Once upon a time I watched a Bruce Springsteen DVD and thought to myself “I hope that one day I can see ol’ Bruce live”. A weird thought perhaps for someone barely familiar with the man’s music, but then again, it is quite hard to deny the man’s charismatic presence. With only the idea that I would like to see him live one day, I was very quick to decide on a trip to Joburg to see the man perform when it was announced that he would be gracing our primitive shores. And so it was that on Friday I found myself on a train headed for a mere 24-hour stay in Johannesburg. Of course trains are not really part of my every day life. But then again, neither are planes or busses. No…. We drive everywhere. Usually. Usually when petrol doesn’t cost three arms and several legs. Driving is fast becoming a luxury to be set aside in favour of essentials like food and sanity.
Anyway, I’m quite pleased to be able to announce from experience that train rides in South Africa do not suck too much. Hubby and I found ourselves quite comfortable in our small compartment made for two (though I must admit – two average sized people would be comfortable – two large people maybe not so much) and it was quite nice to just veg out a bit and read without being distracted by life. The train was clean. The staff on board were all pleasant. The bathroom didn’t make me want to refrain from liquids.
Unfortunately though…. both our trains were hopelessly late in getting to our destinations. This I find particularly sad because it seems that it is a typical issue and not one that we were unfortunate to encounter due to shoddy timing. It is something that seems to happen a lot and I must admit that not being able to rely on this kind of thing bugs me. The signalling systems at the stations pack up and once that happens, you’ve got an issue where several trains need to be guided to their destinations by a single “pilot”. This takes forever. Our train was so late in getting to Park Station in Johannesburg that we eventually had our friend pick us up in Germiston. Then on the way home we got stuck in Germiston again. We ended up getting home four hours later than expected.
Was it worth it? Yeah I guess it was. A little quality down time with the hubby was nice. The train food was a bit “meh” but it could have been worse. Travelling for 48 hours in order to watch a concert is possibly a little silly though. Perhaps the trip might feel more worth it if a little more than 24 hours passes in between…