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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Go-Train

The Gautrain is a bonus for travellers wanting to explore Johannesburgo and Pretoria, easily, quickly and cheaply. But, there are those who have roamed around the world, on every type of transport, 'Daddy was an Ambassador', yet find it difficult to hop onto the bus to take them there.

This is the conversation with R and A, who interpreted and argued for nearly an hour, during which time six busses had arrived and departed.

R: "We go out. What is the name of the train?"

Me: "The Gautrain." I hand over the brochure.

A: "Oh, the Go-train."

R: "How do we get to the station?"

Me: "A bus arrives every 10 minutes. Stops on the corner. There is one now."

A: "What is the name of the bus? And the number?"

Me: "The Go-train bus. Look, there she goes."

A: "Is the bus stop on the right or left of the road?"

R: "Tell the driver to stop in front of your gate."

A: "How much will it cost? They take the dollars or the euro's, no?"

Me: "No, only cards. 40 rands each, to catch the bus to the Rhodesfield train station, and then to Sandton."

R: (Eyes bulge) "80 rands!! Why we pay you and again on the bus? You have cards? You earn commission? We share a card. We are French couple."

A: "Where is road and field? We go to Sandton."

A: "How long to Sandton? How long to walk to corner?"

A: "Tell us one more time."

And, then there was O.

"Lend me your 'phone to call my mate in Pretoria. He said I must catch the Go-train. Calls on my mobile are very expensive. I will be quick."

"Hi M," and off O goes - flight turbulence, airport conditions, the hostel, and his cash flow problems. "M, where is the station in Rhodesfield? And, the one in Pretoria? How will I get there? What is the price? How long will it take? Is it clean? Is it safe?"

Finally, "Call M when I leave and tell him I am safe. And, tell him it will take me fifteen minutes to get there, like you said. The bugger had better be waiting. I cannot pay for the card. I am skint."

Later, K and B arrive: "We caught the train from Park Station. And, the bus here. Easy-peasy. So convenient. And, we heard that they are extending the line to Durban. Absolutely bluddy marvellous."

And, so were they.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My Holiday

Aimee invited me on an all expenses paid four day holiday to Mt. Edgecombe, Umhlanga.

As I have not been on holiday in thirteen years, unlike y'all, this was big!


Steven told me to go, I deserve the break, he said, but to show him "what I actually do around here besides sitting at the computer all day."

"Don't worry about the cleaning. Anybody can make a bed and vacuum. Just show me how to 'block-off' a new booking."

Steven pulls up a chair and we begin with the inbox. There are enquiries from SafariNow and TravelGround. I tell him to click on the link. Off he goes clicking left and right. I ask him to have some patience. He tells me he doesn't have any.

Ok, he doesn't move the mouse over the screen, but dramatically decides he is going to throw it in the bin.

"Guests don't have mouses when they come here. Why do you put up with this shit?"

And, so we begin...

"Why can I only see half the page?" He asks. "And, didn't Byron tell you to use the same username and password for all of them?"

"All the passwords are stored with the sites. Here, you only need to click once."

"No, I will save these on my 'phone, just in case."

Steven loads Booking.Com and Agoda. Then while loading HostelWorld deletes Booking.Com.

"Ok, that's enough now. I'm tired. What are you doing now?"

"Sending new photo's. Could I show you how to upload, drop and drag, copy and paste?"

Four long days later the 'plane lands and I switch on my mobile. Four missed calls from Steven.

"Do we have any bookings for the next four days? The 'phone never stops ringing and there are people at the gate."

"The bookings for the next two months are pinned on the notice board. The rest are in the file that I showed you."

Day One. "There are messages here from SafariNow and TravelGround. You never showed me this."

Day Two. "Someone wants an invoice. You never showed me this either."

Day Three. "I waited up all last night. The guests didn't show. How do I debit their account? And, I asked Beatrice to come in and make the beds and clean."

Day Four. "You have messages here. You have won millions of dollars. And, a lady from Russia would like to meet you. And, someone from Nigeria has had all his money stolen, and he would like you to help him. And, inland revenue owes you money, but they need your banking details and password?"

"Where do I click to reply? Is it left or right? And, how many times?"

Other than that, my holiday with Aimee was awesome.