A rather quaint element of Capetonian existence is that we – and by “we”, I am referring to the citizenry as a whole – still have carthorses. Yup, despite Cape Town’s pretensions to being a modern, hip, happening city, it has the vehicular equivalent of a pair of brown paisley bell-bottoms lurking in the back of the closet.
Every now and then you come across one of these sad beasts plodding along, seemingly oblivious to the teetering load of scrap metal on the cart behind it. The driver, in turn, appears equally oblivious to the angry build-up of traffic behind him.
The presence of carthorses saddens me for two reasons. Not only do these poor animals have a – well – dog’s life, but also very few are toilet trained, so they pretty much do as they please (to coin a phrase). As a result, large dollops of digested carthorse breakfast decorate the suburban byways. When there has been a light shower (i.e. enough rain to liquefy the abovementioned unmentionable matter, but not enough to wash it away), things get nasty. Especially when you’re puttering along on a scooter and a luxury German sedan speeds through a nearby puddle of poo porridge.
Word of advice to the novice: keep your helmet visor down at all times.