Home Opinion & Features In for the long haul … on road less travelled

In for the long haul … on road less travelled

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Let me say in my defence that I have always – so far – managed to reach my intended destination eventually

SOME people seem to have road maps imprinted on their brains. They find their way unerringly even if they’ve only visited their destination once before – and long ago. I’m just the opposite. I can get hopelessly lost within a few blocks of my home, even if I’ve travelled that route many times.

A typical conversation in my bakkie goes something like this:

“Just take us to John’s house.”

“How do I get there?”

“Don’t be silly. You know how to get there. We went there last Tuesday.”

“Okay, so how did I get there last Tuesday?”

When I have no passengers to direct me I use my own system of navigation, which may not involve the most direct routes.

I may know, for example, that I need to keep Table Mountain on my left for a while, and somewhere along the way I must cross a railway line and pass a sports field, then turn right after two tall palm trees.

Don’t ask me about street names. I’m too busy driving to read street signs. My journeys usually take longer than necessary, but I do see interesting parts of Cape Town along the way.

Let me say in my defence that I have always – so far – managed to reach my intended destination eventually.

Sometimes my hosts have been puzzled by the direction from which I arrive, but I do arrive.

And there’s a useful general excuse for arriving late: “The traffic was horrendous!”

No matter what time or what day you travel, the traffic is always horrendous. It’s always wise to travel with a good excuse, and that’s a pretty useful one to have in Cape Town.

I went to visit a famous wine farm near Durbanville recently and completely lost my way.

Eventually I stopped my vehicle, got out and flagged down a passing motorist. I asked him the way and he tried to explain, but eventually said: “Just follow me. I’ll take you there.”

We wound our way along leafy suburban lanes and round several traffic circles and he waved me into a big farm gate and sped off.

Very kind people, the Durbanville folk.

Actually, it turned out to be the wrong wine farm, but the people there redirected me to the right one, a couple of kilometres away.

See what I mean about seeing South Africa and meeting kind people with my navigating system? If I’d had a GPS thingy in my car I’d have missed all that adventure.

Last Laugh

A Russian spy was sent on a highly secret mission to Ireland. He was to contact an undercover agent in Belfast and whisper a secret password: “The wild geese have landed.”

His contact would reply: “The nest is ready.”

He found the house, knocked on the door and a woman opened it.

“The wild geese have landed,” he whispered.

“Oh, you’ve come to the wrong address, sir,” she said. “It’s Shamus the spy you’ll be wanting. He lives along the road in number 12.”