2019 Aug/Sept. South Africa, Scotland, Switzerland, Singapore travel blog

Union Buildings, Pretoria

Protest outside Union Buildings

Nelson Mandela statue

Day 7. Wednesday. Pretoria

Another stop-start night.....what we didn’t know was that travelling by train in South Africa can be very slow. People walk on the rail track, some get knocked over - big holdup. Copper wire gets pinched, signals get damaged - big holdup. We are about 5 hours behind schedule, so looks like we’ll have lunch on the train before arriving at Pretoria sometime late afternoon. Doesn’t bother us, and a couple on the train who had flight schedule was bussed to Johannesburg. We passed a lot of slum area and one spot there were hundreds of hub caps lined up for sale. An enormous University and big hospitals, some nice housing areas, but mostly lots of trash beside the line.

Upon arrival our Tour Leader John booked us in to the Sheraton Hotel, and sweet talked the young receptionist with 200ZAR ($20) and we were all upgraded to the Club where there was Happy Hour from 5-7pm with drinks and food - so we all had a cheap dinner. The food has been superb so far, and we well needed a night with a few nibbles and fruit. A few went for a walk to the Union Buildings which form the official seat of the South African Government and also houses the offices of the President of South Africa. A huge statue of Nelson Mandela out the front with his arms outstretched, which is not his normal pose with one fist held high. There’s been a protest since November where a number of ‘indiginous’ are making un-met demands of the Government.

Early night as early start tomorrow when we join the train again for 3 nights and leave South Africa. Once again, we’ll be out of wifi area until we reach Victoria Falls - I sometimes get signal on my phone.

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