When construction of the Gautrain was announced and subsequently began I was still splitting my time between Cape Town and London. I was a young-er creative freelancer always on the move. The news exciting as it was didn't move me all that much, because the convenience would be on the other side of the country from me.
When I stopped living between those two cites I put on my grown-up face and moved to the mother of all cities, Johannesburg. Recalling my late primary school early high school dream journaling -- while my friends cut and pasted pictures of Usher I cut houses, city skylines and made mood boards -- I knew that Jo'burg and I were inevitable. No matter what city stole my heart momentarily.
On 07th June when the train first opened for business (the rides were mainly for the press and media) I was outside the country. I even missed the first two weeks of the World Cup because I was so busy. Then the time came. I landed at OR and part of me regretted telling my best friend to not pick me up. What if the train ran late? What if it was only open to tourists and dignitaries for the duration of the tournament? The airport was filled with warm and welcoming faces, foreign tongues and tired jetsetters.
I dragged my luggage in the direction the arrows and signage indicated and got myself a ticket and I was off. At the time I had not gotten my Sandtonista badge and still lived in Rosebank but somehow managed to get all the way to Sandton. The Square looked like a lot of the pictures from the day everyone had gathered to wish Bafana luck I'd seen on friends' Facebooks. The variety of team jerseys was just bigger, no longer was there a concentration of green and gold jerseys. And even though I had not gotten off at my stop, I was not lost. I was home. I had a bit of lunch and mingled with the people.
As grateful as I am for the Gautrain, my friends are the one whose lives have been improved greatly. Now my good friend who lives in my building (and is in charge of my plants) makes a 15 minute trip to pick me up or drop me off when I need her to.
For me the Gautrain has not only made life easy for me, it's also saved friendships. People will be willing to play chauffeur for only so long before they stop taking your calls and coming to wine and movies night.
What has it done for you?