I decided to catch Cape Town’s MyCiti bus into town, to attend the Open Book Festival, held in the CBD. After all, I have my pre-loaded bus card, so why not? Fighting city traffic and hunting for a parking never appeals to me. The bus had to be the better option.
All went according to plan from my local stop, to the City terminus. What a good idea this was! Now all I had to do was find out where to catch the last bus to take me to the Festival venue at the Atholl Fugard Theatre. So I approached the nearest MyCiti official and asked which bus I should take to the District Six Museum, knowing that it was around the corner from the Fugard.
I know I said District Six Museum but what the official heard was only the first part. She told me there was a District Six stop. So: I boarded. The bus ploughed up Adderley Street, into Darling Street, past the Castle, and up the hill to Cape Town Tech. At which point I had a nasty sinking feeling. I knew that my intended destination now lay half a kilometre behind me, but the bus forged on. Sure enough, there was a District Six stop, but it wasn’t where I needed to alight! By now, we were too far advanced for me to jump off and walk quickly to the theatre. Sometimes you just gotta relax, and admire the view. Which I did, for the next half hour.
The higher we ascended, the more spectacular the views. First the narrow streets of Woodstock, gentrified cottages and pricey eateries; then the hodge-podge of shabby Salt River shops and backyard dwellings.
Ahead were the narrow, narrow streets of Walmer Estate, which our bus driver tackled with verve , causing me to feverishly repeat my mantra. Up and round and round, to the windy heights of University Estate, a fantastic view of the harbour far below – vessels, oil rigs, cranes, and the Atlantic.
Down, down we plunged at breakneck speed towards the maelstrom of Salt River traffic circle which is a crazy roundabout of trucks, bakkies, cars, motorbikes all converging on a mammoth traffic circle – I clung onto my seat grimly as our Lewis Hamilton-wannabe driver charged round the circle, back up into Salt River Main Road which I knew would ultimately lead us back to the City terminus. But not before we’d missed several cars by a whisker in Salt River, and had an altercation at the bottom end of Adderley Street, where the road narrowed down to one lane and a cheeky white Corsa thought it would nip smartly in front of our bus … The Corsa lost out, defeated by a storm of angry hooting from our driver.
I think I used up my day’s allocation of adrenalin, but I loved seeing the flower sellers in Trafalgar Square, loved the cypresses and green grass of the upper mountain slopes, the harbour views, the tatty peeling charm of Salt River – and miraculous to report, I boarded another bus, got off at the correct stop, dashed up Harrington Street and made it to the venue in time. Phew!