This blog is about me and my misadventures to get lost in the beautiful city that we live in… as well as some of my random mumblings
I have been blessed with many international travel trips, both through work and family. And so, I consider myself quite well travelled. I’m very happy catching a plane on my own, and navigating my way around an airport, but there is just something terrifying to me about catching trains.
I don’t know if it is because they are so unfamiliar to me, or if because I know how bad my sense of direction is, and am petrified on getting on one going in the opposite direction, but catching a train gets my blood pumping and puts my senses on high alert.
Traveling to Bath to meet up with our SA netball players a couple of weeks ago, I had to catch three trains. First the Gautrain to the airport. Then the Heathrow Express to Paddington station, and then the train to Bath Spa.
Firstly, as much as the Gautrain ignites a massive sense of pride in my gut, knowing that it is a major step for development in our country, the stations are not very well sign posted, and the ticket machines make no sense to me. Support staff are also a very rare sighting. However, at least I know where I am when on a Gautrain and there really is only a couple of destination options to choose from.
Catching an international train makes me panic. Never afraid to talk to random people I always show about three different individuals my ticket to make sure that I am on the right platform, in the right place, getting onto the right train. I also read and re-read my ticket about ten times. Not only is the actual train process scary, but one has to lug around a massive bag, and hand luggage, all whilst ‘minding the gap’, and then leave luggage in a separate place to where one is seated – an almost unheard of principal for any South African.
Then there is the bathroom issue. Will there be loos on the train? Where will I put my bag? Always better to go before hand, what if there is a que and I am late for the train? In Paddington I decided to head to the ladies half an hour before my train departure only to discover that I had to lug my suitcase down three flights of stairs. No thanks, I’ll hold it in.
Considering all of the above, I generally end up on the train a bundle of nerves, crossing my legs and peeking round seats to make sure my bag is still in it’s rightful place. Who needs Gold Reef City.