Train Spotting

Being the small town girl that I am, 20 cars together constitute traffic for me.  I find nothing more frustrating than being stuck behind the wheel moving a couple of meters per minute.  My brain goes into overdrive thinking of all I could be doing, instead of snailing along.

So every now and again, I take the train to work.  Fish Hoek to Newlands, 45 minutes, R12,50 “first class”. I would say that is winning.  Not only am I free of the stress of driving but I get to have an amazing view of the ocean and look at the strange creatures that commute via train.  These are the types of people I have found  that take the train:

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The sleepers – I am in awe of this bunch of travellers.  How they manage to sleep so deeply, at times even opened mouthed, without the fear of missing their stop is amazing.


The nerd students – This bunch must have a special arrange to meet in the 2nd last coach each day.  How else do they ALWAYS manage to hook up when getting on at different stops?  The lecture discussions, the assignment discussions, just never an off switch to academics.


The hipsters – This is a mixed bunch.  All suited up for corporate life in the City but LOVE having loud conversations about their full sleeve tattoo’s, cruising around on their Vespa’s looking for waves, grabbing a coffee at Empire Cafe and just about how much money they are making.


The zealot – This lot do freak me out slightly.  I mean kudos for the conviction to preach on a full platform and in a very snug coach.  Mostly to what seems to me be falling on deaf ears.  When they head my way, waving the Bible in the air, I do tend to start looking in the other direction.


The gamers – This crowd avoids eye contact at all costs.  Enter coach. Find seat. Sit. Start gaming. Reach destination station. Disembark.


The buskers – I have now seen a number of duo’s which roam from coach to coach singing and shaking a tin cup.  The blind singer, with the guide (the guide not always being at the same vocal level of the singer), the Mother and Child and then the BAND!


The headphoners – This is one category where size does matter.  Trend seems to be to have the biggest pair of headphones you can find, wear them your whole train journey and get lost in the music.  This would be the group I would be most likely to migrate towards.


The stoners – This crowd normally take the short trip from the Berg to the Hoek or visa versa.  They can be found traveling with a surfboard, skateboard and cap on backwards. Oh, also generally barefoot. Discussions around the good waves, weed and chicks are the main topic of conversation.  A tip to identifying this crowd, all sentences must contain the word “bru”, “like”or “epic”.


The foreigners –  This is a tricky one.  You could easily mistake this lot for hipsters or stoners. The key is to listen for the accent or check out the shoes.  Generally if they are sporting socks and slops/sandals, it is a sure sign they don’t own a SA passport.

I am sure as my travels continue so will my list of interesting people I spot on the train!


One thought on “Train Spotting

  1. joan visser says:

    Loved reading your post today. We did a train trip from Obs to Fish Hoek and back again in the last schol hols and I saw every one of the people you described. Very interesting!

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