"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Africa Journals, Ch. 7, The Perils of a Country Girl

The Africa Journals

Chapter 7
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.

Happy Brian.
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?


  1. I can FEEL .. NOT IMAGINE mind you .. but I am able to FEEL what you were going through in that stairwell! Terror? Fear? Frustration? Bewilderment? Insecurity? Am I Going To Die In This Stairwell? Where's The Fudge to eat to make me feel better (as in YOUR acronym that you have used several times .. WTF!) .. to hear voices outside and to knock for assistance with NO results .. this had to be a real WHEW! What an absolute Nightmare!? .. I have NO story in my file to match this one .. truly .. words-fail-me .. Smiles from Cap and Patti ..

  2. OMG!!! Traveling isn't for the faint at heart...I'm learning that, Gully. Along with lots of other things, of course.