I couldn’t walk any further, I was done. My feet ached and I was exhausted and sunburned. I was lion bait. We couldn’t find the bus that returned the day visitors from Sun City to the parking lot. We took the sky tram up, but now it was closed. I couldn’t bring myself to say anything because Lauren and Regan seemed excited to walk. I’ve hiked down rocky mountains in bare feet due to blisters, I’ve backpacked on the continental divide. I could swing this. I threw some dirt on it, sucked it up and lagged behind, silently cursing my shoe choice.
Then there was music and screaming, laughing and cheering. I turned to see two women in the front and middle windows of a white van, dancing and waving. A bunch of hands were waving out the back windows.
They shouted at us. The van pulled out of the hotel parking lot and up to the intersection to wait for traffic. At least four heads popped out of various windows. What the hell?
“Whooooo! Party van!”
They cheered and danced to Disturbia by Rihanna, which was at full volume. I was so jealous of them and their modern mode of transport and irritated at them for torturing us poor pedestrians as we inched down the 500 mile hill to our cars. Or kilometers. Whatever.
And then Regan ran to them, waving and cheering. “Give us a ride!” She shouted. Regan began laughing and talking to them, but I couldn’t hear most of the conversation.
I heard another plea, “We have a long walk! Please give us a ride!”
The van moved forward onto the main street, then pulled over. Lauren and I were too shocked to fully comprehend what was happening until the door slid open. Regan headed for it, but Lauren and I looked at one another and hesitated. Was this for real? Then I remembered my feet hurt like a motherfuckingbitch and I went for it. I’d rather be kidnapped, tortured and sold for parts than walk one more step. Not that human trafficking is something to joke about or make light of, but my feet really hurt. Lauren followed.
When we reached the door I looked in to see it was a family and it was probably safe. Possibly safe. Maybe. Three or four kids were in the very back and Lauren sat with them. A teen sat in the middle section and Regan and I sat with her- I sat on a jump seat that was folded up and served as an armrest.
Regan made small talk, but I couldn’t hear most of the conversation. I heard something about me being American, so I smiled and nodded. I listened to Rihanna belt it out and watched the scenery fly by, doing the white girl nod to the music as the kids danced in their seats and waved to poor pathetic pedestrians, sunburned and exhausted with aching feet.
And then I smelled something very familiar. I looked up at the driver. He was smoking, but he had a pack of Marlboro Reds- was it my imagination? In my periphery I saw Regan turn and look at me. Nope. I wasn’t imagining it. I laughed and looked out the window.
Before Disturbia was over, we reached the parking lot and came to a stop.
“This is perfect! You can drop us here! Thank you so much!” Regan shouted.
Lauren and I thanked them as the kid in the back opened the door for us and we climbed out. They sped away, waving at us and cheering. We waved back and they were gone before I could whip out my camera and take a photo.
“Oh my god!” We exclaimed as we laughed and hurried across the street. We were absolutely giddy.
I just hitchhiked in South Africa and the driver was stoned off his ass.