Staying true to my very own nature before leaving for my long distance travels, here's a look at my itinerary for my fourth trip to my second "home" at South Africa and also for my third Comrades Marathon. As usual, a packing list was prepared and can you believe it that I actually have this first drafted out back in December 2013 before finalizing it early last month. That's how anxious I am for this trip or rather you can say afraid of being forgetful. The below is a look at my packing list which is more or less the same as previous. Just took out some older clothings and added in some new ones, and also to suit the weather there. And please do not mind the Old Town Coffee for my caffeine needs there and also the Bak Kwa (dried meat) which is meant not only for my race but also as a gift for a few friends.
All the above will be stuffed into my trustworthy "Big Black Bag" and also the same duffel and camera bag from previous trips. And as you can see, there will be no work related stuff that I will be bringing along. Those are staying put back at where they belong. The only things not mentioned in the list above will be my unwanted but very new t-shirts from various events I've joined. My intention is to have it donate to the poor in South Africa. And one lucky person will take over my 1 year old Saucony Mirage 3 which has served me very well. I guess it's time to pass it on and for someone to take it to greater heights by running well in them. And once the things are donated off, my luggage will have much space needed to haul back lots of stuff from South Africa! :D
All packed and ready to go! Special appearance of the Saucony Ride 7.
This time round, although the registered contingent is of 12 people, 2 could not make it from the total 8 person I was handling. And besides, it was tough planning this year trip. Unlike previous years which was all planned and settled at the early part of the ear, this time round saw confirmation only at early May. It was a major headache in planning. Anyway, I will be travelling with Susanah flying again on Emirates in the wee hours of Monday (26 May 2014) morning. Will head off to Dubai first transiting there for 5 hours before flying off again to Durban arriving in the evening. Once arriving, I will pick up the Nissan Livina I rented before heading off to our hotel at Belaire Suites. A few days with just the 2 of us in Durban while waiting for the rest like Chee Kong, Mei-Ee, little Xi Ning, Cham, CP and Selva to arrive 3 days later and I hope to bring Susanah to a few places worth visiting before making other trips together with the others.
Of course there will be route drive and visit to the Comrades House as it is really a must for first timers to know of the history of this great run. Then looking forward to the Runner's World Pasta Party at Suncoast Casino where it will be nice to meet up with old friends like Caroline and Susan and not to mention meet new ones. Then of course the Comrades Expo to collect our race kit and perhaps to shop again for collectibles and mementos
And after conquering the grueling Comrades Marathon which I hope everyone will successfully complete, myself together with Susanah, Chee Kong, Mei-Ee and little Xi Ning will another week to spend there while the rest will make their way home. The 5 of us will pay a visit to Kruger National Park. And we rented the 7 seater Chevrolet Orlando for this task. But before getting there, we will have a stop over at Pongola and Hlane Royal National Park at Swaziland. Over at Krueger, we will all stay at Lower Sabie for some encounters with the hippos and Satara camp famous for lions. And hopefully this time round will be lucky enough to spot the big 5s along the way.
Location of Kruger National Park. Take note of its size. It's 27 times the size of Singapore!
The Chevrolet Orlando for the Krueger task.
And to round off the trip, we will make a stop at Johannesburg for a night there hopefully to meet up with friends like Peter, Su Li, Anthony, Susan, Caroline, Pierre, Renee, Willie and others. Myself and Susanah will then fly home on 7 June 2014 on board Emirates while Chee Kong and Mei-Ee will catch a later flight back to Scotland.
This once again will be my yearly affair with South Africa and I am excited to have new friends coming along. Certainly hoping to spend some quality time with them and besides, we have a one year old baby with us this time round, an age where it will be interesting! With days to go before I leave and days to the big race, I am really looking forward to it already and am doing what I can to finish off my work here. Am sure everyone else is doing the same so that we can have some peace while enjoying our race and holiday.