The Africa Journals
The Perils of a country girl
Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey. – Fitzhugh Mullan
How could I get out of this stairwell? I left behind the broken glass and the useless handle with chain attached and started climbing stairs. Up, up, and up even more. Eventually, I saw a big number “9” painted on the wall. Could it be? Was it really nine floors?
I thought I heard voices so I banged on the door and yelled. Nothing. No rescue. I went to another floor and listened. Nothing. I stood there considering my fate.
Then I noticed a gray circle on the stairwell door. It looked like a plug you would use to fill and cover the hole for a door knob. I looked closely. It was little more than a quarter inch thick, hardly enough to get a grip on it with your fingertips.
It turned! It not only turned, it opened the door. Free at last, free at last! I can be PUNCTUAL after all.
|The glass elevator.|
I found the elevator and waited for someone who had a room key card to show up. A gentleman walked past in the hallway. I explained my predicament—“I locked my key in my room and need to go to the lobby to get a new one, but I don’t have a key card to operate the elevator…”
“You don’t need one to go down,” he said kindly. “Just going up. For security.”
So, entirely on my own, I went to the ground floor, got a new key card, then went to the mezzanine level for breakfast, laughing at my predicament—now that I was free. I couldn’t wait to tell my new travel companions.
The day had just begun but already I'd been trapped in the stairwell about twenty minutes.
I needed to exchange some US dollars for South African Rands and still be punctual for the bus to Mabula Game Reserve. I went to my room and got some cash from the safe. Then I left my room, careful to take one of my key cards but again making a wrong turn away from the elevators, corrected myself, and found the elevator.
I counted the floors down: 8 or 9. The elevator car was glass and on the exterior of the building, so I could count steel floor girders as I went down.
|Looking out over a residential area from the glass elevator.|
And off to the bank in the adjoining mall I went, fully confident in my ability to handle this simple transaction.
Hand over some dollars and get Rands in return.
What possibly could go wrong?