Which road am I on?
As I’ve mentioned previously, there are some things that are just uniquely South African and in an attempt to best prepare the predicted influx of tourists for the 2010 Fifa Football World Cup, I thought it best to start blogging on just some of these subjects.
The first of these was of course the ubiquitous car guards, bless their cotton socks.
Given a distinct lack of public transport within South Africa, it’s highly likely that many of our international visitors will be hiring cars to get them to and from their guesthouses, B&B’s and hotels to the World Cup football stadiums. Combine the lack of public transport with some exorbitant domestic airfares during the World Cup period (11 June – 11 July) and we’ll not only have visitors negotiating their way around the suburbs, but also on our freeways and national roads.
Note to Americans and Europeans: We drive on the left hand side of the road. We’re an ex-British colony. We have a lot of stick-shift cars too. Please pick up any gearboxes you might drop whilst changing gears.
So, that said, we need to let you know just where you’ll find the road names and street names in South Africa.
Traditionally, you can expect to find street signs that look like this:
Big, upright poles with clear road names and directional indicators.
In South Africa, you’ll have to drop your eyes from the heavens to the kerbs. Yes, many of our street names are painted on the kerbs and in an ideal world, the markings will look something like this:
You can probably imagine though that a kerb (particularly on a corner) is going to take a fair share of knocks, bumps and general wear and tear, so it’s only a matter of time before you start having to second-guess yourself as to which road you’re actually on:
Now, all of the pictures above refer to Bond Street, in one of my neighbourhoods in Johannesburg. This is a good road; it’s got the traditional poles and the kerb markings. So you should be able to find where you are pretty easily – but in some cases you might not be so lucky:
And in this case, dear traveller – I would strongly recommend switching on the GPS to find out just where you are!
P.S. 10 points to the Earth Travel Unlimited reader who can name this street….!