The New World (Day 1)

(c) 2015 Edward C Lunnon / 8 years 9 months ill … / Physical: Deuce – Mental: Deuce

Monday 15 June

I spent most of Sunday night up and about – an upset tummy is not what you want on the night before your departure! All yesterday’s lovely steak gone and all my pills gone!

Not a good start on our way to the Northern Hemisphere!

Anyway, feeling a bit jaded as we do the last minute packing and head off to the PE Airport at noon – Phillip at the wheel and Sean to join us at the airport.

More later  …

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.

ED is in departED (Thailand Days 1 and 2: Sat/Sun 23/24 June 2012)

©2012 Edward C. Lunnon

Written on Sunday 22 July 2012: 5 years 10 months on … Advantage ED

 It was about half past seven in the morning of Saturday 23 June 2012 – the first day of our trip to Thailand.

We were packed and ready to go. Cheryl Price picked us up at home and we were on the way to the Port Elizabeth airport.

E-tickets checked, luggage weighed and handed over (only three bags to the hold because Pera and I were sharing a bag) and then we were off through security (bells ringing as a result of my leg brace) and to the departure lounge.

Everyone appeared to be coming to Port Elizabeth for the big rugby test and I thought that we would be the only ones leaving and going in the opposite direction. I was wrong.

Kulula Flight MN6238 (aka British Airways between Port Elizabeth and JHB and complete with a free (!) morning snack and drink) was full, departed on time at 08h50 and took us safely to Johannesburg.

An hour and a half later, at 10h30, we were collecting our luggage at the carousel at Oliver Tambo International Airport.  

Whilst waiting for the luggage to arrive, I was approached by a gentleman who had sat in front of us on the plane. “You’re ED from AlgoaFM aren’t you?” he asked, “I recognised your voice on the plane!”

He, his wife and son were also bound for Bangkok and when I asked if they were from Port Elizabeth, he replied that they were from Plettenberg Bay.

“Small world”, I said, “we are also travelling with a Plett family!”

 “Who are they?” I was asked.

“The Bryants”, I replied.

Well, it transpired that the Gotz’s are household friends of the Bryants, their son James and David Bryant are in Helderberg Residence and at Stellenbosch University together, and we would be having supper together in Bangkok on Wednesday evening!

It’s a small world after all! It’s a small, small world!

Rupert Upton picked us up and we were off to Pretoria. (Rupert and Samantha worked with me at P&P and we have spent many a holiday with them over the years – either at their home in Waterkloof Glen, Pretoria or at their holiday home in Plett, just around the corner from the Bryants. We tried to remember the dates, but time has taken its toll! I think we celebrated Rupert’s 40th birthday (17 July) in Pretoria when Nelson Mandela celebrated his 80th at Sandton Square in Johannesburg on 18 July 1998. Their parties were on the same night and I designed the invitations (for Rupert’s party, not Nelson’s!), and we flew up for the weekend.

We also spent time in Pretoria with them when we visited the Kruger Park in 2005(?), Sun City in June/July 2006 (just before I became ill) and Kruger Park again in July 2008 (just after I became ill – supposedly our last family holiday!) when Rupert celebrated his 50th birthday.

So we were spending this weekend with them before we departed for Bangkok on Monday morning. It was a relaxing weekend and great catching up. On Saturday afternoon we were joined by mutual friends Lisa and Brendon and watched the Springbok vs England test in Port Elizabeth (thank goodness we didn’t stay for that!) and had dinner.

Sunday morning was a late brunch on the stoep overlooking Menlyn Park, followed by dinner, last-minute checks, repacking for Thailand and for leaving a “winter” suitcase in Pretoria for our return.

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