The taxi driver honked as we hustled to get the security guard to open the gate. The light from the Viljoen Guesthouse reflected off the taxi windows, obscuring the dark, ethnic face of the driver. The guard watched to make certain we reached the car.
Without turning his face towards the backseats the driver sputtered, “To wa-ir?”
“To the vista” we said.
“Whaaat” the driver replied refusing to turn down the tribal music that blared in the background.
“Vista on Stakoln Street” we shouted back.
He jerked the car into drive hurling us away from our tiny, well kept inn into the streets of upper Johannesburg. The wealth and propriety of the area was displayed by marvelous white walls made of stone. Yet, in the night we could neither see the houses that lay beyond these tall gates, nor the black barbed wire densely covering the top. Speeding down the streets, we each stared out of the windows unable to speak because of the music. It was only nine at night and the streets were sparse as if we were in the rural highlands , and the next house was kilometers away. When we did see someone walking, it was a black silhouette blending in with the night. We knew their eyes turned at the sound of the car. They expectantly stared at the blurred white faces that rocketed past them. We arrived at The Vista and the energy from the trendy restaurants and bars poured onto us in the parking lot. As we paid and stepped out to our destination, the reflection of the lights on the taxi windows again darkened the car, and made it impossible for us to see the driver as he pulled away. Instead, the light reflected on polished loafers, laughing crowds, jewelry and blissful couples; onto the white citizens who lived in these neighborhoods, but dared not walk around in them in the darkness.