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Cars, of course

posted Mar 11, 2010, 1:00 AM by Ana Gauche   [ updated Mar 11, 2010, 11:22 PM ]

4 March 2010


Spending the morning in a Home Affairs office is not a pleasant way to begin a day.  I had to enter South Africa on a tourist visa until Paul could sort out his citizenship status.  Now my visa is set to expire in about a month so I’m trying to extend it.  If I can do that then it should buy me enough time until Paul’s paper work is completed and I can apply for permanent residence so I can stay with my family while we’re here. Anyway, this was the second time Paul and I had to go to the Office of Home Affairs.  The time before they requested certain documents.  This time we brought in those documents and they requested more.  I’ll feel much better when we have this sorted out.


John has such a fascination about cars.  I guess he’s always had it but here it seems to have downright exploded!  Trucks too, but mainly cars.  He’s managed to learn the symbol for every car on the road here.  And not just sporty cars.  Every one!  That’s no small feat for a seven year old. 

From the looks of things, South Africans have a long standing love affair with Volkswagens:  Fox, Golf, Polo, Passat, Bug, Jetta, Toureg, little pick-ups—you name it; they’re all over the place, old and new alike.  Also popular are the Toyota, Mercedes Benz, Volvo, Citroen, Renault, Peugeot, and Opal (made by Chevrolet).  There are other cars though that John never fails to point out.  That means that in order to keep all hell from breaking loose in the backseat I have to do a bit of rubber necking, or at least feign some sort of effort, to look at what he wants me to see.  These seem to fascinate him, whether new or old models:   Fiat, Mini Cooper, Morris Minor, Smart cars, MG, Audi, Jaguar, BMW, Alfa Romeo, and probably others but these ar the ones that immediately come to mind.   But he gets most excited when he sees a Ferrari or a Bugatti or a Maserati or a Rolls Royce or an Aston Martin.  Once you get over the shock of actually seeing all these breathtakingly beautiful cars on the road in this little town you can just sit back and enjoy.  Eventually you’ll see something very cool.  When one of these magnificent ones passes while we’re driving though there’s an awful lot of pleading for me to catch up with it.  The humor of our little VW Fox trying to catch up with one of these V12s is lost on John but I love it.

The other day we were walking to school and we heard such an amazing motor behind us—or rather John heard it and he turned to look.  I only saw it as it passed—a beautiful silver Ferrari.  He was speechless.  “Wow!  Did you see that?” I said.  “That was amazing!!”  When it was finally out of sight he didn’t stop talking about it. 

Last week we passed a poster of an engine in the engineering building at the university.  John pointed out that it was a Ferrari engine.  Sure enough, it was; although he couldn’t have read the fine print above the poster saying so, not without telescopic vision.  John can tell you the size of a lot of engines and their top speeds and how fast they can go from 0 to 60.  I’m not gloating, I’m just really impressed.  

Johann Rupert (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Rupert ) lives in Stellenbosch and is said to own a Bugatti, among other things.  Although I’ve also heard that he’s fairly reclusive so we’re all curious about who’s driving that smokey blue Bugatti we’ve seen around here.

There is a TV show put out by the BBC that we get here call Top Gear (www.topgear.com).  John loves it and I have to admit it’s a lot of fun to watch these guys test drive all the fancy cars.