Going East (Thailand Day 3: Monday 25 June 2012)

©2012 Edward C. Lunnon

Written on Tuesday 24 July 2012: 5 years 10 months on … Advantage ED

Monday morning was an early wake-up and then we were dropped off by Samantha at the Oliver Tambo airport round about 09h00. The journey was about to begin!

First, we had to find Terminal B and the Bryants. We would be travelling together with Alison and Nick, and Sean’s friend and schoolmate David, his girlfriend Victoria and Phillip’s hostel mate Richard.

Finding Terminal B was not easy. In the process we found Tony Reeler with whom we would be staying on our return to Pretoria. He and his Pretoria Boys High rugby team were heading off to Zimbabwe on a rugby tour.

Then we found the Bryants, checked in, passed through passport control, declared our equipment and ended up in the duty-free shopping area. The shopping began with a few bottles of red wine, Amarula and whiskey! (We had been advised that this was expensive in Thailand and our alcohol allowance was 1 litre per person.)

Thai Airways International Flight TG992, a Boeing 777-200/300, was slightly late but when boarding began, per my arrangements with the airlines, we were allowed to board first at 12h45.

At 13h40 we took off – headed east from Johannesburg to Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand (BKK) over Madagascar and the Indian Ocean.

We were scheduled to land at BKK at 06h00 their time and in the process we would lose 5 hours of the day. When we landed it would be only 1am in Johannesburg – just about time to go to sleep. But I did not sleep a wink.

After lunch, I settled in and watched Brave Heart and The Iron Lady. That took up some four hours of the 11 hour flight. Sleep was out of the question, and I spent a great deal of time watching our progress on the map in front of me.

I had boarded with my leg-brace on and was sitting on the aisle with my leg in the passage (this despite having arranged with the airline to seat me in a row with extra legroom!). Needless to say, everyone passing by bumped into me and the trolleys carrying the meals and the SINGHA beer had very little room to manoeuvre. So I had taken my leg-brace off some few hours into the flight and stowed it away in the overhead locker.

Then it was breakfast time and time to “embrace”!

 It was dark when we saw the lights of Bangkok appear below us – extending in all directions.

At 06h00 local time on Tuesday morning 26 June we disembarked and entered the ultra-modern Suvarnabhumi International Airport – straight into customs control and what would be our sauna for the next two weeks.