Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Day 1: The start of an epic journey! To Cape Town

Follow our journey around the world seen through the eyes of two very different people. Each day will have a diary entry from Phil and myself . This is how it all started:

ALLIE DAY 1: 15 Feb 07

The beginning of this story….
Well, where to start? Here we are – off to three and a half months of continuous travelling around the world! Can I believe this? Ever since I started to think about men, or indeed getting married, I had promised myself  to travel the world before I would  submit to getting hitched. Travelling shows so much of ones character, whether it’s positive or negative. And I always seemed to have liked it myself. At the dear age of three I wanted to visit my grandmother. She only lived about 20 miles away and so I decided to pack a little bag and start walking… the journey ended abruptly when being stopped along the highway by a police car. I was very offended because they didn’t believe my story of just wanting to see my granny and not being a run-away.
Anyway, here I am, sitting in this nice aircraft of that 747-400 BA flight down to Capetown AND next to me is sitting my married husband for three wonderful years!

We had met each other in Myanmar, or Burma as it is better known, four years ago on a funny incident: I was out there with one of my tour groups but unfortunately being sick with a bad cold. Even worse, I had completely lost my voice! So as I rested near a pool with my ginger tea reading a book and being quite depressed about my bad condition, I saw this man just across the other side reading an English book. Well, he looks French I thought…. Went swimming and saved a poor drowning bee. “Did you catch it?” asked the Frenchmen revealing himself to be rather a British balloon pilot then a French paparazzi. And so we started talking, well or more croaking on my part. Cut a long and funny story short: within 4 hours I found myself drifting gently over the 2000 temples of Bagan in central Burma and flying into the setting sun. After a celebratory glass of champagne after the flight, my pool-encounter took me back to my hotel. That was the start of two months of frantic emailing between my German home town of Tutzing and Bagan or later Bristol. It all went very quick after that:  a romantic proposal on the sand dunes of Al Ain in March and the wedding just a year later.

BUT where was the high esteemed world tour?  There I find myself being married for three years  but we yet haven’t done what should prove that we indeed can live together “in sorrow and in joy” as the priest would word it so poetic. Since we missed the opportunity to do this trip before getting married we had to find another reason. And that came easy: this year we are getting a joint 100 years old! Now that is a good reason to start seeing the world together, isn’t it?
So we both decided that each of us had to name 10 countries that one always wanted to visit – and if not even a single one would match it would result in instant divorce! Fortunately at least 75% DID match! So here we are…..

PHIL DAY 1/15 Feb 07

Got away from Bristol with only minimal panic and hardly any distress from Mum, who only yesterday was predicting doom and destruction for the RTW project. Lunch with Pete Dalby to brief on actions ‘in loco parentis’ and, in part, to savour my last pint of ‘real’ cider for a third of a year.

Bus to Heathrow uncomfortable and crowded, but Allie’s evident surprise and delight at finding we were travelling Business Class made up for the rather grim beginning. We also availed ourselves of the new Iris Recognition immigration service which should make returning to UK swifter in future.

Exceptionally good California Cab Sauv. in the BA lounge produced by Raymond winery which Vicky, Ruth Taylor’s neighbour in St Helena, was marketing honcho for when I worked in Napa.

BA still the best international airline despite the depradations of that Irishman. Superbly clear night over Algeria where, one day, I hope to fly a balloon. 

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