Pack No Ego

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

creme brulee.

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

with it.

Maybe just one bloke was too small to peek outside and see the beauty. Or did his ego obstruct his pleasurable view?



#GoodFoodTrain 4 #RailLove

As requested in the Facebook Trans-Karoo Group, here is a list of some of my first wobbly steps in rail travel blogging. During 2017, this will be revisited and improved and I will also take better pictures next time.

This friendly couple consented to having their picture taken

Hors D’oeuvre on Premier Classe

Nieuwekloof Pass between Gouda and Tulbach, Western Cape, South Africa

The famous Three Sisters just north of Beaufort West

For more, please link to these pages:

Excellent service from Prasa


A Premier Classe Journey

Premier Classe Makes Business Sense

Romance on Rails

German Invasion of Simon’s Town! (via Metrorail)

Rail Travel South Africa Photo Albums