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

 

 

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!

 

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

©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