“How Long more do you think the train will come”
“I don’t know”
“Do you think it will come?”
“The train will leave today”
That’s what all we get, or rather everyone get after we were all checked in and waiting by the platform. There’s a mixture of confused and relax amongst the passengers.
I came over with while hearing the horror story of a 10 hours delay, so this isn’t anything surprisingly to me. But still, I don’t really like the uncertainty of things. We met a couple from Canada, only to find them giving it up after 2.5 hours. We only found out much later that they manage to get a full refund and they opt to go to Cape Town by flight after.
We waited for around another 30 mins before we boarded. The train crawled towards the station like a dying machinery before coming to a halt. The gap between the train and the platform would probably considered challenging for some. We hoisted our baggage up before making ourself comfortable.
It is indeed comfortable. It was a super plus point when we got the whole cabin to ourselves, as an extra passenger would serve as a wild card. We were very delighted that there's a train at least, and we're now sitting in the comforts of the cabin. Thank god we referred to the slip of paper pasted on the wall that tells about the details and the cabin we're in as it is not reflected in the ticket that we obtained from the ticket office. The cabin is comfy as we’d got no complains. The seats feels find and I don’t exactly have any difficult sleeping on the seats.
We started to explore the other amenities and features of the train. Well, for the culinary side, the food is a lot better than I thought though the kitchen opens from 9AM-9PM. However, the entire kitchen would be closed after 9PM, so you can forget about even getting water.
The sanitary side of the amenities might not be as comfortable as the rest. The showers could barely make it as the pressure makes showering challenging. Most passengers abandoned the idea of showering on the train while they stock up on dry soaps/shampoos, powders and deodorant.
The toilet is a whole new level as it is also down to the users of the train. It is hard to use the toilet itself, with the tap barely having any water. One of the tap even had brown water spewing out and I resorted to using mineral water to brush my teeth. The toilet is poorly maintained and sometimes you could be treated for a visual surprise that takes away your appetite.
The train started jerking and the engines squeak to life upon the sound of the whistle. And we are off... very very slowly. It took awhile before we pick up speed, and before we know, minutes later we left the tunnel and the bright lights hit us, and we're moving out of the city.
We explored the train, get comfy, and just lay around after that before we started taking turns to get lunch. The first few hours is easy to pass as everything seems new to us. We always have someone in the cabin, to make sure that nothing happens as there were horror stories of crimes on the train.
Love the dining area and can never get enough of it. I actually regretted not putting on any movies in my hard disk before embarking on this trip, and now that I know, I would do that, maybe.
P.S. The sleep is okay (updating after sleeping of course).
We reached to some parts of the town when we were advised and told to close all the windows. Officers patrolled around m, making sure the windows are closed. When asked, they said people throw rocks, glass bottles at the train. It was pretty intense.
After the incident above, it was much scarier when the train stopped in the middle of nowhere with no reason. We weren’t told why, there are no lights and the train just came to a sudden halt when the familiar squeaking noise took over the symphony of the crickets and some random assortment of nocturnal creatures.
This train is very much mocked at despite its truly unique experience. However, they would definitely have you trying to balance on the tight rope of sanity, fear and fatigue. Or die trying. This train is not for the weak of heart.
We go off at the platform, and started walking really quickly as there are not much passengers left. It was in the wee hours of 2am when we left, and it wasn't exactly the best time for 3 Asian travellers to arrive.
After the whole episode, we took a total of 40 hours on the train, instead of the promised of 30ish hours. Functioned, for 33 hours with 7 sleeping hours. We left the station, with it's adorable poster mocking at us with the journey that would "live in our memory". Well it indeed would.
You won’t get a medal for braving such long hours however it is not as dreadful as it all is after putting everything together. We still had a great time chasing sunsets and sunrises, getting fed on the train, and the views were quite a treat as well.