Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Still a waiting game....

Seven weeks seems a very long time to wait for anything in our high speed internet powered society, it certainly seems a long time when you are waiting for a decision that will resolve the course of action going forward and move us on from the state of inactive limbo I now find myself in Thailand. I still await a decision from our own UK CAA as to whether they will allow the aircraft to be repaired in situ. These decisions are perhaps slow in formulating at the best of times (aircraft repair is not the simplest activity - many factors have to be controlled and procedures followed in order to maintain the integrity and safety of the machine) and these factors can be further subject to review by committee (a good recipe, one might suggest, for perhaps best producing bureaucratic treacle...) this treacle is having a good effect of sticking us firmly to the ground.



In the mean time I discover a bit more of the culture and ways of the Thai people. Pictured is the “Big Budda” statue situated on a prominent hillside overlooking and between Jontiem and Pattaya. Many of the Buddhist places of worship are bedecked in gold and glittering shininess and the many statues are no exception. On visiting a monastery recently I was given 5 tiny pieces of gold leaf (about 1cm squared) held in carefully folded pieces of paper. This gold leaf was to stick on to the 5 Budda statues arranged in a small open room, each statue assuming a different position. You picked a part of each statue that hadn’t much gold covering and stuck your gold on for good luck- the effect was to have a golden patchwork covering the entire statue - though some of the leaf was either peeling off at the edges or not properly applied so it gave each statue a slightly shaggy appearance - a golden “woolly jumper” if you like - the golden fleece wafting gently in the afternoon breeze. This scene of quiet contemplation is very far removed from the hustle and bustle of down town Pattaya - late afternoon sees this vibrancy erupt onto the streets as people, who, whilst having been up and active in early morning (but then lying low during the heat of the middle of the day) regain the streets in a wild assortment of passenger carrying pickup trucks (Baht Buses), big 4x4 jeeps, lorries and cars of all shapes and sizes and sprinkled into the middle of it all, like so much oil meshing and lubricating between the cogs of some mighty ungainly noisy machine is a liberal helping of scooters and motorbikes constantly weaving and dodging through all the cracks in the slow moving traffic.

Braving the middle of this lot will be found the humble mobile shop mounted on an ancient motorbike and sidecar, a duo act where each component wholly relies on the other to maintain a (more or less) upright stance on the roadside. Often groaning under the strain of a wildly optimistically huge amount of stock (ready to sell door to door around the bars during the busy evening period), the driver quite often has to compromise his controlling view of the road for the sake of carrying more wares and makes do with a lesser, more “approximate” driving stance. One where the driving can “sort of” be accomplished with at least a view of “a bit” of the road ahead. As the whole shebang is tootling along at about 10 miles an hour (to save the ineffective lightweight scooter brakes no doubt) it doesn’t seem to matter that the mobile shop becomes a sort of mobile chicane for the other road traffic to negotiate around. You certainly wouldn’t want to run into one however, for just as some slow moving animals fear no predators - a porcupine with its secret quills or a poisonous toad for example - the motorbike shop would be a fearsome quarry to tackle, as it seems most of them are bedecked with either a fully lit barbeque pit or a gas fired rotary kebab spit working at full tilt as they drive along - why not “throw another 4X4 on the barbie” and see what happens!!

Many thanks for everyone’s continuing patience -

“Chok Dee” (Good Luck - Cheers) Norman

12 comments:

  1. A fantastic update! The prose was wonderful and gave a great sense of 'being there'. Norman's writing has you wanting more and it certainly suggests that the Book at the end of the adventure should become a must-read for every armchair adventurer.
    It sounds like an amazing place to be 'grounded' and I am sure Norman is making the most of his forced sojourn, but we all hope that the repairs, paperwork and bureaucracy are quickly despatched with and the journey can continue soon...there are many more amazing adventures to come and I for one can't wait to read about them!
    Nice one Norman :-)

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  2. Step aside Kate Addie, Normski you'll be on 'From our own correspondent' next! I love the 'golden wooley jumper' analogy. Fingers crossed, we'll see some movement soon.
    Love from all @ 35 xxxx

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  3. Dorothy ThompsonJune 29, 2010 at 4:53 PM

    Great report Norman.
    Thank you for sharing all your experiences while "grounded"
    I do hope by adding your gold leaf to the statue it will bring you good luck soon.

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  4. Quite a good writer there, Norman... thanks for the updates as I check the blog daily for continued news on your adventure.

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  5. Hi Norman

    Sounds like bad news to me. Is the in-situ repair that you refer to the welding of the main rotor mast? Is time running out for getting through northern latitudes before winter sets in?

    In 2002 when Barry Jones hit problems he changed his plan and decied to try for the record to Australia. Is this something you have considered?

    Cheers

    Frank Shaw

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  6. Is the CAA approval needed just to fly in the
    UK? Could you complete the repairs and continue the trip and get CAA approval later,
    on another leg of the trip?

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  7. Well Norman, i guess you have a "wife" now so no need for urgency of repairs. Why didn't you just ship another a/c out there? Whats the latest news it been 2 weeks now since the last post. I see you have been driving around a little on occasions. Keep us posted but its getting boring looking everyday .....

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  8. I nresponse to 'anonymous' post; For Norman to achieve the record for being the first to fly around the world in an autogyro he must complete the journey in the same aircraft registered at the time of departure, so swapping aircraft is out of the question.
    As for a lack of info, may I suggest you try his Facebook page where there is a concerted effort by fans to find information and although it is scarce on the ground we have been able to add little bits here and there as we find things out. It was through our suggestion that Norman switched spot on during his travels around Nongprue last week, this was to give new fans somewhere to go to see where Norman was in the world. One of us even talked to Norman on the phone and posted an edited version of his conversaton to the facebook page.
    We have been advised that there is a media announcement in the pipeline, so it's well worth checking back here, or the Facebook page daily :-)

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  9. Once again the ever loyal Eddie Gold steps in to try to defend the indefensible. Full marks to you Eddie but at the end of the day it's up to Norman and his team to keep the supporters informed of the progress. This they have stubbornly refused to do.

    I have looked at the Facebook page on a number of occasions and see only a lot of chit-chat. Not my cup of tea.

    Real news is what we want and that is not we are getting.

    I really don't know why I am adding this comment because I know that, like previous comments, it will provoke no response from Norman or his team.

    Cheers

    Frank Shaw

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  10. I appreciate that Norman may well be focused on the repairs and arrangements for the rest of the trip but I suggest it might be helpful for him to update regularly - even to say nothing much has progressed - in order to maintain interest in his fantastic project and not least to maintain support for his fundraising efforts for Bowel Cancer UK. Here's hoping for the triumph of common sense over bureaucracy to enable him to finish his epic journey.

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  11. i guess its all over now then as no urgency is being shown. Shame you gave it a good shot and beat the last attempt.

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  12. I wouldn't give up yet. There are voices in the wind, so to say, and there is an air of optimism generating out of Nongprue. Watch this space is what I say :-)

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