Fordsburg, South Africa: Pilgrimage on a Gomoto Yesterday 150cc

My day job is directing reality TV shows. I am a freelancer with an emphasis on “free”! I don’t know if that makes me kak at my job or too expensive. The clue points to the fact I ride a scooter and not a fancy German sedan! I wouldn’t have it any other way. With all this free time I get to explore my city on my Gomoto Yesterday 150cc aka. The Dude!

He was a wedding gift from ScooterM in 2011 and since then I have wracked up 4641km. We have been on many adventures together in the past 5 years. In all this time his starter engine has never failed. Through winter, rain and shine he starts every time. The Dude needs little encouragement to putter!

The air is cold in Gauteng despite spring approaching. I am on a pilgrimage to explore Jozi’s Islamic quarter. A stone’s throw from Johannesburg’s inner city is Fordsburg. (Yes! In sunny South Africa)
banking

Welcome to Fordsburg #fnb

A small Muslim community in the heart of this African metropolis. The locals are at least 5th generation South African, mostly of Indian and Pakistani heritage. Why they came to live in South Africa is a question for google. I however came here for one thing. The food. In particular, a triangle shaped pocket of heaven. The Samoosa.

It feels like you’ve been teleported to the Middle East the moment you enter Mint Street. It’s wall to wall eateries and hookah bars. The smoking kind & not the rent by the hour kind! The atmosphere is friendly and the shop keepers welcoming. What I love about my scooter is its ability to ramp pavements and turn on a ticky. Parking is never a problem on busy streets. I removed the center stand years ago to prevent scraping. Only the kickstand remains.

bismillah

My first stop timed with the midday call to prayer. Rookie error! I guess my appetizer at Bismillah’s will have to wait for an hour. Bismillah’s is an institution. With 7 canteens around the country the food is fresh and service prompt. I hear the ice cream is beyond amazing. #nexttime

menu ice-cream

Next door to Bismallah’s is a hole in the wall Bangladeshi canteen. The shop keeper was back from the Musjid and allowed me to try his Khaja treats. It’s a sweet, sticky, crunchy kiss of joy. Glucose levels restored the need for savoury was now strong.

sweet2
sweet

Bangladeshi Khaja is sweet!

If you grew up in the 80’s and 90’s you would have been to the Oriental Plaza at least once to buy your sister / mother / aunt material to make a dress. As a young boy I begrudgingly attended this matric dance dress right of passage. Today I was taking back my dignity in search of a samoosa. 2 blocks west from Mint Street, the Plaza is an unassuming shell.

plaza

Inside though you feel like you’ve crash landed in a Souk on the Persian Gulf. Incense fills the air, linen and material shops with discount signs pepper the alley ways. Thebright LED light of the “World of Samoosas” shone brightly in my eyes!

neon-sign

The Dude is a small scooter for a big person. Its max loading is 150kg which means it can take Scootersteve’s tenth of a ton weight easily. And the suspension is forgiving and soft. I have often mentioned cruising on The Dude feels like riding a marshmallow. It’s what you need in the urban jungle with the broken roads and potholes.

Back to the Samoosa. My pilgrimage was near complete. I had reached my metaphorical Mecca. “World of Samoosas” is the best of the best. Each order is prepared fresh and the wait is well worth it. I ordered 4. A bargain at R3,80 each ($0,30). The lamb spice packs a punch. A Killarney housewife’s sensitivities are not catered for here! This is Halal Heaven! Like the Dude my tummy is firing on all 4’s!

me-and-samoosa menu-2

The Dude is a tame, forgiving ride. The 150cc power plant could do with a few extra horses. I’ll take any superbike from 0 to 10km/h, but the acceleration from 10-60km/h is snail like. One day I will own a Vespa 300 GT!

What I like most about the Gomoto Yesterday is the ride position. It’s the cruiser of scooters. Wide bars and a long wheel base makes for effortless riding. Even the pillion has a built in back rest and foot pegs.

You will either like the retro styling or hate it. I love it! The only downside of the design is the lack of storage under the seat.
Make now mistake this bike is a Chinese import with a price to match. But unlike the Motomia and other knock-offs the Gomoto has a better build quality and boxes above it class in aesthetic appeal.

The Dude has proven himself over the year and my score is a biased 40/50.

gomoto yesterday 50cc

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