Well as I alluded to in my last article, I have been to Thailand - Land of the Elephant!
The flesh coloured speedo was confiscated but my good wife Eileen could do nothing about the baby elephant, “Elfie”, and I striking up a good relationship. My attempt to bring him home to South Africa on the basis that Thai tourists remove our wooden giraffes at random was thwarted by some crazy 14 day vaccination law!
Oh well, back to Zak, my goat, (looks a like staffie) and on with the show. Thai people dote on their elephants which are far smaller than their African counterparts and treat them with huge respect in general.
On a serious note, we can learn so much from this nation that, in part, was devastated by a tsunami a few years ago. They have simply rebuilt their lives on incredibly strong beliefs and certainly learnt the trick of moving on and learning from bad times.
The locals are friendly, grateful and extremely humble. They are all entrepreneurs!
Phuket is by no means disabled friendly though a couple of exotic cocktails at the pub soon takes one’s mind off disability and every one assists where ever they can.
That’s me (the suave and debonair one) with Marius Papenfus, Captain of the Wheelchair Basketball Team, and Paralympic Legend, Fanie Lombard, at the Sasol Team South Africa Wheelchair Basketball send-off. Photo by Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images. Having watched the Springboks whop the All Blacks in a New Zealand filled Irish pub (O’Grady’s) and partying a few more nights in Phuket, it was time to hit the bustling city of Bangkok.
The great song classic “One night in Bangkok” from the show “Chess” written by Andrew Lloyd Webber tells it like it is. Bangkok is an extremely lively city that is infested with a blend of cars, buses and “tuk – tuks” which are a motorised form of rickshaws as seen in Durban.
The “comment of the trip” was made whilst we were on a river cruise on a magnificent ferry where the Nedbank team were partying up a storm. A similar craft came trundling in the opposite direction, laden with passengers but simply no lights on. “Hmmm,” mumbled one of our gang; “must be the Eskom Achievers delegation!”
I had some formal shirts made to fit my 21inch neck, ordered at 15h00, ready for collection or delivery anywhere in Bangkok by 22h00 the same day! I tried to have a shirt made here once!
The heat was hot; the beer was cold so all in all it was a perfect break spent with around 75 Nedbank Top Achievers and their spouses. A fabulous time was had by all and now everybody is back at the grindstone trying to crack next year’s tour!
LOOKING back at some of my predictions as posted in the first Rolling Inspiration of 2008, I predicted that Altech Autopage Bladerunners would win the 2008 Supersport Wheelchair Basketball Series and that Visa Wings would be runners up. Well the live broadcast on August 16th proved me fallible; I had the right teams, just the wrong way round! Visa Wings 57 – Altech Autopage Bladerunners 51. I have always maintained that the Blades are a club-side of International class so what does that say about Visa Wings?
On their way to the finals the Wings fought off a late challenge from the Discovery Eagles who simply snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, going down by a single point.
Discovery Eagles played the Anglo–Gold Ashanti Lions in the playoffs to decide bronze. It was a tight game, neck and neck all the way. By half-time the Lions were 37 to Eagles 34 and they managed to keep it up with a final score of 66-62 giving bronze to the Anglo-Gold Ashanti Lions.
Our Sasol Team then jetted off to Singapore for a few friendlies against World 3rd ranked England. Then it was on to Beijing where they joined the rest of the Team South Africa Paralympic team.
I flew out on the 3rd September to host representatives from our great crop of Corporate Sponsors: Coca-Cola, Mercedes–Benz SA, Nedbank, Pick ‘n Pay, SAA, Sasol, Sun International, Telkom, Vodacom and Puma. There was also representation from Sport & Recreation SA and National Lotteries who too have supported our lean, but very mean, team. Let’s revisit the rest of those early predictions once we are back!
Well done to Graeme Smith and his Proteas in their series over the Poms. South African, Kevin Pietersen, too deserves a huge pat on the back having been made the new captain of England’s Cricket Team.