Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Catching the Cape Town Bus

We've never had a really decent public transport system in Cape Town (nay, the whole of South Africa) until the thought of hosting the World Cup Football last year galvanized the powers that be. Unfortunately, the first route only opened six months ago, luckily from my suburb into central Cape Town. This has been a boon as I can pop into town to see the "Cinema Nouveau" movies at the Waterfront  - read: "right next to the famous Table Mountain recently voted one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World" - without being stuck in horrendous traffic or having to face huge parking fees. Funny thing: although people of every color and creed use the bus, if you get onto an empty one at the terminal, the black people gravitate to the back and the whites to the front. (??) This is nastily reminiscent to me of the old apartheid days but is it really so in the SA of 2011?  Maybe the black people would rather converse with the stranger sitting next to them in their own language.  Maybe there is nothing sinister at all: no matter how the social engineers try to mix us up, it's just that "soort soek soort"  (like attracts like) as they say in Afrikaans. After all, I avoid children and youngsters with noisy I-Pods: also anyone with BO. I look for the person who gets out their book or Kindle as my ideal travelling companion.

5 comments:

  1. Interesting observation on the seating on the bus. My own guess is that people tend as you said soort soek soort and is nothing more complicated than just being more comfortable with people more like yourself.

    Do you get aggravated when you find yourself in a waiting room, doctor, car repair, etc? You have your book or Kindle and its going to be a long wait, but there has to be a ubiquitous television with the most annoying program blaring away at 100 decibels. Try as I may to ignore the damned TV, it just worms its way into my Soul and I find myself on the cusp of a murderous rage. When I become king of the world, there will be the idiot's waiting room where anything from TV to mud wrestling goes, and there will be a reader's waiting room...with silence.

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  2. Oh yes. Heartily seconded! I am appalled that our libraries these days are full of noisy schoolchildren and equally noisy librarians helping them. There is no quiet place in our library at all! I LOATHE the piped music everywhere (except if it were Mozart!) but I have learned to block it out: I had a boyfriend once who was an opera singer. As a student, he taught himself to learn a score while his flatmates had their pop music blasting.

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  3. Interesting post! When I worked at a major university, there was a lot of discussion about the fact that, despite an admissions policy favoring diversity and resulting in many more black students on campus, they tended to hang out together and not mingle much, to the great disappointment of the people who saw diversity as such a step toward progress. Talking with some of the black students, I found it really was a matter of feeling comfortable with each other. Some eventually reached out to a greater variety of friends, but a sizable number still felt that the black student union and black student groups were the heart of their college experiences. Re noise: I can't stand piped music either. In our gym and pool area here, they play 50's and 60's rock, the songs of our youth.

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