Thursday, May 28, 2009
Will, Aaron, and I had planned on renting moped/scooters for a while but it eventually seemed like it would be impossible. First off, there was the fact that neither me or Will had driven anything remotely similar to a scooter before, that I had no experience driving in South Africa (where people drive like madmen and to top it off, on the left side of the road), and that we very clearly do not have scooter licenses.
But somehow, we went into Eurojet and they took our 15 dollars without asking any questions whatsoever. I guess most rules are bendable when it comes to traffic. And after all, we did have enormous helmets. Though it was absolutely beautiful out (70 and sunny), the day started out terribly. I couldn't figure out the kickstand so my scooter collapsed onto the sidewalk. We Aaron and I finally took off to practice on a side street in Town (yes, we were starting in the middle of busy Cape Town), we lost Will. Apparently he had tried to leave the shop but lost control and fell over in the middle of the road. Somehow they still let him take the scooter, which in retrospect is really unbelievable.
It was difficult at first but I think we all got the hang of handling the scooters pretty quicklly, though our first drive and parking job on Long Street was a nightmare. One we got out to Sea Point and started to feel the wind and sea breeze in our faces, I started to feel totally invigorated. We stopped at a sandwhich shop and ate out on the grass promenade by the sea, and again were on our way. We sped along the coast, driving through Clifton and Campus Bay, twisting and turning around the narrow, windy coastal roads. The views of the mountains and sea was even more unbelievable from my scooter. Most of the time I felt like I was dreaming. It was just so liberating.
We stopped at Llandudno (the beach with the really cool boulders) and continued on to Hout Bay. We then circled back through Constantia, a wealthy wine suburb, and into Wynberg. Speeding along Maine Road (the main route into Cape Town) was an incredible experience. It is amazing how quickly you can fall into the trap of Capetonian driving. All three of us were speeding along, passing people, cutting off minibuses. It was amazing. Once we arrived back in town I think we felt like we had been driving the things forever. To finish off the day, we drove up Signal Hill, another beautiful, windy drive. The top has one of the best views of Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean.
When we returned our scooters by 5, I think they were shocked to see us. This was definitely one of the most memorable days I have had here. For the first time I think I felt totally free.