It’s a dark night. An older man and woman stand on a street corner examining a map in confusion, trying to make the most of the meagre street light.
As I drive past I can see they’re not from here. And it’s not just the upside down map they’re clutching and the cameras hanging around their necks that give them away, it’s that sense that they’re different and couldn’t possibly be from these parts.
It’s the world cup and they’re in an expensive suburb. B+B dwellers I presume. I’m on my way out for dinner and I’m running late, but I want them to have a good experience in South Africa, so I slow down and pull up along side them. I hold down the button to slide open my passenger window then lean across the leather passenger seat.
‘Are you lost? Can I help you?’ I ask with a big friendly smile.
They look up at me, startled.
The woman clutches her camera and handbag close to her body.
The man grabs her by the arm and pulls her close to him.
‘No, no, we’re fine!’ he says in a thick German accent.
‘We’re not lozt, no, absolutely fine,’ his German wife exaggerates.
‘Fine, fine, we’re fine,’ Mr German repeats.
Then they scurry off as fast as they can in the opposite direction, looking back at me nervously.
Hold on a second, I think. Were they scared of me?
No. Not scared. Absolutely terrified.
What did they think I was going to do to them? Shove them in my boot and off with them?
Am I (single white female in a nice car) really what the foreigners are scared of these days?
I guess so.
It’s a crazy-ass world.