A Travellerspoint blog

24 Hour Train Ride?! Whose stupid idea was THAT?!

“It was supposed to be a fun adventure”

Well, when I was planning this trip I tried to put in a little of everything…safari, road trip, big cities, small towns, touristy stuff, off-the-beaten-path places, up-scale and “roughing it”. I thought an epic train journey across the country sounded adventurous and like something us carefree backpackers would do. Well – it SUCKS! I am sitting in our ugly little compartment, next to the aluminum prison sink (which I’m fairly certain people have been using as a urinal) watching my breath in the freezing air and we have just been told that we are running almost three hours behind schedule. I’m not surprised since this rattle trap train keeps coming to a trembling, screeching stop every thirty minutes for no apparent reason. The sound of metal-on-metal and the teeth jarring shaking happened all night long. Not that I could have slept anyway listening to the non-stop chatter/yelling/”singing” of the people in the other compartments. They can’t possibly be having a conversation because they are all talking at once! One person sang the same off key tune over and over for at least an hour. We tried to eat in the dining car a couple of hours into the journey; Baylie had a cheese sandwich which was at least edible, the memory of my “lasagna” gives me that “mouth watering right before you gag” sensation.

Baylie and I go back and forth being the positive, optimistic one trying to cheer the other one up. I think it’s about my turn so I better work on my delivery of the line, “This is a fun adventure!” This is a good place to end anyway because I need to go put some socks on my hands before my fingers succumb to frost bite.

I typed that first bit while still on the train. I am now sitting in a very comfortable, peaceful hotel room at the Southern Sun hotel right by the airport. We wanted to stay as close to the airport as possible for our flight tomorrow to Victoria Falls. We were actually stuck on that rusted tin can of a train for just over 30 hours. As soon as it stopped at the station we bolted as fast as possible for the door and leapt into the first taxi we saw. Our driver was nice, even after he got pulled over by a traffic cop and was given a ticket for some unknown violation. He didn’t seem too concerned about it and he didn’t try to jack up our fare to help cover the ticket, so we continued on our way. There was a buffet dinner at our hotel, so we dove into our first real food in 24 hours. Baylie was so hungry she piled what she thought were beans on her plate, to later discover that it was some kind of salad made from marinated peanuts. It wasn’t bad, just odd. In the end we both found plenty to eat at the buffet 

We’re already kind of laughing about this “adventure” so I guess it’s a good piece of this trip after all.

Posted by Pelham Family 12:31 Archived in South Africa

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I'm chuckling even though I know it wasn't funny at the time. What? No pictures of your little urinal sink? I looked up the train online and the pictures showed darling accommodations. Sorry it was such a bummer. Already looking forward to pictures of Victoria Falls!!! xoxo

by Mom

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