Thursday, 11 October 2007

No such thing as free parking

A few thoughts on some minor oddities (read: differences from America) in Cape Town.

Parking: You have to pay for parking everywhere. It's not much, usually a couple of rand (maybe 50 cents US) but in every parking lot, along the side of every road, everywhere you go, there are dudes there who collect money from you to watch your car. I think it's more of a way to find employment for people than anything else, 'cause anytime I ask someone about it, they always give that as the biggest reason for it. The really odd thing is that I think this started here as an unofficial process - people would hang out in parking lots and watch to make sure your car is not stolen, and then ask for a few rand compensation. Eventually, the bigger malls, establishments, etc. stepped in and made it official, gave them neon jackets to identify them as employed by the mall, and you were required to get a ticket from these dudes. But still, a lot of places just have unofficial guys hanging out watching your car whom you're expected to tip. It's not a bad idea in principle, either, especially with the crime level what it is (although frankly, I still haven't seen much crime since I've been here), but I can't figure out how these guys got the general public to trust them to watch their cars! It does seem to work quite well, though. And makes parking in parking lots a little easier, 'cause these guys are there to point you to empty spaces.


Shakerbootie said...

Now if these dudes could also fix your car in the parking lot for a few rands you would be in business.

drgraefy said...

maybe you should try not tipping the dudes, so that your crappy car gets stolen and you can have an excuse to get a better one.