Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Mowbray-Kyeeeeep Teen!

Today these random Cape Town taxi memories came at me from nowhere. I would love to hear other people's taxi stories, but I suspect I am the only one reading this:

- The time I was walking home at night from campus. I was walking towards Main road down one of the side roads. As I neared Main Road I saw a taxi whizz by on the Main Road pavement. A robot taking too long perhaps? I remember stopping, blinking a few times, and saying, nah I did not just see that. And my brain replying, oh yes you did, right past Pick n Pay.

- Another time on the freeway behind varsity, we were driving late at night towards Rondebosch, the only car on our side of the road, and we saw a taxi zooming the wrong way down the freeway that heads towards Cape Town. Me thinking, thank gawd we not on that side of the freeway!

- Another time (at band camp) - boyfriend and I -sitting in a taxi in Claremont waiting for the guy who collected money in our taxi to finish beating up the guy from another taxi. They were throwing eachother up against the taxi. I was all for climbing out the window and running away, boyfriend wanting to get into the fray and pull these guys apart. He made me stay on the taxi.

- The time I was wandering the streets (Main Road again) in the dark at some ungodly hour of the morning, trying to get to varsity, and I accidentally got on a taxi to Manenberg. The guy shouted something, I have no idea what (well, I guess he must have shouted "Manenberg" really, makes sense, but that is not what I heard. What did I hear? I have no idea, whatever I wanted to hear I assume). The taxi stopped, I got on, the guy (he looked very doubtful) asked me "something something", I guess he was saying "Mannenberg? and I nodded, again hearing whatever it was I wanted to hear. As the taxi was about to turn off Main Road, the guy asked me one last time with much skepticism and disbelief in his face, "Manenberg", and I finally clicked, and muttered "Gawd, no, I better get off here." (Not that I have anything against Manenberg, but it is quite far away from where I was meant to be, and me alone, and in the dark...). I was lucky that between the two of us there was one brain. The one whose brain it wasn't never did go to Manenberg.

- memories of being squished into a taxi meant to seat surely no more than 14 or 15 people? In the mornings they squished in at least 20, I remember semi standing, semi perching on some poor guy's knee with another guy's unidentified body part in my face, thinking how the hell am I going to get off this taxi?

- The (many) times when the taxi drivers would race eachother down Main Road. This was NOT fun. Ok, maybe just a little bit, they drove REALLY fast, but there was a small part of me that thought I was gonna die each time.

In a city where there is a freeway that drops off into midair, anything can happen on the roads.


po said...

Boyfriend told me this taxi-related story:

He lived in Hout Bay and was on a taxi driving through the informal settlement there: Imizamo Yethu. As the taxi was about to pull over to let people out, it was surrounded by an altercation between police and an illegal immigrant (this was long long ago, many years before the current xenophobia situation). The locals joined in on the side of the immigrant and mobbed the police, who shot into the air ("rubber bullets?" I asked naively at this juncture. Um, no.) All the people in the taxi duck and cover, and the driver puts foot and skedaddles out of there.

Ah, a day like any other in SA.

Mandrake said...

Too many taxi stories to tell. But one cape town adventure which i'll never remember is the ffg:

I was coming back from the then Pentech from one of my drunken escapades. Took the 18:00 train from the Pentech railsiding and the f$W#^n thing ground to a halt at Ysterplaat train yard. Now everyone is staring at each other with desperate eyes. I'm thinking " Fu#$ i'm broke, the train was my saving grace.

So we help this other girl off the train and start walking with my bud all the way from maitland to Obz mainroad, just past Rex trueform. Now we were gentlemen, so we waited with the lady for a taxi going to town. eventually she got one. We waited for another 30min and finally got a taxi willing to drop us at Mowbray. I lived in Kenilworth just behind Rosmead at that point.

We get to Mowbray and my friend says i can crash at his place. The following day i have lecture, but i was too delapidated to think about such stuff. We shuffled from Mowbray police station all the way to Baxter.

These stories just make me smile when i'm paying my car instalment.

Cheers Po

po said...

Hey mandrake, thanks for the comment, my partner lectured at Pentech! Probably before your time though. Sounds like you got to see far more of CT in one night than is good for anyone.

Last time i was in CT this taxi driver rode in the MIDDLE of 2 lanes and then whammed into the back of a car at a robot. niiice.