My baby and I love walking around our city, despite the potholed pavements.
Since having a baby, I have taken to walking the streets of Johannesburg for several reasons. Firstly, I haven’t had a chance to install Tracker on my car yet, so if/when I get hijacked and they take my baby, I might not be able to get him back. Mugging is a far more glamorous option.
Secondly, sitting in traffic with a screaming baby really isn’t my cup of tea. Even when there’s no traffic, Thomas still hates the car, and staring at the back of the backseat. He’d much rather face me
(believe it or not) in his pram while I huff and puff up Linden Street. And finally, there’s nothing quite like a Joburg winter. So it makes sense, then, for us to get out, get some fresh air, and use the pram that cost more than my first car was sold for.
Our daily walk entails getting to one of the shopping centres close by for bread, milk and Gripe water. We either head up to Grayston Shopping Centre, Atholl Square or the Village Walk. Unfortunately, getting to any one of these three centres involves crossing either busy Grayston Drive, Katherine Street or Rivonia Road, none of which is pedestrian friendly.
Getting across Katherine Street is by far the worst. Not only is there no actual pedestrian crossing with a painted line, but when the little green man does eventually turn green, it’s really only for 3 seconds. By the time I have the pram mounted off the steep pavement (these too, are not pram/wheelchair friendly), it’s too late. Of course, the odd car will slow down, but it’s really not worth the risk. You know when aggressive drivers in Joburg try to ram your car from behind when you’re driving too slowly? It’s a hundred times worse with a pram.
Now I know what you’re going to say. Only a crazy person would risk walking around the Sandton CBD (on a quiet Sunday morning), and I should just stay at home, breastfeeding by myself. Either that, or I should move to the suburbs. Fair enough.
But what’s going to happen next year, when the 2010 Soccer World Cup brings hoards of tourists, with infants, from across the globe to our city centre? Not even a screaming baby will keep some soccer fanatics away from the game. What if these people don’t hire cars, and are expecting to A: use the public transport system that may not even be ready yet! And B: Get around on foot in a place where they will be lucky if they get across the road alive.
It’s not only crossing main roads that’s difficult and dangerous in Johannesburg. The potholes in the pavements pose a serious hazard for us moms too. Take the one just outside the Hilton, for example. One has to swerve off the pavement, onto Rivonia Road, and into the oncoming traffic just to avoid it. I’m telling you. Not even a Jeep Pram
could get across it safely!
Would you take to the city streets with a pram?