Guess what? Guess what? Guess what?!
I got to ride the Gautrain for the first time ever, ever, ever, last Thursday! Now it was already my first day of work, so there was excitement enough, but then to have to go on the train all by my lonesome? What if I got lost? Got on the wrong train and ended up in Albuquerque?!
It was terribly exciting!! Want to go on a virtual ride with me?
Well then first we need to get you a ticket! Well a card more likely! You go to these semi-automatic teller type machines, where a bored guard who looks like he's seen it all in life and nothing could surprise him, helps you select the amount to put on the card and which buttons to press that won't cause a serious malfunction and have you being taken into the station where a duo of "Good cop, Creepy cop" give you a cavity search!
The amount on the card then gets deducted each time you swipe it to enter or leave a station! We're all loaded up - let's RIDE!!
The stations are actually very well marked and I think you'd have to work at it to get lost. Worse comes to worse, you'll get to see a whole 'nother side of Joburg in the complete opposite direction of where you were going! And even then the trains are so fast, stop frequently and kinda tell you where you're going, so chances are you could do all that and still get to the office for that annoying 9am meeting you just HAVE to chair!
Here comes the train!! "Stand back from the edge" intones the pre-recorded female voice. I suppose people falling onto the tracks and getting squished would be a bother, it's hard to remove bone fragments from those tiny wheels...
Race you on!!
Here are some of my travelling companions from my first ride ever! They're a bit blurry cause the jolting of the train is not a photographer's friend! Funny thing was that there were some open seats but people got spooked and decide they'd rather stand then sit near strangers. I got to stand right by the door and freak out this skittish lady with my cell phone snaps! (She has nice hair don't you think?)
On my ride back home the train was much emptier and I got to sit down. I tell you, standing is way more fun! It feels like you're surfing, whereas sitting makes you just feel lazy! The chairs are pretty comfie and clean. You get an R700 fine if you smoke, eat or drink on the train! Hooray!! I mean you never know what's out there in the dark tunnels and anything that reduces my chances of being set on by giant mutant cockroaches is grand by my standards!
This pic gives you an idea of the speed of the train. The frame is all in focus and dandy but wow, check out how fast that grass is just whizzing by! I think it goes around 160km an hour but it really feels more like 60 - 80km! Deceptive!!
Below is a pic of the warning sign on the sliding door, reminding people that the doors are automatic and that, should you decide to lean on them in abject bliss, well, falling out will be your own problem! (And whomever the luckless CSI chap is who removes the bone fragments, please don't overwork our police force!)
But it is sort of nice to just look out the window and day dream the trip away...
Oh here is our station and so soon!
Wasn't that fun? The real life thing is so much better! Want to ride with me next time? We can have a grand old gossip about terrible train accidents and OH MY GOD WHAT'S THAT SOUND?!?!?!?!