Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Mini Driving

Caron was invited to the launch of the new mini which she happily agreed to, I was a little reluctant but the promised drive in the new cooper-s was too tempting. We both arrived at the mini showroom at 18:30 on thursday night, tired from a day at the salt mines, expecting to have a drive and then go home by 19:30 max. This was not to be, we waited until 19:00 before there was a little bit of a ho, hum speech from the marketing director before we were given the keys to a mini along with a set of instructions how to get to somewhere. We were allocated a cooper instead of a cooper-s BUT, we were promised, we would have an opportunity to drive one later on.
The instruction led us to the newtown area of johannesburg which is not the best of areas to put it mildly and to a series of activities each of which was designed to show off a particular facet of the new mini. This must really have taken some organisation with about 35 minis driving around at break neck speed going to all the activities.
First up was the car wash where we were unceremoniously turned away for a bit of an outride before we went to the drive-in which was like the old fashioned drive-ins which were so popular her during the 60's and the 70's. We got to chomp our way through popcorn while we watched a movie extolling the virtues of the mini as the sound track blared through the cars sound system. Pretty impressive sound system by the way. Next up we were back at the car wash where we were handed an ipod to attach to the sound system before we were escorted through the carwash by suitably busty car washmaids and buff washmen. I kid you not, the one guys T-shirt even shouted "Buff" at you and several of the guys tried to dry the windows with their chests. Just for Caron I'm sure, I think ... I hope! Unfortunately I can't say that I was treated with the same behaviour by the comely washmaids.
Last but not least was the "joyride" which was where we were to get our taste of the cooper-s but due to the rain this was cancelled much to our disappointment and we were led off to a nearby restaurant for some snacks, not to be confused with dinner, before the bus came to fetch us at 22:00. So there we were, stranded in the middle of downtown johannesburg with absolutely no means of getting home except to wait the hour before the bus left. By 21:30 I was ravenous having eaten as many snacks as I thought I could get away with without appearing to be a pig. 30 minutes, I thought, ought to be enough to get a real meal and eat it before the bus left so I ordered a vegetable stir fry with instructions to make it quickly. 15 minutes later with no food in sight, it was announced that the bus was leaving within 5 minutes so there was a mad scramble to find out how far the food was which wasn't very. In fact it was still frozen to I had to abandon the order which I felt a bit bad about but I wasn't going to be hanging around for the next bus which was due to leave at between 23:00 and 24:00.
As we departed we were handed 512Mb flash drives as a present which was pretty cool and rescued the evening somewhat.
The newtown area is somewhere we just never go to. There is a big push to revive the area and a lot of money and effort has gone into it so there are these very juz restaurants and entertainment venues between the decaying buildings. Driving 1/4 million rand mini's around past marble edifices like bank city while homeless people sleep under cardboard boxes on the pavement one the other side of the street was a wild contrast of lifestyles.

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