Scary stories from a lovely place
Today another of my worst nightmares was realised (almost). My car broke down on the N12 west highway, just before the Edenvale offramp, about 20km from the centre of Jozi. I pulled over into the stormwater culvert on the way down the crest of a hill. This scenario left me in potential danger from hijackers, robbery and other speeding cars. However, in the end it wasn’t a worst nightmare because my protective husband was in the driver’s seat and my manly friend Levy was in the backseat.
Levy and I waited in the car talking about life while being shaken by the speeding of the passing cars, as Stephen phoned various friends to come and help us. We must only have been waiting for 5 minutes when a traffic control vehicle pulled up behind us and two very efficient Siyaya employees jumped out, bordered us off with very large orange cones and began waving red flags to warn people of our presence. They explained that we were in a high accident zone and that they would arrange for us to be towed to the nearest petrol station, suprisingly free of charge. We obviously acquiesced.
Promptly, not just a tow truck, but one of those flat bed trucks that the car sits on top of arrived to bail us out. In true South African style we asked the guy how much he would charge to rather drive us the further 30km home and he agreed. While I continued to sit comfortably in the passenger seat we were hoisted aboard the truck with a fair amount of shaking and stuttering, and began our conspicious journey home. Stephen joined me and Levy rode up front with our new friend.
We were indeed conspicuous. We drove through town which, on a sunny Sunday afternoon was crowded. Naturally we solicited many stares, smiles and bemused looks. It was somewhat akin to riding in the back of one of those carts at the airport or in an embarrassingly expensive convertible on your wedding day. The journey reminded me afresh of why downtown Joburg is such a beautiful city. I was able to appreciate an aerial perspective on the architecture, range of people, eclectic city artworks and beautiful greenery.
In hindsight the whole afternoon was surprisingly pleasant. Joburg has a bad reputation for crime, crazy driver’s and no real sense of community. All these things can definitely be true, but today I experienced none of them. I don’t do it often, but in future I will be slow to criticise the efficiency of Joburg. The thorougness with which we were attended to was exemplary. Two of our friends we phoned either arrived or nearly arrived to help us, but we sent them all away. We never faced the danger of crime, which one so often equates with breaking down on a busy highway.
Thank you Siyaya for bailing us out today. They are the guys to blame for the road work causing havoc on that particular highway. Gilooley’s interchange is bad at the best of times, but the road works have made it the trafficky mess it is at the moment. For my part, as soon as they introduce their tolls and start charging us for using the highways I will pay my cash happily, knowing that I have them to thank for turning my potential nightmare or mere crappy afternoon into another fun and interesting time in Joburg.