Thursday, 3 February 2011

Bus Blues

South Africa's public transport is not the best. I've reallised that I'm spoiled by the great public transportation of South Korea and conversely irritated by South Africa's mediocre public transportation system.

The chief method of travelling, if you do not have a car, in South Africa is by bus. Unlike Korea where express busses travel around the hour or more from city to city, in South Africa there are usually just one or maybe two or three busses, and only on main national routes.

For the last couple of days I've been struggling to get a ticket for a bus from Limpopo Province to Pretoria, the capital. The bus I wanted to take -- Translux -- was off-line, so that I couldn't book tickets. Eventually a friend was able to book me another ticket with another lesser known bus company. When the bus eventually arrived I had no idea that it was the bus I was suppose to get on to. The company's name -- South Africa Road Link -- is nowhere to be seen on the bus!

This is how it is supposed to look. Instead, the bus that picked me up was brown with a giant casino advert on the side.

I sat at a roadside stop from around 6:30 this morning until just now -- just before 14:50. That's more than seven hours! I bought a People magazine, read it from cover to cover, filled in the crossword puzzles and did the sudoku puzzle. I read emails and replied to them. Even reread my own article published in this month's edition of Totally Tae Kwon Do magazine. I also read a few chapters of a textbook, A Short Guide to Writing About Film, that I am considering using in one of my classes this coming semester.

The waitresses at the Wimpy (a South African burger franchise) where I sat the whole morning was very friendly and even upsized my cuppacino for free. Someone even tried to organize me an alternative ride to Pretoria so that I could depart earlier. Unfortunately it did not work out.

Another two hours and I'll be in Pretoria. Tonight I'm attending a Taekwon-Do club there and will spend the next few days visiting with friends and family. I plan to depart for the KwaZulu Natal Province on Sunday.

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