What to do When Your Car Breaks Down in Cape Town


  • First, it’s important to get the scene right. When your car starts to sputter and jerk in Cape Town, it’s best if you’ve already begun climbing a fairly long and steep road. Ensure there’s dubious shoulder space on the side, so that pulling over is inadvisable. Come to think of it, Camps Bay Drive is perfect for this situation – so start at the Cattle Baron Restaurant, heading toward Kloof Nek. Gun up towards the curve and wait for the sickening shudders.
  • Now you’ve got the sickening shudders – that’s a good start. Because you are guided by the muse of Utter Folly, continue driving up the hill, mostly in first gear. When your hazard lights finally decide to stop working (what took them so long?), replace them with appropriate wild gesturing, out of the driver’s side window.
  • You’ve reached the top of the hill, and the temperature gauge is indicating plenty of leeway before you blow a gasket – there’s at least 1/10 of a gap left in the red zone. Perfect. Shift to neutral, and proceed to dive-bomb the other vehicles on Kloof Nek, all the while trying to determine the steepest route to your mechanic, and making abrupt turns down narrow roads as necessary.
  • Certain stretches of your cleverly-improvised route will inevitably be flatter than you anticipated, and the car will naturally splutter and die on them. When the car finally creeps to a halt, grow a third arm. This you will use to maintain your rate of wild gesticulation, while the other two arms take care of pushing and steering. Orange St. is a particularly good place for this to happen.
  • Now you can start wondering what went wrong with your car. Was it the lead replacement petrol? the 240,000kms? Or just the fact that you have an important meeting to attend, and only got 4 hours of sleep last night? Ideal conditions, it must be admitted, for a test of resolve and agility. Perhaps your car is your secret guardian angel, preparing you for future ordeals. You will have to ask
    Shannon Walbran about that.
  • You’ve finally managed to get your car to the crest of another hill – congrats! Because you are a stunt man, you can now start it rolling again. Run alongside until you’re sure it has enough momentum to keep going by itself, then hop in like Errol Flynn, and pop the clutch like Ken Futch. Coast the remaining distance to your mechanic, who will scratch his head in perplexity and amusement.
  • Run to your meeting on foot. You will be sure to make a terribly good impression. Once all the palaver is done with, it’s important that you end your little experience by griping about it all in a frivolous blog post.

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