I’m on a full out maalo trip in the rainbow nation. Calm the **** down, I mean SA not some other place that uses the rainbow as an emblem… hang on, why the hell is Angelina Jolie sticking her boney thigh out? We all got over her, right? WTF? I thought it was a joke, but it clearly isn’t. She is going for sexy with that? Come on, there’s grannies that …actually, you know what, let’s go back to SA.
No one ever thinks to bring this shit up until you’re travelling. It’s all well and good when you’re far far away. You’ll marvel and think, oh my, it ought to be the shit. And you will have people fuelling these thoughts, agreeing with you. Then you mention you want to go there and it all goes to hell in a basket.
- “They can stab you on the streets. At 10am. In public. With a spoon”
- “They’ll steal your shoes. When you’re not wearing them”
- “Your virginity will be snatched from you right before your eyes”
Transport/ Moving about
I haven’t yet gotten round to using public transportation, which when you think about it, is a damn shame. There is a much higher chance of getting lost when you put your life in the hands of an ego. It’s much easier to question a taxi driver or even conductor when you think you’re lost, but one glance at the person behind the wheel in a private vehicle and you realize with horror that the ego has landed.
You see it staring at you behind that glare, behind the flaring nostril and it’s asking you to try and question it.
So on that note, upon realizing that we may have gone the wrong way, I cautiously suggested that we just simply needed to go ‘round’. I started to suspect something might have been up when a road sign crept into view and let us know that Pretoria was straight ahead.
Money, Money, Money
It’s a little known fact that our currency is no good outside our border. In fact, I’ve had Kenyans say it’s beautiful, but worthless… sort of like that chick in the Red Pepper. That said, the dollar should be standard issue if you’re going to get around, except that, in this case, it’s not that straightforward.
See, because of the crime that’s something of a big deal, you need to jump through hoops to change your currency. Short of hoping you run into a hustler with a heart of gold, you need to present a passport (preferably yours and valid), your plane ticket, utility bill for the place you claim to be staying at, your shoe size, a toothbrush, your best pair of Mickey Mouse boxer shorts, a tattoo that says Romeo Must Die and a driving permit. Well, some of these may actually be waived…
When you get over the initial shock that they are talking to you in er, South African, you will get the impression that there truly is a customer service school that people go to. It’s not so much because it’s Class A in its delivery, which it may or may not be, depending, but there seems to be a little bag from which prompts are extracted.
“Do you want plastic?” she asks me with an almost genuine smile.
I think I heard her ask about plastic, but that goes without saying, doesn’t it? Well, as I try to piece this together, she asks;
“Where’s your mind?”
I’ll tell you this much, it’s not in a gutter… yet. But what I do say is, “sorry, long day”
Her smile is genuine this time as she hands over my change and tells me to, “Go home and sleep”
“Plastic?” She asks my mate. No smiles this time. Just a look that says, “**** me! I’m tired”
My mate goes through the motions, trying to understand why these people are asking whether we want something that supermarkets back in Kla are practically giving away (here’s your lollipop ssebo, do you want a Kaveera? Here’s your change… I put it in a kaveera?)
Without missing a beat, “where’s your mind?”
The traffic back home kindalookslikethis. Jo’burg’s has a certain elegance and it actually moves so it s o r t a l o o k s l I k e t h I s. And even then, at the risk of sounding snobbish, it’s a different feeling when you realize that the car in front is in fact not always a Toyota…. A lot of the time it’s a freakin’ Audi… or a Beemer…. Or a VW (Volkswagen, not VolWo)(but they do have loads of those… the Volvos I mean) Of course after the first week I will likely get bored by it all and get riled every time an awesome ride cuts into my lane. Who knows, I may even develop some serious vehicular red mist of my own… wouldn’t that be grand….