London Hotels Articles

August 27, 2010

What Car Hire Dreams are Made of

Now if there is one thing you must know about East London it’s that as far as the festive season is concerned, it’s the place to be. South Africans come out from far and wide; the N6, N2, and any other road leading to East London is always jam packed with cars of all sizes. Hotels on the beachfront are booked many months in advance, and people (mostly college students) show off their cars, which are in fact rental cars. It doesn’t matter…for that day you’re the man and that’s all that counts.

Well we didn’t have a hotel room, but we had the daddy of all rental cars – a silver E46 BMW M3!

So now we’re driving around town, thinking about our next move. Make no mistake though; we’re not thinking about whether or not it’s wise to embark on this 500km trip to another province. In our state of mind we’re going, and that’s final. What we were thinking about is who else is going to buy into this insanity we’ve cooked up. To our surprise; out of the millions of people we pitched our idea to, plenty thought it was the best idea they’d ever heard. All of a sudden there were four cars and a lot of drunken people, all keen on a trip to East London. Fortunately for us, each of the cars had that one guy who thinks he’s better than all of us and doesn’t drink…well except for the BMW M3 where the bizarre plan sprouted out of; there was not a sober person in it. All we had was my friend on the backseat, some guy we befriended the previous night, my friend’s older brother and driver of the vehicle, plus myself on the front passenger’s seat. In the other three cars were guys we knew from back home and a few others that I’d never seen before.

“Why are we still in Bloemfontein?” The driver of the Golf4 asked and he was off. It was at this point when it became evident that there was going to be total disregard for the speed limit in this journey of ours. The Mini Cooper S was the next to leave, followed by the Polo. We were still breaking ice and packing our rewards (at the beginning of a long day) into the cooler box; those cars needed the head start regardless. We were on our way as the rain started to come down. At first it almost seemed like we were law abiding citizens; slowly driving behind the thousands of rental cars and vans that were pulling surf boards and mountain bikes. As soon as we got to the N6 and saw the “EAST LONDON 546km” sign, the driver didn’t bother looking at the next sign that displayed the next two (Arrive Alive and 120). All of a sudden we were doing 200km/ph and basically driving on the right side of the road from all of the overtaking – all hell had broken loose! In no time the Mini Cooper and the Polo were battling it out amongst each other (in our rear-view mirror) but that Golf4 GTI-R was nowhere to be seen.

As the rain started to pour down, you’d think it’s not wise to do 200km/ph; yet we had stopped thinking about that the minute we decided to go to East London. That was confirmed by the driver pressing the ‘Sport Button’, a feature on the M3 whereby the suspension is lowered and the grip on the road is tightened; we were getting ready to blast off. At this stage my emotions were stuck between nervous, scared, and excited. I looked at the speedometer – we were doing 250km/ph, believe it or not (I think we all sobered up at this point) It was not long before we spotted a black dot in the distance, the Golf!
The poor VW put up a good fight, but its occupants would be lying through their teeth if they could really tell what passed them; they probably just saw a silver shape pass them…They didn’t even have enough time to count 1, 2, 3, 4 exhaust pipes as we were doing 300km/ph!

It took us just 3 ½ hours to get to East London; by the time the Mini Cooper and the Polo got there, we already knew half the beachfront by name and surname.

I know it may seem unfair of me to say this but I wouldn’t advise anyone to do what we did. Besides being illegal, it was stupid and reckless. I will say this though: After having experienced exhilaration of that magnitude, everything else I do in my life seems boring.

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