Wednesday, 8 December 2004

Road Trip

Bails and I are going on another great adventure. We've hired the car already. Its going to be fab. There will be singing along to old family faves (mine include a strange mix of Ray Charles, Dolly Parton and Boney M, it was only recently that we discovered that hers are very similar but are likely also to include Queen).

We've done this before - for some reason we like to do the driving thing, disadvantage is that I'm the only one who can drive.

Most recently we went to France and stayed in a cottage up some single track road 100 miles south of Toulouse. Great countryside. On the way I got a terrible phonecall from the Boyfiend who had just found out his sister had died and in the mind scramble that followed I managed to clip the wing mirrors of all the cars parked on the main street in a town we were going through. Quite some going I thought.

Later in the trip we were on a roundabout when I recognised some people who shared the same morning train as me, not knowing their names I shouted, "Haringey Folks!" loudly out the window but we didn't have time to see if they noticed. Incidentally, on my return to the commute I kept wanting to say to them (they were a young couple - he had red curly hair and she was waif-like, could've been French) how did they enjoy the south of France, but never got up the courage. Finally, I decided that they must have split up because he started only coming to the station alone, had a major overhaul and shaved his hair off.

We set the scene however in South Africa. Bails was living with a boyfriend out there and I went to visit - we hired a car to drive down to Addo Elephant Park from Cape Town. Great driving - empty roads, beautiful scenery, fantastic hostel type places. When we reached Addo we kept pulling up to view the elephants, at the watering hole, tonnes together in a group, running etc, for some reason (as is common with a hire car) I couldn't get used to the fact the horn was one of those central plates on the steering wheel and I kept leaning on it and tooting the horn - kept getting the worst looks from everyone else around us. I was mortified. Bails on the other hand, couldn't stop laughing. And I did it more than once. Then it started to rain, and the tracks turned to mud. A nice man from up front in a four wheel drive got out and told me how to drive in such conditions - don't ever hit the brake and go very very slowly. So we inched around the park. I was concentrating so hard by the time we pulled into the carpark I forgot to brake and drove into the wall. Bails practically pee'd her pants.

On our way from there to Port Elizabeth we got caught for speeding through a village. Quite unintentionally. There were some strapping police officers with a speed gun. I held my hands up, and offered to pay, without question. I think the combination of my accent and my willingness to cough up led to them letting me off with a (not terribly) stern caution ("don't let me catch you doing it again") type thing. Nobody could believe it when we got back (300 dollar fine apparently).

So, hopefully none of that this time. But we are looking forward to it.

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