He has soft blue eye and he is just over five feet tall, cannot
weigh more than fifty kilo’s. And he is threatening me and everybody
else. His lawyer apparently must be a direct descendant of Ivan the
Impaler. He mentions a lady’s name, repeatedly. Sue! And he must be a
gray little accountant as he keeps adding up the millions that Ivan the
Impaler and Sue will bring him from our empty pockets. I guess he is
also a concert director, by the way he waves his finger before my eyes.
Maybe he isn’t aware that, in my country, acts of intimidation are equal
to assault, both being criminal. His luggage must be heavy as he had
brought one helluva ego with him. At least twenty times the size of his
rather flimsy physique. Knowing Ivan the Impaler and Sue makes him
strong. Very strong.
“Eeen my kahntree, veee vill Sue zee for menny meelions, zee?” Zim
dollars, I hope!
Oh, the typical air of superiority of his tribe shines through. A
conundrum. Be friendly towards tourists, we also need their Euro’s. But
should we always be content to bear with the abuse we get from them,
even on the streets of our Mother City?
Our train is a few hours behind schedule. Guests flock together in the
Lounge Car and the Club Car. They play card games, have entertaining
conversations, enjoy a few drinks. This in the Club Car smoke a few
cigarettes with their whiskey. One lady guests encounters me in the
passage, her eyes glowing with delight. “This is the #GoodValueTrain”,
she says enthusiastically, “we can travel so much longer for the same
money.” So many others don’t even complain. They are mature enough to
know that airliners, ships, buses and cars get delayed, expecting it to
be no different with trains. A family member is an airline pilot: he had
to land his jet in Johannesburg the other day; passengers were on their
way to Durban. A little nasty detail in weather patterns caused a
deviation. Landing a few hundred miles off-target saved lives.
RSR (Rail safety Regulator) imposed several speed restrictions after
recent floods. Railroads were completely under water in some places. We
all know that the restrictions are not always necessary, but rather safe
than sorry, eh? I can agree to that! Don’t you gamble with MY life,
because I don’t. The train crawls across Africa at a third of its usual
speed. We see more game, more detail and also new things, because we now
travel in daylight through places we usually experience at night. We
see two eagles, in different places. Two steenbok, two ribbok, a few
kudu, eland, herds of springbok, ostriches. So many that I lose count.
The staff work more than an extra day’s shift, preparing two more meals
for 76 guests. Only once did one lose her usual smile, I think she
needed a hug. Someone threatened the already overworked lady with Ivan
the Impaler and Sue. The Bonnie & Clyde duo makes for scary thoughts.
Our elegant waitress regains her composure, fits a new smile and
soldiers on. I find a lot of heat in the kitchen. They are peeling
fresh veggies, while cooking up a storm. An extra lunch for 76 plus
staff, must be a hundred mouths to feed. Then another unscheduled dinner.
The little man with the huge ego has intimidated enough guests for one
day. He finally reaches the Train Manager, just by chance. He never
thought of going to the right person, the very friendly, efficient Train
Manager in the first place! No, he had to threaten almost every guest
on the train with his duo of quasi-medieval torturers. Terror! Imagine
being swathed to death by a Law Book and then bankrupted posthumously.
Train Manager, staff, drivers up front – none are to blame for any
delays, yet they have to take the flak coming from a little
Messerschmidt train fighter. Ever so diplomatically, faster road
transport is arranged, the EGO gets off-loaded (if it will fit into a
1-seater van….) and we continue our journey, munching away at the most
tender braised beef with a brown sauce, savoury rice and a choc-mint
Their is peace in the palace as we enjoy the beautiful pastel coloured
mountains, as the sun is setting in the west, where we are heading. We
all just enjoy the increased travel time and the pleasure that comes
Maybe just one bloke was too small to peek outside and see the beauty. Or did his ego obstruct his pleasurable view?