Monday, November 04, 2013

oh go on then another train adventure

hi there

i appreciate this comment is going to be a bit of a hard sell, to say the least, but i have no intention at all of recording and making a photographic journal out of every single train journey i take. at the present time, however, a number of people seem to find these tales rather entertaining, so for now they shall continue to appear here.

before we get to some exciting train action, an image from a mere day or so before the train journey i shall write of. we were visiting my beloved mother-in-law, and as my (considerably) better half was driving, it enabled me to take some high quality selfies as we drove along.

here is just one of them.

right, with that out of the way in a rather bee-like manner, for those in the know, onwards to the train thing. i had no particular reason to take a trip anywhere, but equally i had no particular reason not to. the prospect of it raining, however, saw me wish to test the patience of this relative new train system in wet weather conditions.

here i am walking to the train station with the clouds of rain lurking in the skies. well, of course they are in the skies. where is it that you think you would find clouds?

as some of you will recall from an earlier post i did, driving is a very difficult thing for lots of people here. this difficulty is made all the harder in the rain, and so the roads are to be avoided if there is so much a drop of water on any of them, anywhere.

why? if it is slightly damp, this sort of thing tends to happen. 

yes, class accidents happen and we seem to lack the requisite logistics to deal with this sort of thing with anything approacing efficiency.

that picture, if i recall right (this was over a week ago) comes from the twatter feed of that (ahem) "independent" radio news station. the one that shows its independence by having every news bulletin being sponsored by a Corporate. they tend to broadcast what theoretically is news inbetween constantly reading out the names of their presenters and (ahem) ace 'journalists', mostly on what is quite possibly the worst radio station in the world, although it wasn't always.

a week or so ago, in fact, that radio station ran a "traffic and transport awareness" week. the parts that i heard seemed to be them mostly complaining about the traffic around their office, which is useful to a wide audience. well, when i say "wide", i mean in distance not number. as their traffic reports tend to focus only on areas where their staff live (a bizarre number of them Greek, oddly), i suppose this was no surprise.

anyway, on we go. i arrived at the station some 15 or so minutes before the next train was due, so i busied myself outside the station with a cigarette. yes, i had the blueberry to hand.

as you can see, i think, the skies were a mixture of the grey (gray?) of rain and the blue of what a smashing day it is. the chances of me experiencing the magic of the train in the magic of the rain were somewhat diminished, then. this would be not all that bad, as my intention was to do some quality walking, which would not have been all that much quality if it was pouring down.

having finished the cigarette i went in to the platforms, where one is not really allowed to do anything at all. i said to hell with it and tried to take a picture of the class sign that tells you when the next train is due.

they are very serious indeed about you not doing anything at all on the Gautrain. i think they are for the most part reluctant to even let people on it, really. it's probably that they tolerate it only if everyone keeps really, really quiet. which i don't when i need to swear at a courier or something.

here are some of the warning signs, the only thing one can read at the stations except for adverts. as in, no, they do not have a timetable up anywhere.

there is a bit of equality at least, i suppose, that the monetary fine for smoking is the same as if you dared to eat or drink anything near the Gautrain. most places would, i suspect, wave a heavier hand at smokers these days. which is fair enough, i suppose. there are plenty of areas for smokers to use, i don't mind the proliferation of non-smoking zones so much. it's them that are missing out.

anyway, the train came along, and thus it was time for some class, quality selfie action, which seems to amuse me a great deal and a few of you too.

i try to go for that "arty" look with selfies, but it does not really work very well. possibly as i was never all that good at art, really, except for my MS Paint work which seems to attract quite a decent and indeed appreciative audience.

my efforts to take selfies on the trip there were apparently prolific to the extent of getting way out of hand, since at one point a very nice chap came over, said he could see i was struggling and offered to help me. what a lovely gesture. i thanked him greatly for his offer, but explained that those who these pictures were intended for - you, dear reader - would feel cheated if i cheated.

there's just no way someone could, for instance, take a picture as class as this for me of me, or of me for me, or whatever the right way around is.

the journey is usually pretty quick anyway, but literally flew past with me spending most of the train ride engaged in some top level, avant garde like selfie time.

i arrived in Sandton, then, and decided on a brisk walk down to Benmore. that it was downhill is the really strange part of what comes next, as it would have made considerably more sense to do it for the uphill part heading back, really.

i believe i posted a pic of one of these things before, and could not recall the name of them. Tikka Tikka or something like that i think, three-wheeled devices that are sort of mini-taxis to run around the general area of the train station. as one was right there, i said "f#$@ it" and decided to give one a go.

this is the one i took but taken at Benmore, at the end of the journey.

is this a wise thing to take? well, from a cost perspective, no. i am no expert in what general transport fees are as such, but R25 (US$2.50) struck me as somewhat high for a trip of 1.4kms. from a safety perspective, no. i was about to start a conversation with the driver about how i couldn't work out the seat belt when he just flew off in the direction of Benmore. and he really liked getting very close to the other vehicles on the road.

from an experience perspective, maybe. the experience has taught me that on the next instance of my business taking me to Benmore, i shall simply wave at the chap driving this thingie and walk onwards, thank you very much indeed. i am sure tourists will dig it, though. and business types too busy looking at their filofaxes as they go to some top level meeting.

certain details of my trip to Benmore, alas, cannot be discussed here. what can be discussed here is a magazine and DVD i saw that seems to be really stupid. very stupid, in fact.

i mean, really? really? someone needs a guide as to how to hunt an elephant? listen, i have little hunting experience (the victims tend to come to me) and i have little or no experience with a shooter (and i have as many witnesses as you like to say as much), but even i would not struggle to hunt an elephant. have you ever seen one? bloody massive they are, it's not like they hide behind trees.

an old trick of my Dad's came to mind when i saw this magazine, and i was surely tempted. what happened, in the days of freedom, was that my Dad and other non-smokers would get together before a flight and block book all the smoking seats on an aeroplane. that made the flight non-smoking before laws came in to make them all that anyway.

it was tempting to pick up all the copies of this magazine and just destroy the discs, then. sadly, that would just create the appearance of demand, i suppose, and that would result in them making even more. hey ho, we shall just have to trust that anyone stupid enough to need a DVD to explain to them that an elephant is massive and not all that difficult to hunt will be intelligent enough to hold the shooter the wrong way around.

anyway, time to walk back, uphill for the most part. i opted to take a picture of the traffic for the entertainment value, and indeed to show off that it was not, in the end, raining.

that's the corner of Benmore Shops. just over the road from the intersection i am stood at is one of those things that does not really make any sense at all, very much like the gun chair from an earlier train adventure.

behold, an arty chair bench thing with a statue of a dude on one end.

it looks smashing, very nice and all that, but it is also pointless. for what reason would you need a bench right across the road from some shops? i mean, whether you are going to or from them, if you need a nice sit down and a rest by that point, a handful of strides at best, you probably should not be walking that sort of distance anyway, if walking at all.

and no, it's nowhere near anywhere that one of them Gautrain buses or any other sort of bus stops. i have yet to see anyone decide that this is a class place to sit. strange. it's like they said "we have made this class chair, but we do not want anyone to use it. let us put it somewhere impractical and it will not once taste the arse of a passing stranger".

now, as a few of you are aware, i am not at all against requests for things to appear on this blog. far from it, really, it makes life easier when suggestions are made. my (considerably) better half, as you would expect if not simply hope for, has of course been very supportive of this.

to that end, she has kindly gotten rid of many moments, possibly hours perhaps days, of endless whining and moaning about the fact that i do not put as many pictures of purple trees on here as i could. here then are some in the hope that she pesters me no more.

the next one features purple trees mostly by accident, really. i think, for i cannot fully recall, the point of this picture was actually to show off the sky not raining. also, this is the junction for that radio station i mentioned. as you can see, it is truly bad, borderline horrific traffic the Greek contingent of that particular radio station has to deal with.

poor things. and this was taken around lunch time too, which is usually when it is at its busiest.

moving on to nicer things, and here's yet another picture of a purple tree. i cannot speak on behalf of my (considerably) better half, but from my side i too like purple trees. they are, after all, trees. and they are purple. two fine qualities, brought together in one living thing.

after taking images of purple trees, it appeared that i had more moments free to me than i suspected i would, perhaps as a result of the Tikka Tikka ride i took. i decided to go to the natural home of twats, then, Sandton City.

actually, believe it or not, i decided to go into the home of twats inside the home of twats, as i visited the iTwat store. why would i do such a thing? to investigate the possibility of purchasing what is now called the iTwat "classic".

i have the iTwat touch, you see. other than not liking touch screen things at all, the iTwat touch does not charge in docking stations, and the remainder of my family keep taking it away to play Angry Candy Crush Bird Saga or something. which knacks the battery, something usually not mentioned to me.

i thought getting the old fashioned one that just did the audio thing would free up the iTwat touch one for them to do whatever they like without bothering what i wanted to do. the cost was rather too much for my liking, however, so i gave it a miss. i did, however, get some pictures of the king of iTwatters desires.

there's probably something to be said about me taking the above image on a blueberry, but i at this moment in time cannot be bothered to say it.

with some brisk business done at places that were not iTwat, it was back to the train station for me, but with some time to do some more selfie things for your consideration. here you go, and yes indeed those are the Ray Bans i have on.

no, it did not rain at all on my journey. i do not know then, alas, how the Gautrain fairs in wet weather. probably rather well. it did rain later, mind, with one exceptional storm. probably it was the one that i posted some Commodore 64 style pictures of, or that could have been the one that hit, with apologies to David Bowie, the next day.

at the train station, then. the Sandton station, as you may well be aware, is really very serious about being underground. i think it's 3 or 4 massive escalators you have to take down to get to the platform. perhaps the makers of it all decided that users were likely to want to pretend to be either miners or moles, or any sort of thing that is underground that has a generic name which commences with an m, whilst they went on their travels.

anyway, another selfie on the escalator for you.

for some reason videos are rather popular on this blog, mostly i presume because i have not done all that much in the way of "selfie videos" yet, just that one where i show i am not Bono. and that one where i pressed video instead of picture.

if for some reason you wanted to see what the Gautrain looked like as it comes into view on the platform at Sandton, this is the video for you.


and here i am in an elevator.

no, i have no idea where the elevator was, or why i was in it. i think it was in the station close to home, or where i had the car parked.

and finally, the walk back to my car. again, the skies are in view, and although they promise rain none came. until later, at least, as i mentioned.

and so that was that, goodbye for now to the train station. i actually went on it again later last week, but that is another post for another time. although i did think about combining them. but then i would have called it "a week on the train", which would have been silly, as it was not, it was only two days.

i shall probably have to say goodbye to cigarettes sooner rather than later too. i shall miss them a very great deal. ho hum.

more adventures later!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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