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.