Day 1: Whirling Durban

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Today was my second day in Durban and began with an adventure trying to reach the COP17 registration area. Theoretically, there are shuttles to the conference center and other buses, including the fascinating option Paul and I took: the mini-bus. Essentially if you crossed a taxi with a bus, you’d get the mini-bus in South Africa. They sort of have a set route, but have flexibility in where they go and if they make a stop. Maybe 15 people can squeeze in the vans, which all seem around 10 years old and have various defects. In my case, the door could only be opened from the outside and seat belts were sparse. Primarily locals utilize this service, I’m guessing because tourists usually don’t stumble upon them, or potentially fear them. Our driver put on a show by zipping between lanes and drifting forward and then swerving away from the pedestrians scattered along sidewalks and medians. This is definitely a different form of transportation than we encounter in the U.S., and I’m thinking it is a slightly lower carbon option than personal driving. Whether it is worth the risk, I can’t say.

Published in International