What I did on my day off (Part 4)

Yesterday I took a day of annual leave to sort out some issues pertaining to our upcoming emigration.

Stage 4: The medical examination

After spending half of our morning in Johannesburg, and the other half in Pretoria, with me driving through a construction site known as the N1 / M1 freeway, dodging idiot drivers, it was time for M to drive to Rosebank for our medical exam.

We got to the doctor’s office for our appointment, at 2:30pm. There were more forms to fill in, including a consent form to test for HIV. This is standard practice, and I’ve signed many of these before. See, in SA, we have a reasonably high infection rate, of about one in four people. It’s fine to have it, but Canada (nor the USA, nor UK) will not let you live there if you’ve got it.

But because of the stigma around it, you need to give permission to the doctor to inform insurance or immigration departments that you’ve got it, and if you don’t sign, you won’t be allowed in.

Neither of us has HIV, but the point is that if you want a better life in another country, your chances are severely limited.

Forms were completed, the doctor called us in, and we had a long chat. This guy is on a very short list of two doctors in Johannesburg that sign off medical exams for potential emigrants. That sort of job would drive me mad, but anyway. He was very chatty, and I think enjoyed the fact that one of his patients was a doctor too.

There was the obligatory poking and prodding (and one particular moment that shamed me), and it was over, bar the drawing of blood. I didn’t slap the nurse this time, because a) she poked my slapping arm, and b) was actually quite gentle.

Then it was over. Time to drive home and have a few minutes before rushing off to my brother’s house for a family do at 6:30pm.

We only had road one incident, and this was on the way back home. The road we were travelling on has several roads that cross it, but each of those roads have stop streets. You know, stop streets, those intersections where you stop, wait for traffic to pass, and then go?

Not if you’re a taxi driver. If you drive a minibus taxi in South Africa, the rules do not apply. You can kill schoolgirls, you can drive in the emergency lane, you can skip red lights, you can drive the wrong way down a street to avoid having to sit in traffic, and so on. Unfortunately, these bad habits have spread to other drivers. It’s chaos.

As we were driving down the road, moving fairly slowly because it was rush hour, a taxi, who was crossing over the road without waiting, tried to drive across the road in front of us. So we cut him off, and he had the nerve to shout, “Jou ma se poes.” I’m not going to translate it, because it’s dirty. The comment, not … actually, never mind …

Stage 5: None of your business

There is no Part 5 for the blog, because family time is private. We only got home at 11pm though, so it wasn’t too shabby.