Stranded on the Side of The Road in South Africa

Posted on
Mar 12, 2013

On the drive to Bushman’s Kloof from Cape Town, our bus overheated.

It was a monster of vehicle, and we barely filled up half of it. While we sat, comfortably air conditioned and uncrowded, the engine was getting hotter and hotter, until finally our driver had to pull over to side of the road and explain that we could go no further. We were an hour into our drive. They would be sending a replacement vehicle from Cape Town, but that would take another hour.

We took it all in stride. I’m actually kind of amazed, really, at how well everyone handled it. Particularly me. Not because I handled it particularly well, mind you, but because I’d say that in the yearbook of life, I’d be a shoo-in for “Most Likely to Freak Out at Stuff That Isn’t That Big a Deal.”

Seriously, my only competition would be George from Seinfeld and Woody Allen. I’d win, hands down.

We explored the little shaded rest area where we’d stopped. We took photos of the roadside, which might have seemed crazy to any local, but for us, it was positively fascinating.

I mean, we weren’t just stranded on the side of the road. We were stranded on the side of the road IN AFRICA.

My friend Courtney and I examined a piece of bark from a nearby tree in order to assess whether or not it would make for a good pair of earrings. And then I turned it over and saw the dozens of insects that were clinging to the underside, and tossed it, petrified.

Sorry, little insects, for disturbing your home. We were just feeling crafty is all.

Then someone cued up the Lion King soundtrack, which had downloaded onto their phone in anticipation of the trip.

And I realize that Africa is far greater than what Disney could teach in a 90-minute animated rehashing of Hamlet. But it was still delightful. And some of us sang along, and others laughed. We ate snacks and talked and long before anyone began to grow impatient, our replacement vehicle had arrived.

It was significantly smaller, but the air-conditioning worked and our driver had a lead foot. There was little cause to complain, and there would be even less when we reached Bushman’s Kloof.

I’ve heard (an infuriating number of times, actually) that getting there is half the fun. And perhaps it’s an expression that’s repeated so often because it often happens to be very, very true. What I didn’t realize, and what Africa taught me, is that sometimes not getting there at all, and spending a sweltering hour by the side of the road, can also kind of be a blast.

Having a companion with a severe case of excessive handsomeness helps, too.

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