Banana milkshake, garage pie, jelly babies. Check. Nope, not on my way to a kiddies’ party. I’m about to undertake the Great Trek from the Cape to the North in an old battered 4 x 4. The only time junk food is legitimate, in fact essential, is on a 1 500 km road trip.
“Are you driving all the way on your own?” is the general horrified reaction. Well, firstly, there’s no space for a passenger. My vehicle is packed with stock from my shop. Chock a block. I’m off to the big city to flog my wares. Like a tupperware lady, I will come to you… Times are tough, business is slow, and a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.
Secondly, the point of a road trip is to have alone time, bingeing on unhealthy treats to keep awake, blowing your brains out with loud music, singing along and reminiscing about the days when you were a careless teenager. And as I travel through the Moordenaarskaroo, I don’t have a care in the world, except that I’ve run out of jelly babies and I’m struggling to see through the windscreen.
I suspect I’ve wiped out a large portion of the insect population south of the Vaal River. As they say; some days you’re the bug, some days you’re the windscreen. Mmm… that’s kind of the mood we’ve been in for quite some time now. When will the bad news ever end? And then… we WON THE WORLD CUP! Yes, it deserves to be in Capitals.
In a couple of years to come, each and every South African will remember where he/she was when we became the world champions. I want to hold on to this feeling of euphoria. And as I drive through the dry and dusty Free State I feel like Superwoman as I sing along with Rodriguez. I’m suddenly brought down to earth when I notice that I’m running out of gas (the car, not me). I have no idea how far the next petrol station is. And I’ve run out of padkos. Superwoman? More like Super idiot.
Ah… but this is the year that we WON THE WORLD CUP. Lady Luck is smiling upon me. I spot a padstal, complete with donkeys and geese – and two petrol pumps. Relieved, I head for the slightly tatty pump, surprised that there are no petrol attendants. Then I see the faded notice: ‘NO FUEL. Awaiting license’. Really? They’ve clearly been waiting for a long, long time as those unused pumps look at least ten years old. I clearly misread Lady Luck’s smile. It was more like a cheeky grin…
Fast forward to 2am. It’s been over 11 hours and I find myself just outside Bloemfontein. Exhausted. I’ve consumed enough snacks to feed a family of four. Superwoman had planned to drive through the night, but comes a time when you have to admit defeat. Bloem is asleep. So are the truck drivers at the truck stop. I pull up in front of the 24-hour Wimpy, cover myself with my coat and before you can say “Are you out of your mind, woman?” I’m dead to the world. Three hours later the earth moves. The trucks are heading out. Bleary-eyed, I head to the Ladies. I spot another woman who looks even worse than me. She looks vaguely familiar… Oh. That’s me in the mirror. Note to self: Next time, pack veil.
Mercifully, my pop-up shop is a huge success. Now the return trip awaits. Madam has learnt her lesson. She’s booked herself cheap accommodation online. I’m met by a woman with spectacular eyebrows, almost as odd as her slightly hysterical voice. I suspect I may be the first guest she has ever hosted. The apartment is, well… not an apartment at all. It’s the old servants’ quarters. The toilet is right next to the bed. I kid you not. I have photos to prove it. You can basically use the loo as a bedside table.
I tell Eyebrows I’m quickly going to buy fresh milk and hit the road, heading straight back to my beloved Hermanus. I vow that next time (which is in two weeks’ time) I will simply fly to Jo’burg. I turn up the volume and listen with half an ear to the news bulletin… What? Are you serious? SAA has been grounded? Overwhelmed, I sink into a pit of despair. And then I remember… WE WON THE WORLD CUP!