Finweek English Edition - - LIFESTYLE -

On an un­sea­son­ably cold day at the end of Septem­ber, I re­luc­tantly br a v e d r u s h- hou r Sand­ton traf­fic on my way to an un­known lo­ca­tion. A feel­ing of dread took hold of me as the GPS closed in on the spot, just off Rivo­nia road. I had no idea what I was do­ing. Two com­muters wait­ing for a taxi stared as I started in­ves­ti­gat­ing a minia­ture replica of the Eif­fel Tower. I don’t blame them. In Jo­han­nes­burg it’s hard enough to trust peo­ple who are not be­hav­ing oddly on the side of the road.

I un­en­thu­si­as­ti­cally dug the toe of my se­quinned work shoe into the dirt un­der­neath Lit­tle Eif­fel, but re­alised im­me­di­ately how stupid this was. The clue said I wouldn’t have to do any dig­ging. A huge, bright red ce­ramic bull stared dully out over my shoul­der and I started to won­der if the clue was an at­tempt at mis­di­rec­tion. I looked at the clue again. “A hole un­der Paris,” it said.

The lit­tle trea­sure I f in­ally pulled out is a piece of pa­per in­side a small con­tainer, but it might as well have been an enor­mous di­a­mond. Names and dates are scrib­bled in tiny let­ters across the pa­per. I added my name to the list, put it back in the hole un­der Paris and logged my first Geo­cache. I was filled with an in­ex­pli­ca­ble sense of ac­com­plish­ment.

Geo­caching is essen­tially a trea­sure hunt for grownups (and kids, pro­vided grownups drive them). A com­plete stranger hides some­thing in a cer­tain lo­ca­tion and shares the GPS co­or­di­nates with the Geo­caching com­mu­nity. You then use your GPS to find the lo­ca­tion and fol­low the clues to f ind the hid­den ob­ject. You add your name to the log and move on to the next one. The point? Dis­cov­ery, not of Geo­cache ob­jects, un­less you have a weird ob­ses­sion with small toys, but of the won­ders of the out­side world. Nor­man and Deanna Bow­man (or t eam i Pa­jero, as t hey’re known i n t he Geo­caching


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