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Stop the Gates, On top of the World

Posted in Africa, and Personal

Seeing a train for the first time in my life wasn’t only the catchy part. In fact, I could look at trains moving all day. It was so nice to me. I never grew up seeing trains moving to and fro, so perhaps that’s why. It took a while for me not to marvel at the trains.

I’m told there is a train in Ghana. Unfortunately. I could never have seen it. In Koforidua, I could see railway lines thus a sign trains used to exist, but hey, it’s not been that for at least 15 years.

The land is overtaken by grass, and surprisingly, rich men are chasing for the grasslands since they can convert such spaces into money quickly. I’m glad you get my point.

That was just by the way, though. Back to Cape Town metro rail. It is considered risky, very risky, with a level of 85 out of 100. However, the enjoyment levels it offers is close to 120 out of 100.

And I mean it! However, depending on where you schooled, your level of education, the country you come from and even the type of food you eat, such levels might vary drastically.

From the perspective of someone who eats Waakye, Fufu, and Banku, and sometimes, ‘Face The Wall’, doing what I am about to describe now might even raise higher than the 120 satisfactory level I mentioned.

What am I talking about? Its about preventing the sliding door of the metro rail coach from closing before and during traveling. For me, it is the most fun part of riding on the train.

Sitting in the train like a motionless log of tree for some 10 – 50 minutes depending on where you’re going isn’t so adventurous and its typically boring.

And because of that on my way to Simons town passing through Muizenberg, I decided to prevent one of the gate from closing whilst the train peaked at speeds around 40-50 mph. Did I mention the cold breeze of air that rushes through the gates when these doors are open?

Well, others on the train do not openly dislike seeing the door open as the doers are at risk, but who cares if it serves them their quest for free air from the outside.

I managed to take a video of the ride at the gate. It was more dangerous than I could think of. First, I held my tablet with one hand ( with the fast blowing wind, it could slip of my grip crashing to the gravel ground from a height of about 1.5 meters on a train of speed about 50 mph.

I had to double my grip with my extra hand sometimes as the strength of the wind increased ) I held on tightly to the metal handle near the gate. Plus I had to prevent the door from closing by blocking with my left foot. It required more brain power than what it took to come up this website.

That day, I felt so excited on the train, nearly pushing out my tongue like a dog happy taking a ride in the back seat with the head out enjoying the beating wind. Did I do that? I don’t remember though. But even if I did, my mouth wasn’t as watering as does many dogs on such ride.

In almost all of the trains, in some coaches, there is a clear-cut disclaimer stickers in saying that its illegal to stop the gates from closing whilst the train is travelling.

But its sometimes more of leadership by example. As long as some of the train conductors I’ve seen poke their heads outs, sometimes with their doors fully open, I felt it was a nice thing to do, plus when I did it wasn’t that bad of an experience.

As the information service ‘robotoid’ (there’s a Humanoid at the train station information center. I’ll tell you more later) would say: “Passengers found riding in between coaches or in between gates will be fined”. Hmmm…. Fine? Okay that’s fine!

I wasn’t in the act of blocking the doors from closing all the times for reasons such as some of the doors have very strong hydraulics so had to prevent from closing. Sometimes, if the seats are empty and the weather is cold, why not have a seat and keep the body warm instead?

Its interesting to see an empty coach, but people standing in between the coaches. Some are simply obsessed in getting the doors open.

I wouldn’t encourage you to keep the doors open, if you’re in Cape Town to tour. However, should you dare to do so, note that it is illegal, and “people doing so will be fined”. Should you fall from the traveling train at high speed, your chances of survival is limited, less or none.

Don’t do it!