Ten's stressful start to Thai trip

Coogee Cross.

Coogee Cross.

SORRY about no column last Thursday, but I was on holiday in Singapore and Koh Samui to take a week off. Considering it was the first one I have intentionally missed in over 30 years while on holidays, I don’t feel all that bad about it.

TO say Linda and myself, Phillipa and Deon Lawrence, Sonia and Ross Green, Sonia and Jack O’Hara, Sandra and Rob Laurie had a good time would be slightly understating the fact. What goes on tour usually stays on tour, but as nearly no one played up, there won’t be problem with regards to that.

COULD I offer some advice to anyone who doesn’t travel overseas much but has a current passport? Don’t think the expiry date on it will cover travel up until the passport expires. As Linda and I found out three days before we were meant to fly out of Australia, that is not the case – despite our passports technically not expiring until next February.

THE problem was we required six months on our passports to cover getting back into Australia, something we didn’t have. After making some frantic arrangements including applications at the post office on Monday, and an early flight to Sydney on Thursday morning on the day of the planned departure and then a taxi ride to the passport office, we picked up our passports with enough time up our sleeve and were able to leave with the rest of our crew.

The driver had his harmonica with him and every time he stopped at a red light, he would give Linda and myself a tune - and boy, couldn’t he play the mouth organ.

A BIG thank you to Samantha and Peter at the Walcha Post Office for all their assistance in dealing with our applications on very short notice. The whole ordeal was extremely stressful but made a bit more bearable thanks to their time and effort.

OVER the years, I have experienced numerous taxi rides in Sydney, but the one from the airport to the passport office was the most entertaining I have had yet. The driver had his harmonica with him and every time he stopped at a red light, he would give Linda and myself a tune - and boy, couldn’t he play the mouth organ. Apparently, in the not-too-distant future, he is heading to the world’s jazz and blues capital New Orleans to perform under his Aussie stage name “Two Corks”. His distinctive stage name comes from an Akubra hat with two corks dangling from the back of it.

WHILE on tour, both Jack and Linda celebrated birthdays at different times, with Johnny receiving a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday from the lead singer of the band performing at the Mediterranean wedding, we were attending at the time. Then it was off to the “Kombi Van” down the road for a few nightcaps – B52, B53 and B54. It was there Phillipa changed her appearance, if only for split second – but just long enough to be caught on camera.

BIRTHDAY girl Linda enjoyed a facial massage early on her special day and no, it wasn’t from me but someone much more professional. She was robbed of four hours of her birthday on the plane trip home when the time zones changed. The karaoke skills of Linda, Sandra and Phillipa at Johnny’s birthday had to seen to be believed.

THERE certainly wasn’t a shortage of things to do, including a visit to Changi prison in a safari four-wheel trek around Koh Samui in sometimes rough terrain, a bike ride, speedboat trip, snorkeling, a game of golf, kayaking, elephant rides and visiting numerous temples.

AFTER the elephant rides, we watched some performing elephants which included crowd member participation.Our representative was Ross Green, better known on tour as “King Kenny”, who was lucky enough to receive a “special massage” from one of the elephants. “Kenny” reckons he wasn’t worried at the time, but the jury is still out on that one.

BEFORE “Kenny” and Sonia had to leave the island early to attend the formal of their daughter Annabella last Saturday night, some of us managed a 20 kilometre bike ride where Sonia was rated “players’ player”. Considering she hasn’t ridden a bike for quite a few years, Sonia handled the peddling with limited distress.

ONE of the highlights of the trip for me was visiting the picturesque Santiburi Samui Country Club where Truck, Longhandle, Johnny and myself enjoyed nine holes of golf. We each had a female caddy who drove our carts and handed out our sticks along with help reading the greens.

AFTER Truck had trouble putting his tee in on the first hole his caddy then teed up his golf ball every hole from then on. At one stage, when “Handle” hit his ball into the scrub, his caddy went searching for it while he drove the cart.

IT really is a spectacular course surrounded by a mountain range and coconut plantation. Driving up to where it is located made me wonder what we were going to be in for, but suddenly it was like an oasis in the middle of the desert and the clubhouse was magnificent. Champion golfer Gary Player rated it highly when he visited the country club earlier this year.

WELL, the reality check was made earlier in the week on arrival home and now it is back to the same old, same old, but I would like to thank the nine friends who made the trip such a memorable one.