12 December 2008

navigating around

After years of resistance - and living in countries where I either knew my way around or where the road system was transitory, to say the least - I have finally succumbed to using a GPS navigator for the car (a "Navi" in German). It has made me aware of and transformed my hesitancy of getting around in South Africa, and made me more adventurous about using back roads in New Zealand.

Ever since we talked about going to Johannesburg we have been getting aghast looks and dire warnings about the danger of being out on the road in the murder capital of the World. Advice has ranged from keeping all doors locked and never going out after dark, to keeping a car length space at traffic lights so that in the case of a car jacking attempt it is possible to swerve past the car in front. It has made me hesitant to drive on my own. To be fair, the first few weeks in the crazy traffic of Dubai were pretty nerve-wracking, but there the issue was confined to being accidentalyy in on purpose being rammed by a speeding Landcruiser, not robbed and murdered on the open road, as people have been predicting.

All this has changed now that I have the dulcet tones of Sally the navigator telling me to "in 200 metres turn left" and "recalculating" when I miss a junction. She is amazingly easy to program and even lets me download my routes to my Mac when I return so I always knew where I went. The fear of getting lost is gone now so I know whatever else happens I will aways find my way home.

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