On the weekend we saw red – but it was all good!

June 14, 2013


Dear Max

On Saturday we hopped onto the Joburg sightseeing red bus as it was the launch of the GeePee Kids Special (a programme that lets kids under 18 ride for free when they’re accompanied by a full-paying adult).

You had been looking forward to it the whole week, and it was the only way I could bribe motivate inspire you to dress and brush your hands and teeth without too much of a fight on Saturday morning.

We left from Gold Reef City and headed off on our tour with an audio guide (via earphones) telling us a bit about the history and landmarks we were passing, plus some other interesting info.


You were enthralled for most of the trip (towards the end you got a bit fidgety), asking questions, and pointing out things (I was horrified that on a trip that spanned around 20km, we saw five McDonald’s – “Look mom, there’s an ‘M’ like in Max” – five times!).

At our stop at Museum Afrika, you had a meltdown because you wanted to be carried. At the museum I put you down, and said I wouldn’t carry you anymore because my back was sore. You cried for about 20 minutes – it was like a battlefield, neither of us wanting to give up on what we thought was right for us (in your case, being carried, and in my case, you walking on your own). Eventually there was ceasefire, something switched and you were okay again. And my nerves were shot.


The trip made me feel like a happy tourist (without the backpack) and I was reminded of similar bus tours in London, Rome and Paris where I just sat back enjoying the views and sites, and my best – watching people down below walking, working and socialising. I also love how rides like this – and travel in particular – let me escape. I envisage living in other places, and living other lives completely. I create stories and pictures in my head of how people live, what they do, who they go home to.



The trip reminded me too of our beautiful city filled with contrasts and contradictions, and so many childhood experiences. From Santarama Miniland where I used to go often as a child, to the Carlton Hotel where I went to ice-skating parties and never managed to take my hand off the rail. I have rich memories of Hillbrow where we used to go and hang out in the record store and eat waffles at Milky Lane, and visiting my dad’s office at the corner of Fox and Harrison streets which seemed like THE most important, fun and looming place when I was small.



You experienced this ride so differently to me, but we both had fun and immersed ourselves in what we related to. I hope we get to experience many more such rides together.




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