heat above).
TP: Last but not least, the paper I have found in all toilets here is so thin I feel like I might just as well wipe my bum with my bare fingers. No thanks. So the first chance we got, we got some decent double paper and have been happily wiping away since then.
I don’t think I would have guessed many items on this list before coming here. My inner snob has been an interesting discovery. Would you guess what yours is like?