ED is in week EnDing Tuesday 28 Aug 2012

 

5 years 11 months on … Advantage CBD

  • Mon 20: Gardener; Not feeling well – lay down for most of day (first time since being ill)
  • Tue 21: Visit from Gill (HOSPICE); massage by Julian (not well for rest of week)
  • Wed 22: AlgoaFM broadcast; Gym at Humewood; Visit by Isaac; Cancelled Trivia Quiz at Grey
  • Thu 23:Men’s Club Meeting at Bridge Street Brewery; Nadine visit; Ivan Berkowitz visit; Lance Armstrong has medals stripped and banned for life
  • Fri 24: Lunch with Andrew Barton at Thai Restaurant
  • Sat 25: BuildaBurger at home; Springboks vs Argentina (draw); Death of Neil Armstrong (astronaut)
  • Sun 26: Gym; Finished off  Thailand blogs
  • Mon 27: Admin
  • Tue 28: Visit Sr Gill; Dallas after thirty years!

Life is a Holiday (reprise)

©2012 Edward C. Lunnon

Tuesday 17 July 2012: 5 years 10 months on … Advantage ED

Before we left on our holiday to Thailand, we did a lot of research, homework and preparation. We read books, searched the internet and chatted to people who had been there before.

We packed appropriately, got our documentation in order and ensured that we had the correct currency.

In short, we ensured that we were well-prepared for the trip.

Then, off we went.

We knew we had limited time and that the trip would end. So we ensured that we used every available moment at our disposal. Time spent sleeping or in hotel rooms was wasted, so we did as much as we possibly could in the days available to us.

Time not utilised was lost to us – we would not pass that way again and would not be able to recoup the moments lost.

We had to live in each and every moment, enjoy the moment, savour the moment, relish the moment, delight in the moment, take pleasure in the moment, appreciate the moment and value the moment.

Sometimes, one is so busy taking photographs in order to save the moment for future memories that you are unable to take the pleasure in the fullness of that very moment.

There would be no time for regrets, no going back and no doing it over again.

And even when we realised that our time was running out fast, that we only had so “many sleeps” left and that the end was certain, it didn’t help to lament about it – we just had to keep on going and do as much as possible.

Along the way, we appreciated everything we saw. We marvelled at the world around us. Despite the weather sometimes being good and sometimes bad, we had to make do with what came our way. Despite the heat, the humidity and conditions far from ideal, we persevered. Despite heavy monsoon rains, we made alternative plans to lying on the beach – we hired scooters and bought rain ponchos and continued to explore the island of Phuket and enjoy ourselves.

It didn’t help blaming the fact that we hadn’t always made sufficient preparations to cover all eventualities. We had to make decisions on the fly.

And, yes, before we knew it, it was over – as we say here in South Africa: finished and klaar!

The question is how did the experience change us and what will we remember; and what did we do to make a difference to the lives of those we met along the way? Will they and how will they remember us?

Such is life!

In our formative years, we prepare with the help of others, at home and at school, for the journey that lies ahead of us. It is essential that we are well-prepared.

We know that our time is limited on this earth so we should not procrastinate, not delay, but make the most of every moment of our life. We should not waste – not even a single moment.

Time not utilised is lost to us – we will not pass this way again and we will not be able to recoup a single moment lost.

We have to live in each and every moment, enjoy the moment, savour the moment, relish the moment, delight in the moment, take pleasure in the moment, appreciate the moment and value the moment.

Somehow, it is so difficult to do that. We are often so busy blaming our past and preparing for our future that we lose our present, and that particular moment that we are living in.

But there is no time for regrets, no going back and no doing it over again. An unutilised moment passed is a moment lost!

And when our time runs out, when we only have so “many sleeps” left and the end becomes certain, it won’t help to lament about our life – we just have to keep on going and do as much as is possible in the time we have left.

Along the way, we must appreciate everything we see. We can only marvel at the world around us.

Despite the odds, we have to make do with what comes our way. When we have excellent conditions, we must make the most of them. Despite adverse conditions, we must persevere and make alternative plans and continue to enjoy ourselves.

And before we know it, when it is all finished and klaar, the question will be: “How did the experience of life change us and what will we take with us. What did we do to make a difference to the lives of those we met along the way? Will they remember us and how will they remember us?

After all, life should be a holiday!

 

 

 

 

Come back to Earth with a Bump! (Thailand Day 22) – Reprise

©2012 Edward C. Lunnon

Monday 16 July 2012: 5 years 10 months on … Advantage ED

It was approximately half past five in the evening on Saturday 14 July 2012 – the last day of our trip and we were approaching Port Elizabeth airport.

British Airways Boeing Flight 6237 from JHB to PLZ was about to land. We couldn’t see from which direction because outside it looked like pea-soup! The pilot had said that there was a strong southerly wind blowing and that it was raining hard.

We had read that the coast was in the grips of a severe storm and I had phoned the airways before we left to ensure that all was in order. I was assured that all flights were travelling normally.

But this landing was far from normal … you couldn’t see a thing until we emerged from the cloud just above the Port Elizabeth harbour. The wind was buffeting the plane from the left side as we came down with the engines racing. The we lurched to the right, back to the left and then hit the ground hard … bump, bump, bump! Heads hit the lockers and people screamed. We shuddered, skidding from left to right to left along the runway, and then returned to normal as we slowly taxied to the airport building and parked right in front of the arrivals section.

There was a cacophony of noise inside the plane – nervous tension being released, I think – as passengers shouted, laughed, giggled and finally applauded the pilot for landing us safely. I would love to know at what point he would have decided to abort the landing; but we really had come back to earth with a bump! Both literally and figuratively!

The wind was howling and the rain was pouring down in sheets of water as we quickly sped across the concourse to the airport building. Port Elizabeth (and the country) was in the grips of a killer storm, and we had landed at the height of it. (It was howling, raining, flooding, snowing and had been since Thursday and was to continue until Monday.)

In the warmth of the arrivals terminal we collected our thoughts and our luggage. Then dashed to Kerri Botha’s double cab and slowly made our way home through the dark, windswept, wet, deluged streets of Port Elizabeth.

Once home, the boys quickly off-loaded the luggage in the pouring rain. We were all eager to see Charlie and he was nowhere to be found! Then suddenly he appeared at the sliding door on the front stoep – wet and cold and jumping all over us!

Yes – we were home – Charlie was our welcoming party in the height of the storm!

We ordered in burgers from Steers and started unpacking: washing, dirty clothes, crumpled clothes, summer clothes, winter clothes, new clothes, old clothes, pamphlets, passports, tickets, booklets, unused bahts, chargers, cables, phones, toiletries … it was the end of our trip.

As we unpacked our suitcases, we unpacked our memories and our thoughts of a magnificent holiday. Each item unpacked had some connotation attached to it and we shared this with each other. Later, the laptops, the I-Pads, the cameras and the photos were produced, compared, laughed at, recollected, transferred, stored, face-booked, emailed and shared with the world.

This would continue on Sunday and Monday and … who knows … as the storm abated, we would slowly come back to earth and return to normal life: Phillip back to the boarding house on Sunday, Pera back to work on Monday, Sean discovering that he still had a week’s holiday  ( at 9pm Saturday evening he was called out to do emergency NSRI rescue duty!) … and me?

Well, there’s the documenting of our holiday that needs to be done and will keep me occupied for the next few days.

In my mind, I have been comparing Life to a Holiday. There are so many similarities.

So, watch this space, as I try to share our exciting journey with you … and enjoy the pictures with us!

In the meantime, it was great falling asleep in my bed for the first time in three weeks!

Our grateful thanks are extended to all who made this trip possible.

 And to

  •          the Bryants from Plett who shared their holiday with us and did all the hard work as the tour guides
  •          Tyler Botha for looking after Charlie and the house
  •          The Uptons, Reelers, Moolmans and Keelings for their hospitality in Pretoria
  •          Cheryl Price and Kerri Botha for airport transfers

 

 

Marching to Pretoria (Thailand Day 17 – 21: Mon – Fri: 9 – 13 July 2012)

©2012 Edward C. Lunnon

Written on Monday 27 August 2012: 5 years 11 months on … Advantage CB

And, at 07h00 Monday morning, 9 July 2012, we landed, on time, at JHB – the Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa. We are Africans and we were home!

It was noon in Bangkok and Phuket – five hours ahead of us, but, paradoxically, all that was behind us now.

As in Life, all that remains are our pictures, our stories and our memories … the Legacy of Life – the Good in Good-Bye!

Yes, it was early Monday morning and we were back in mid-winter and back in Africa.

We stepped off the plane in our Thai summer clothing and the cold hit us. We could feel the cold Highveld and we knew we were home.

We could see the groups of Airport staff standing around with surly faces, hands in their pockets and no inclination to assist – not even to hold the door open (or to open it properly to remain open) as we stepped into the airport building! We knew we were home. 

We were moved from one carousel to the next to collect our baggage. We knew we were home.

Only five of the twenty passport control booths were manned and the queues of people from three international flights that had just landed started to build up. We knew we were home.

And then the computer system went down … we were most definitely home!

We went through customs quickly – “Nothing to declare”- and took leave of the Bryants, who were leaving later in the day for George Airport and Plettenberg Bay. Our very much smaller tour group – the four Lunnons – were going on to our administrative capital city, Pretoria (or Tshwane, as some would prefer to call it).

We would be taking the Gautrain, our newly built and opened South African showpiece right into Hatfield in the heart of Pretoria. Were we really home, or could this be a tube train in London? Although everything was so similar to a London tube train, the one thing we did not hear was “Mind the Gap!” However, we did hear that we were not to eat chewing gum (which we were all still chewing from our landing into OT Airport!)

Yes, we were really home and, yes, we can be truly proud of this achievement. We left the airport at 09h00 and were at the Hatfield station at 09h45, where we were picked up by our friend Tony Reeler, headmaster of Pretoria Boys High School.

I have written about Tony and Rose, and Michael John and Alexander before – see the blog “Thank you for the Music”.

The next three days we spent on the campus of the school in their lovely home that overlooks the Union Buildings and the Blue Bulls Loftus Versfeld rugby stadium (I’m not sure at which one of the two the seat of South African authority is vested!)

We acclimatised, got rid of the jet lag (which hit me particulalary badly after this trip), visited, chatted, skindered, snoozed, ate, snacked, Amstelled, yes – braaied!, red-wined, toured the school campus, visited Freedom Hill, caught up and generally just did what good friends do … (and the boys went back to Johannesburg on the Gautrain for two days to play golf with Phill’s friend Brad Mackenzie).

On Thursday morning, Tony took us over to Faerie Glen, where we were staying with my good university friends, Marzette and Thomas Moolman. We repeated the previous paragraph (except this time we took the boys ice-skating in Pretoria North)! We also managed to sneak in an afternoon visit to Pera’s friends Guy and Bev Keeling.

It was a week of cooling down, literally and figuratively! And it was great to catch up with good friends.

After brunch on Saturday, Thomas took us back to the OT Airport. Although I had heard on the news that bad weather was expected in the Eastern Cape, a call to the airline confirmed that all was well (or was it?!).

Our British Airways flight departed Johannesburg a few minutes late – headed for the Nelson Mandela Bay and Port Elizabeth.

Our Thai trip was fast coming to its end …  

 

 

Where’s the Good in Goodbye? (Thailand Day 16: Sunday 8 July 2012)

©2012 Edward C. Lunnon

Written on Saturday 25 August 2012: 5 years 11 months on … Advantage CBD

Tomorrow, Sunday, would see us returning to SA. It would be our “goodbye” day and as my ex-pupil, David Aldo (Abbate) sings from Los Angeles – “Where’s the good in goodbye?”

The Hell in Hello is there NOT being a Good in Goodbye!

In life, for every new thing, person, place, event; in fact, for everything that comes into our life and that we say hello to, there comes a time when we have to take leave of it – when we have to say goodbye. And it’s not always that easy to say goodbye …

And so Sunday arrived, and after breakfast, which started in beautiful sunshine and ended in rain, (what else could we expect by now!) we packed and prepared to vacate our rooms by noon.

The suitcases, not surprisingly, were more and fuller than those with which we had arrived!

Everything went into a holding room, and we were able to use a holding room ourselves, in order to rest and shower before we were collected at 18h00 for our return trip to the Phuket International Airport.

The scooters were returned, driver’s licence returned, last pictures taken, last take-away’s, last walk-arounds, last Thai TV, last naps … but it was not the last rain. The rain rained … and the brightly multi-coloured ponchos, which had served us so well, were scrunched up into little balls and left behind. All we would take with us was the cheap dye of the ponchos that remained on our hands.

We would have no further use for the ponchos – imagine us all driving around Port Elizabeth or Plettenberg Bay with brightly coloured ponchos on scooters in the pouring rain! That would be so infra dig!

One of the nice things of holidaying is that one can do things, and does things, that one would never dream of doing at home! What goes on holiday stays on holiday! All that remains there … and all that remains here are memories …

So, we remember

  •          the arrival at Phuket International Airport
  •          the wrapping of our cases and the checking-in procedures
  •          the wait
  •          the coffee spilt on Phill’s trousers
  •          the washing and drying of his trousers in the ladies and gents restrooms and the well-crafted logistics of this operation by Pera and Sean and Phill
  •          the late departure
  •          the rush through Bangkok International to catch our departing plane to Johannesburg
  •          the efficiency with which that rush was handled by the Thai ground staff
  •          our late departure from BKK at 02h00 Monday morning (Thai time) – 21h00 Sunday evening JHB Time
  •          the terrible trip back (squashed seat, no TV, storms, bumping, no sleep)

And, at 07h00 Monday morning, 9 July 2012, we landed, on time, at JHB – the Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa. We are Africans and we were home!

It was noon in Bangkok and Phuket – five hours ahead of us, but, paradoxically, all that was behind us now.

As in Life, all that remains are our pictures, our stories and our memories … the Legacy of Life – the Good in Good-Bye!

Market Day (Thailand Day 15: Saturday 7 July 2012)

©2012 Edward C. Lunnon

Written on Saturday 25 August 2012: 5 years 11 months on … Advantage CBD

I was “Thai-ED”and needed to sleep. It was our second last night on The Island.

Saturday morning, and it was Market Day in Phuket Town. That is where the group was headed.

All except me, that is. I decided that I had had enough shopping and would remain behind at the hotel. A relaxing day at the pool and on the beach … but the rain continued and so, there were brief moments in the sun at the pool for me interspersed with a number of lazy naps in our hotel room.

The Poncho Brigade left in the rain for Phuket Town round about noon. They visited some malls and the Phuket Weekly Saturday Market – shopped ‘til they dropped! The last of the Bhats had to be spent before our return to SA on the next day (Sunday).

Saturday evening, we celebrated Phill’s birthday in Thai style at the restaurant next door to our hotel. Originally, we planned to go through to Kata Beach – a more vibrant area – but I think the bums were tired from all the scootering around the shopping areas of Phuket! So, it was simply a short walk up the water-logged road to our local neighbourhood Thai restaurant. Besides Phill’s birthday, we also celebrated our last dinner together in the East.

Tomorrow, Sunday, would see us returning to SA. It would be our “goodbye” day and as my ex-pupil, David Aldo (Abbate) sings from Los Angeles – “Where’s the good in goodbye?”

 

Kevin Paul: Paralympian Gold Medalist from Port Elizabeth

This is Kevin’s schedule at the Paralympics in London – print and keep!

Opening Ceremony is this coming Wednesday 29 August @ 21h30 (SAST)  [20h30 BST]

Please note THESE ARE LONDON TIMES … ADD 1 hour for SA times

 
200 Individual Medley  SM10 Class
Heats   11h00 – Won in time of 2:14:97 (new AF record). Watch final tonight ..
Finals   19h39  London Time (20H39 SAST)- came 4th
 
 
50 m freestyle   S10 Class
Heats    10h09. Came 4th in new AR of 25,49 but did not qualify for final
Finals    18h16
 
 
400 freestyle    S10 Class
Heats     09h50   Came third in AR 4:19:64 .. Qualifies for final tonight
Finals     17h45. (18h45 SAST)
 
 
100 freestyle    S10 Class
Heats     11h23
Finals     20h07
 
 
100m   breast stroke   SB9
Heats     09h30 Through to final
Finals     17h30 Silver medal
 

Fantasea (Thailand Day 14: Friday 6 July 2012)

©2012 Edward C. Lunnon

Written on Saturday 25 August 2012: 5 years 11 months on … Advantage CBD

The rain continued with brief spells of intermittent sunshine. In fact, for me, the weather conditions were far more comfortable during the rainy periods. Despite the temperature being high, the humidity level would drop a bit and make the outdoor conditions far more tolerable.

We had originally hired the scooters until Friday (today) but realised that it was far easier to get around on them than to have to use the taxi or the tuk-tuks. So we went back to the scooter vendor in Kata (the lessor or is it the lessee?) who was only too happy to extend the lease (ha! Ha! No paper work – all verbally!) and to continue to hold my SA driver’s licence as his collateral on the scooters! (Ha! Ha! Sing Ha! He also didn’t know that I have a duplicate driver’s licence in my wallet!)

The plan for Friday morning was to spend time on the beach – that rained out. Instead, I had a foot massage, a pedicure and … eventually a full Thai massage in the hotel lobby area!

Pera and I had booked to see the Fantasea Show at a venue just north of Patong Beach. The rest of the group planned to return to Patong to commence the early celebration of Phillip’s 17th birthday on the next day (Saturday 7 July). They had made arrangements with the friends they had made at the Bar Big Bang to braai and party the night away – and by now there was also a SA flag hanging there that had been procured somewhere in Phuket.

We were collected at the hotel by a taxi at about 17h30 and made two other stops to collect more patrons, arriving at the Fantasea complex well in time for the show which was due to commence at 19h00.

They had two sessions that evening: one group of 3 000 people sit down and have supper together in an enormous dining hall (Thai Buffet, of course!) whilst another group of 3 000 people watch the show (that was our group). The groups swap at 21h00 when our group went to supper and the first supper group go and watch the show!

The logistics of planning all this is as admirable as the show itself!

Hundreds of taxis arrive at the venue bringing people from every hotel on the Island. You are swiftly ushered to one of a number of queues to collect your tickets. In our case, where we were kept waiting for a few seconds because the person in front of us experienced a delay with his credit card, we were immediately ushered to the VIP queue, apologised to most profusely and given our tickets immediately.

Then each person has to hand in the camera and cell phone as photography is strictly prohibited. Imagine the logistics involved in collecting 3000 peoples’ recording devices but, again, all of this happens in minutes!

The show itself is a one and a half hour extravaganza of music, song, dance, prose, acrobatics, animals (including elephants, of course), magic, illusion, colour, laser, lights … a showcase of all that is Thai using the showcase of each and every media method that one can imagine.

After the show, in a matter of minutes, you are reunited with your valuables, and then we headed off to the dining hall – another example of Thai cuisine united with Thai logistics.

And then at 22h30, the taxi was waiting for us at Bay no 8, as arranged. We had originally planned to join the others at Big Bang in Patong to see in Phill’s birthday. However, we opted to be returned straight back to our hotel, the Katathani, in Kata Noi.

I was “Thai-ED”and “neED- ED” to sleep. It was our second last night on The Island.

 

 

S&T – Scooters and Temples (Thailand Day 13: Thursday 5 July 2012)

Thursday 5 July 2012

Wake up time 9am
Breakfast time 10h00 to 1100
Temp 32 degrees
Pouring rain still
Sitting in coffee room waiting to go scootering!!!
Rain rain go away!
Started pencilling in blogs
Bought ponchos to depart in the rain!
Left at one for Phuket Town on scooters in pouring rain … the Poncho People!
Visited Temple – Wat Chalong (Polite dress required – in effect meant the ladies needed to cover their shoulders, and all had to remove our Thai plastic “fish” sandles that we all had bought and were wearing by now)
Returned to Patong Beach – Visited Big Bang Bar
Lunch from the sidewalk scooter vendor (hamburgers! LOL)
Back to Kata Beach
Mostly in the rain
I went back to hotel (bum worn through on scooter!)- rest of group to 3- beach viewpoint for drinks
Rested
Supper at restaurant next door
Early sleep!

(Updated on Saturday 25 August 2012: 5 years 11 months on … Advantage CBD)

Pics from Thailand

Friday 24 August 2012: 5 years 11 months on… Advantage CBD