Sunday, August 1, 2010

You have reached your destination...NOT!

Koeberg Interchange BEFORE they started with construction
I read about this eldery German couple that drove 600km in the wrong direction because they misspelled their destination on their GPS. "Can things like this really happen?", I ask myself . I've had lots of fun already with my "make-believe" GPS on my Nokia XpressMusic. I would put in known destinations and see which route it takes me. Sometimes even addresses where I have never been before without consulting any directory or map first. I have learned quite a few things about the GPS, for instance that you cannot always believe the voice when he/she tells you that "you have reached your destination". I was on my way to a shop in Cape Town City Centre, but when I reached the Koeberg Interchange on the N1 the gentleman inside my GPS completely lost his bearings and instead of heading towards town I found myself guided onto the N2 heading towards the airport. After I was told to make a U-turn and go back into the direction of this horrible interchange that is currently under huge constructions and changes, I decided to follow the signs rather than the voice. One thing that I have to admit is that my friend inside my GPS is probably the most patient navigator I've ever had. At one spot I accidently turned right when he said left and ended up on the freeway going into the opposite direction with limited opportunity to turn around. Without showing any sign of frustration or anger he calmly altered my route for me and continued guiding me to a place where I could make yet another U-turn. Was it my wife playing navigator all hell would've broken loose at some point.

So we invited two friends from work over for dinner at 7 pm last night. Being work colleagues, one from Algeria and the other from Tunisia and not having been in the country very long, I obviously drew a very detailed map for them to find my house in TABLEVIEW. It is is only about 9 kilometres from where they stay to where I live. At 5 to 7 I had a call saying that they are close to my house and mentioned that they have accidently taken a wrong turn from the street that actually leads to my house. After explaining to them to go back to the same street and just drive 2 blocks further, I started getting worried after 15 minutes when there was still no sign of them. I phoned but no answer. Getting really worried now I got into my car and went searching for them. After about 30 minutes and various attempts to call them, I got hold of them on the phone again. They sheepishly admitted that they were lost.  I asked them to give me their location (street name) so that I could drive and meet them there, but for some reason my GPS could not find the street name. So much for that technology. One of the ladies suggested that we meet at a spot that is familiar to all of us I agreed, but was very surprized when they suggested that we meet at the office which is basically a stone's throw away from where they live. Quite a long way to drive if they had been only meters away from house 45 minutes earlier.

After meeting them at the office and reaching my house at 8.30 pm I managed to get the full story. After they phoned me the first time, they decided to make use of their GPS to find my adddress. Unfortunately for them and what they did not know was that the street where I live has the same name as a guesthouse in MUIZENBURG.  So they thought it best to follow the GPS which took them to about 45 kilometres in the opposite direction. Fortunately for them the guesthouse was only in Muizenburg and not in Plettenberg Bay which is about 600 kilometres further up the coast. I wonder if they would've driven all the way there before they would've realized that they might be heading for the wrong destination? Anyway, I promised them I won't mention their names or put pictures of them on my blog, but in their defense I can add that English is their third language, they are not used to driving on the left side of the road, they have only been in the country for a couple of months...and they are both female. We did however have a nice evening afterwards with obvioulsy lots of things to laugh about.

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