Friday, March 20, 2009

Trains, planes and automobiles

If you ever want so see a good movie, watch that one - "Trains, planes and automobiles". Steve Martin and John Candy. Brilliant. The first time I saw it was when I was in the army. We had a video machine and TV at the officers quarters in 102 battalion. No TV reception in the operational area in those days, so we just had a library with a few VHS videos that we could choose from. This was one of them, and I can still remember watching it there in Opuwo in 1989.

Anyway, today I educated my wife in the public transport system. Where we come from, public transport is not something that middle class people use. Buses and taxis are for the workers, the maids, the garden boys. In all honesty - it's for "the blacks". Buses in Windhoek was not something that we ever considered getting onto, and taxis were hated by most civilised people, as they are dangerous, reckless, mostly not roadworthy - and plain irritating, to say the least. We are not used to catching trains and buses, and it's quite an experience for us to understand and train ourselves in the use of these fancy ways of transport.

I've done it a few times, and I know my way around, but my wife is still a bit uncertain about all of this. She is lucky enough that she does not really need to use public transport, but I thought it good to help her understand how this all works. So this morning, the two of us took our daughter Anica, and took the train into the city. We parked at Greenwood station and took the train all the way to the Esplanade. From there we took the Blue CAT, and got off near the MBF offices in the city. We needed to discuss some stuff with our medical fund, MBF, and this was a good time to take the train and experience the whole trip. It's actually easier to do it this way, because parking in the CBD is not easy to find, and is expensive.

We did the whole deal - bought tickets at Greenwood, waited 8 minutes till the train arrived, got onto the train. Anica was a bit bewildered when the first train came swishing past at high speed - this one doesn't stop at Greenwood. But she enjoyed the travelling, and was the sweetest little thing all the way. Never complained, never made a scene. We could see the cars heaping up on the Freeway. The Michelin freeway train-line runs in the middle of the freeway all the way into the city, so you always have a view of the Freeway from inside the train. I was glad we didn't drive in to the city, because they were working on the right hand lane and traffic was quite slow on the freeway. Not that it ever goes fast on this Freeway...

At the Esplanade we got off, and moved over to the Blue CAT bus stop. We could have walked from here, but because we had Anica with us, I decided to take that route. We met an older gentleman on the bus. He was from Sydney, and said that "the whole place has changed" since he was here about 14 years ago. He and his wife were on some sort of shipping cruise that goes all around the Australian coast line. Sounds like fun. I helped him with some directions, and I felt really good that after 6 months I am able to guide Australians around Perth.

We forgot to get off at London terrace, and got off at the next stop, so we had a little walk down to the MBF office. After all our business was done, we walked back down to the Esplanade train station, and got on the train back home again. Anica was enjoying the trip and was still the sweetest thing. On the seat opposite of us, an aboriginal couple sat with their snot-nosed little kid, and this little thing was a real monster. He was making a noise, crawling all over the place and making a nuisance of himself.

We finally got off at Greenwood, walked over the bridge across the Freeway, and got back to our car in one piece.

Now the Wife can finally say she's done it, and she'll be able to handle it herself next time.

We're never to old to learn, are we?

No comments: