How hard can it possibly be? You wouldn’t believe it.
The first obstacle here is actually having means to pay for the car. We need two cars as SA is not pedestrianised and does not have much in the way of safe public transport. Our plan was to get a cheap run around for Rob to drive to work, and a nicer car (chosen on the basis that he can fit his blimmin’ surfboard in) for us that will be our main car. Our budget is around £20,000 for 2 cars. You would think that would be enough wouldn’t you? In the UK we could both drive very decent second hand cars for that, but not in SA. Cars are so much more expensive here that it’s almost criminal. For a crappy second hand run around with a tiny engine, p/s and a/c we are looking at minimum R60,000 – that’s over £5,000. We are talking about a hairdryer on wheels here! Nothing with a decent engine and certainly no space in the boot! For Rob to get something like an Astra with decent mileage he is going to have to spend in the region of R160,000+, which is more than £15,000. It’s crazy.
We were going to finance both cars in Rob’s name and put down half as the deposit, but due to the bureaucracy here we have decided to buy the little shitty car for cash and then finance Rob’s. Well, that is if we can get finance as Rob is here on a 2 year visa and you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to do anything here without an SA ID or permission to stay for longer. We applied for finance last week and were told it would take 2 days to find out. That was 7 days ago. Gotta love Africa.
The first week that we were here it wasn’t too bad having one car as Rob worked half day a few days and then was off a few more. Now he has gone back to work and I don’t have a car. I’m essentially trapped in the house, apart from walking to anywhere nearby. The supermarket is not close enough to walk back with the goods, and guess what, Midas needs to go to the vet as he has an eye infection (when is that cat ever not sick?!).
I can’t even rent a car as my passport has been sent off to apply for my visa. My only real option is taxi’s, but private taxi’s are extortionately priced here and I don’t have a job, and I’m definitely not brave enough to get a minibus taxi – yesterday I’m sure I saw about 30 people crammed into one and they usually seat 16, with the driving erratic at best. I don’t think that some of these guys know that there are indicators to signal when changing lanes or turning.
We are going to spend the weekend looking at cars, but that’s still 2 days away and most dealerships appear to be closed on Sundays. I’m going stir crazy in this house. I haven’t quite finished unpacking yet, but there are other things that I need to do and I want to get out of this house already! Instead I think I am going to have to accept defeat, grab some tanning lotion and hit the garden. It’s a hard life.