Readers' Submissions

It Was Great To Be A Traveller



One of my childhood dreams was to become a pilot and see the world and have those 4 stripes on my epaulets. Last year that dream came true. I did have a chance to spend some time in the cockpit – well sort off … But I did fly a plane. Ok, yes, it was in a flight simulator, but the sense of realism was intense, particularly as it was a large jet.

Having been fortunate enough to have travelled extensively since an early age, I now have the unenviable task of contemplating some form of semi-retirement. That had me pondering the things I will miss as my travels become less.

This then is a traveller’s take on the life we know. Many of us have experienced many of these, or a variation on the theme. We were most fortunate. None of us have seen it all … but hopefully a big percentage for most … and we are ALIVE to enjoy the memories another day. That’s the great thing about memories, you store them away and drag them out for instant replay at a moment’s notice. Somehow, all the jet-lag and other problems were worth it and had some compensating balance.

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Exotic lands with exotic food.
Driving the incredible Chapman’s Peak Drive on The Cape Peninsula.
The unique coldness and smell of Bahrain airport.
The hustle and bustle of Hong Kong Harbour.
Afternoon tea in The Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong.
Your first glance of The Treasury in Petra in the early morning dawn.
The first time you landed in Saigon.
The steep 450 bank through the houses as you come into land at the old Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong.
Crossing the road in Saigon as a pedestrian, avoiding the millions of scooters and mopeds.
Old Chinatown in Singapore before it was torn down, modernized, and sterilized.
Lying in the battery acid that in The Dead Sea.
Sleeping under the stars in Wadi Rhum.
Crossing The Deira Creek on an Abra in Dubai with the workers as your co-passengers.
Your first arrival in Lagos and the drive in from the airport at night, lit with a million paraffin lamps.
The wonderful sight of the British Airways emblem on the tail of the 747 as you leave Lagos.
Long-tail boats speeding along the klongs in Thailand.
Drinking cocktails at sunset on the 64th floor Vertigo rooftop bar of The Westin in Bangkok.
The quietly turning paddle fans in the lobby of the “Raffles Hotel” in Singapore.
Driving Route 66.
The sound of the Noon-day gun from Lions Head in Cape Town, when you automatically check your watch.
Eating Po boys in New Orleans Bourbon Street.
The eardrum shattering Afro rhythm music in a West African marketplace. Being stuck for hours in a Lagos traffic go slow.
Times Square at night.
Visiting ‘The World of Coke’ in Atlanta Luxury hotels.
To paraphrase the eloquent aviation writer, Ernie Gann, “The allure of the slit in a China girl’s skirt.”
Sunsets of every colour imaginable.
The flood of relief as you finally manage to board your plane after having navigated the bureaucracy of an African airport.
The excitement, apprehension and wonder of arriving in a brand new country.
A cold San Miguel Light in Angeles City after a long day on the road.
A proper Durban curry.
The sight of a Vietnamese girl riding her bicycle in her Ao Dai and conical hat.
Sipping Pina Coladas in a luxury hotel bar, while a tropical Typhoon rages outside.
Chinese Junks and sampans in Aberdeen harbour.
The smell of winter kimchee in Korea.
Crossing the Equator for the first time.
The drone of old radial engines of a DC3 as it passes overhead.
The camaraderie of good companionship.
Your first flight in a chopper.
A game of pool with a Thai or Vietnamese bar girl.
Ferryboat races in Sydney Harbour.
Wondering how you lost the game of connect 4.
Dragon Boat racing in Singapore.
The cockney accent of a British Cabbie as he asks, “Where’re going mate”.
A night out at a local bar in Lagos.
The bus ride to Stanley … on the upper deck front seat of the double-decker bus.
Experiencing all the lines from the old Jo Stafford tune: “See the pyramids along the Nile. See the sunrise on a tropic isle. See the market place in old Algiers Send home photographs and souvenirs. Fly the ocean in a silver plane. See the jungle when it’s wet with rain.”
White picket fences in Auckland.
First sight of The Pyramids and The Sphinx.
Tropical white sandy beaches lined with swaying palms.
Double-decker buses in London.
The “Star Ferry” in Hong Kong.
Bangkok after a tropical rain.
The smell of Lagos.
The boat ride to Freetown city from Lungi airport.
The sun rising over the endless sand dunes of The Sahara.
The deafening sound of tropical raindrops slamming angrily against the roof in the Pacific Islands
Endless ripples of sand dunes across the trackless miles of the Sahara desert.
German beer at the Oktoberfest.
Sitting in an Inglenook fireplace in an English 15th century tavern, sipping a pint, with the smell of burning seasoned oak in your nostrils.
The white cliffs of Dover.
The green and pleasant lands of England.
Last night of the London Proms and Land of Hope and Glory in The Albert Hall in London.
Driving through Admiralty Arch and up the rose-coloured mall towards Buckingham Palace.
A pukka full English breakfast in Borough Market.
The Fjords in Norway.
The Peak tram in Hong Kong.
The bustle of Nathan Road Hong Kong on a summer day.
The take your breath away heat and humidity as you step off the plane in tropical Asia.
The smell of tropical blooms when you step off the plane in Fiji.
A Lion kill in the Masai Mara.
The view at dawn from the Gilman’s Point of Mt Kilimanjaro.
The Italian lakes.
The smell of a South African braai.
Your first ride on the Bullet Train.
The spring flowers of Namaqualand.
The Eiffel Tower.
The tranquillity and sounds of the African bush at night.
The cry of the African Fish Eagle as its swops on its prey on The Zambezi.
Taking the ‘Flight of Angels’ over Victoria Falls.
An early morning hot air balloon ride over Canakalie.
The sunset lighting up the silver and shining Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
Leak-checking your eyelids on a long night flight.
Table Mountain from Bloubergstrand.
Sundowners in the African Bush.
Sailing on a junk between the limestone pillars of Halong Bay.
Eating freshly caught crab on San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf.
Riding the local ferry-boat up The Bosphorus.
Travelling on The Reunification Express from Hanoi to Saigon.
Haggling for bargains in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar.
A curry down Brick Lane in The East End of London.
The sight and sound of Iguassu Falls.
Tasting your first genuine Tapas in Barcelona.
Driving The Trolls Path in Norway.
Sailing down The Nile on a Felucca, sipping a cold beer at sunset.
Strolling along The Corniche in Muscat.
The sight of Machu Picchu.
Becoming lost in the winding alleyways of Marrakesh medina.
Fighting the crowds on China’s Great Wall.
Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio.
Watching the girls on Ipanema Beach.
The taste of Cape Malay food.
Sailing the Croatian and Montenegro coasts.
Drifting down the Mekong.
A trip to Nonthaburi along the Chao Praya River on a local ferry.
First taste of a real Thai som tam or sticky rice.
The first time you walk into the great square in Isfahan.
Caviar fresh from The Caspian Sea.
Navigating a lock on The Thames.
The green patchwork quilt of the great jungles of Africa from 37,000′ on a day when you can see forever.
Standing on Cape Point at the tip of Africa.
Swahili food.
Taking the train to Whistler.
Eating a bowl of freshly caught prawns in Mozambique.
The cable way trip to the top of Table Mountain.
Al Balaad – the old city of Jeddah.
Tropical Sunsets and sunrises.
A day trip up the Bosporus on a local ferry.
The majesty and grandeur of towering cumulus.
Lightning storms at night from FL350.
The accelerating rush and rotation at VR feeling the 777 coming alive with 200,000 lbs of thrust as she lifts off.
The Alps in winter.
Flying over the Andes.
Windsor Castle from the air.
Your first taste of Pho in Saigon.
Flying low over the deep azure blue clear of the Coral Sea.

Indulge an old man and his memories of a life lived …..