I have spent a wonderful month with the various members of a family of whom I am very fond. As close friends of my parents we spent lots of time growing up together till they moved to Middle Earth. A wedding sparked my journey here, and since it is such a long way away, I decided to stick around for a bit. Rather than travelling aggressively, it has been more of a relocation. I have spent my mornings reading and blogging, and afternoons wandering and wondering.
I am wary of making sweeping comparisons of countries based on short period of time with limited experiences. I have really enjoyed New Zealand. It actually feels a lot like home. Being here during the Cricket World Cup was a strong reminder of the sporting links with South Africa. A British comedian once joked that the thing about rugby is that there are only really 8 countries that play, and ‘half of them are us’. The sports which I care deeply about are rugby and cricket. I feel like I care as much about rugby as a Kiwi, and as much about cricket as an Aussie. And we all like it when England loses.
As Safas, we always joke about the ‘World Series’ in the US being played only in the US. I believe the name comes from the original sponsors being World rather than the countries belief that it is the world. I don’t chirp so much now that I realise how many team participate. But Global sports are a great way of providing links between countries. In the same way as you can start up banter with a complete stranger in a line or a bar when you overhear sports talk, sports provides an immediate connection between countries. Get into a cab with an Indian – and Sachin is common ground. At a coffee shop with a Sri Lankan – Murali is common ground. Cricket at least breaks into non-English territory in Asia. Rugby is trying.
I should really make more of an effort with Baseball, Basketball and American football. I have always like the idea of multinational companies as means of bringing to together different groups of people. But we don't all do the same jobs. Sports creates a non-work alternative glue. So does religion, but we don't seem to believe the same stuff. Football (Soccer cough cough) is the leading contender to create global banter, but perhaps you have to try learn the sports people have grown up with to feel at home.