There’s an interesting thing that happens in Joburg at this time of year. It’s almost as if there’s a collective letting go of breath that’s been held in all year. Yup, people in Johannesburg are known for being over-achievers, hard workers, go-getters and general road-hogs – so it’s quite a relief to realise that the majority of them will head off to other parts of the country (and the world) for the Christmas season, leaving those among us who’re staying home to enjoy how beautiful the city can actually be when devoid of all the ill-mannered and bad-tempered people that seem to inhabit it!
I’ve often said that if a genie jumped out of a well-burnished lamp and granted me three wishes, the one I’d have for ME and ME alone would be to have the roads to myself at least once a week – well, I’d obviously let bikes, motorbikes and pedestrians use them too. But this has been changed to the wish that only well-mannered, proper, licensed drivers who actually know what STOP means would be allowed on the road in this perfect little world of mine.
(And if you think this is only my big bugbear – think again! I have a number of friends who have actually left here because of the seriously bad driving, not only in this city, but alas, all round the country. Hopefully those driving country this festive season ensure that they keep the merry spirit going by not having to many festive ‘spirits’ and going and running over some poor unsuspecting reveller…)
It was also really pleasant to see the streets devoid of traffic, other than bicycles, for a whole morning as the Cycle Challenge took to the roads, much to the chagrin of those other two-wheeled road users, the bikers, who had to amend their routes for their high-speed breakfast runs to accommodate the non-petrol heads. Even so, there were a few injuries and alas, another death which overshadowed the event, but not from being whacked by a whacked-out speed-freak driver.
However, my bit in the whole event was well over by that time, with the registration all done, and the Cycle Challenge Experience well wrapped up. So I stayed home! But big ups to the inspired CHOC cows, 50 of whom once again took to the streets in full cow costume to raise money for their worthy cause. I must say, having them at the Experience was a blast too, and so glad to see so many people who visited the expo were ready to dip into their pockets to give to them too.
Leaving the roads and the Sandton Convention Centre – and back to some facts. I have informed SCC and the public relations department of the City of Johannesburg that they need to get their ducks in a row, as I’ve been told by a couple of people that Johannesburg is NOT the only city in the world that is neither on a major river or by the seaside. I’m sure the relevant departments will make full apologies in due course to the other major cities that have been snubbed (!? Yeah, right…. But that’s a story for another time…). But I’m glad to be able to inform you that our goldfields here on the Witwatersrand are estimated to be 30 times richer than any other gold fields in the world, Downtown Johannesburg has the third best collection of Art Deco buildings in the world, that the greater Johannesburg metropolis covers an area of 2 300 square kilometres, making it larger than New York, London or Sydney (eat yer hearts out!) and that electricity in Gauteng is the third cheapest in the world according to a World Economic Forum survey (well, that’s when it’s actually working, of course, and prior to the proposed 45% hike in tariffs that we’re facing in the new year…).
If you find anything wrong with those facts, please contact the Gauteng Tourism Authority direct!
Right, nuff said. My new earthworm farm has just arrived, and I must away to make the latest members of our menagerie at home… VermiJus, here we come!