Smile Folks – It Can Take You Places

After driving myself all the way to chuch alone while trying to avoid the blocked streets due to a 50,000 person foot race and a race car show I decided that I wanted just a little more practice.  I wanted to get out, see the big city of Jo’burg, get familiarized with the roads, and maybe take some nice photos along the way. 

To do this, I planned to take Hendrik Potgieter road out for an hour and then come back again.  This way I couldn’t get lost.  I did bring my roommate’s book of maps with me and thank God I did!

Everything was fine at first.  I was driving past malls and spas and golf courses.  Then nurseries and fields.  And then I saw a stop light.  It looked as though the left lane was a turn lane only so I moved to the right noticing that this was the shorter of the two lanes.

It struck me as a bit odd that most people were turning off here until I realized that it was actually an either/or lane-turn left or continue on Hendrik Potgieter.  And I had just positioned myself into a turn right only lane that led into the N4 Freeway!  Aieee.  But the lane next to me was so long I thought it would be easier to just turn onto the N4 and take the first exit back to Hendrik Potgieter.

Silly me.  Once on a South African freeway you don’t really go off.  I had to zoom up to nearly 120 km/hour (which my car doesn’t love doing) and pass kilometer after kilometer before an exit ever showed up.  The views were lovely and I ran across some shanty-towns that I wish I could have gotten photos of for you but there was no stopping on this freeway.  And before the first exit, I saw a sign for Pretoria which was only 40-something kms away.  Deciding to be impulsive and remembering that my roommate hasn’t even been to Pretoria in her five months here, I stayed the course with my windows down and a cd I had RJ burn for me blaring!

My short, two hours most drive turned into a four hour adventure.  Within this adventure I ran one red light, started driving the wrong way on a one-way street, drove on the freeway in the dark without knowing how to turn on my lights, found where my car horn was and was greeted in return by another driver, stopped at at least four petrol stations to pull out the map and find my way again and once for help turning my lights on, paid two tolls to drive on the N4 and N1 highways and made it home without my roommate even knowing I was gone.  I had a blast but there were times I was a bit nervous.  The Lord was very very gracious and brought my rather silly and definitely pitiful self home safely. 

Oh and I stopped at a McDonalds and walked into the store as the only melanin-challenge person in the whole place.  Smiles help you get by everywhere folks, smiles.  This is one of the biggest lessons I have learned since coming here.  Smiles and my photo bag that Janet made for me with pictures of me and my family.  Everyone seems to love it here, send more photo bags! 

Oh and that McD’s burger and mini cup of corn (the newest side item here in S. Africa) you saw pictured on yesterday’s post really were tasty!  All meat here is free range unlike American McD’s.  Come on over and I’ll treat you to a burger anytime.

Because of my random trip to Pretoria (the capital of South Africa) I am definitely a better driver.  I still stall quite often but I feel more comfortable with my gears and speeds and I know how to turn the lights on now.

This is just another reason for me to smile.

I only shot four photos on the whole trip.  Two are the same place and one is the McD’s meal you saw yesterday.  So I will give you two:

the first is this lovely church whose steeple I spotted from a major road and I twisted and turned to find it. 

Here is the church and here is the steeple open it up and see all the people.
Here is the church and here is the steeple open it up and see all the people.

and the second photo…well this one is for Tootsie and her entire family.  Because everybody needs to make sure their brakes are in working order.  I shot this photo like a lightning flash because I was only waiting at a red light.

The Midas Touch!

The Midas Touch!

Don’t forget to send questions for our Q & A time/post/whatever!


One Response to “Smile Folks – It Can Take You Places”

  1. Maureen Says:

    Goodness I’m going to have a stroke reaing these driving stories!

    Jennifer dear anytime you sit behind the wheel of a car for the first time you always, always, always, check your mirrors and find out where the lights and wipers are. Even if it is your parent’s car and you have ridden in it lots of times. The first time you sit behind the wheel of a car you always check where things are.

    That doesn’t automatically mean you will remember where those things are when you need them, mind you. But you always check. I also check the radio settings and air/heater settings. Ok. Deep breath.

    I’m so glad you got out and about and were safe! The McDonalds in Russia were the same as in America except for some menu items — is it the same as in S.A.?? What photo bag are you talking about?

    The stalling will go away soon – you are already getting better. Practice is the key, and finding that “spot” on your particular car where the clutch and gas work best. Love the Midas photo!

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