Africa - we all have our own visions of it when we hear
the name. What is it really like? What is its history? Previously a guest
speaker at the Pattaya City Expats Club had taken everyone on a video tour
of his safari. On Sunday, June 12, Desmond Bishop provided a different
perspective to the Club during its regular Sunday meeting at Amari’s Tavern
by the Sea restaurant. In his introduction of Desmond, Master of Ceremonies
Richard Silverberg noted that he was born in Africa and spent much of his
life there. He received his Bachelor degree from Rhodes University and has
been a TV and theatre director, radio producer, teacher, lecturer, and
City Expats were entertained by South African born speaker & author Desmond
Bishop. Desmond, writer of ‘Goodbye Africa’ under the pen name Raymond
Spenser, shared his life as a child in South Africa, followed by Northern
Rhodesia (now Zambia) and then Southern Rhodesia (Now Zimbabwe). Desmond
described his first sighting, at 11 years old, of the magnificent Victoria
Falls, 1,708 metres wide, as ‘awesome’.
Desmond started his presentation by saying that when he
is asked “where are you from,” his answer has been “I’m not sure.” He was
born in South Africa and at the age of 11 moved with his family to Northern
Rhodesia (present day Zambia), then Southern Rhodesia (present day
Zimbabwe), after which he spent time in Britain and Australia. He noted that
his book, “Goodbye, Africa...” is an autobiography of his life growing up
and living in British colonial Africa. He said he used the fictional name
Raymond Spenser for himself and other aliases in lieu of the real names of
the people he wrote about as he wanted to protect their identities.
Desmond’s favourite places is on the banks of the Zambezi River, Mana Pools,
where he spent many days and nights amongst the wildest of the wild. He also
detailed many of his encounters with the wild animals of Southern Africa.
He showed many photographs of his early and later life in
Africa as he described his adventures and, sometimes, misadventures growing
up and living in British colonial Africa and seeing it transition from
apartheid to governments led by black Africans. As he showed a picture of
Victoria Falls, he described his feelings when he first saw it from his
train coach at the age of 11 and to this day considers it an awesome view.
Desmond’s narrative and photographs are too much to
include here, but it captivated the Club’s members and guests. Two things
were quite obvious. One was Desmond’s love of nature and the wild when he
described staying at his favorite place on the Zambezi River surrounded by
wildlife. Where, Desmond says, he learned their body language, which was
essential to know when being around them meant danger. He showed a picture
he captured of a wild elephant noting its posture was meant to scare him off
as he took the photograph rather than being the start of an attack. The
other was that Desmond had no like or use for apartheid and welcomed the
transition to countries led by black leaders with high hopes. However,
racial politics resulted in him and his family moving to Australia.
Pattaya City Expats had an excursion on Wednesday the 15th, to visit the
neighboring province of Rayong. They visited Lotus Crystal Factory, Suppatra
Land Fruit Orchard, and the amazing Tamnanpar Jungle Restaurant just east of
Rayong. Here PCEC members & friends sample the many delicious fruits of Suppatra
at the peak of the season, including mango, dragon fruit, rambutan, mangosteen,
longkong and, last but definitely not least, monthong durian.
In the 1980’s living and working in Sydney, Desmond saw a
program on Zimbabwe and decided to call the managing director of ZTV, which
led to him returning to Africa and becoming Assistant Head of TV Production
with ZTV and setting up of a drama unit for the station. In many ways he
considered his time there to be idyllic. Desmond said he met Robert Mugabe
who was well educated and, when he first started out as the leader of
Zimbabwe, was a person you would respect and follow. But, later as he saw
what was happening he decided it was time to leave Africa behind. Desmond
concluded his presentation by also giving some observations about his living
in Asia. He notes his next book, The Wizard of Zee, tells the story
of a boy who meets a wizard who teaches him to believe in himself. You can
learn more by visiting his website www.desmondbishop.webs.com.
Richard Silverberg then updated everyone on upcoming events and called on
Judith Edmonds to conduct the always informative and often humorous Open
Forum where everyone has an opportunity to ask and answer questions,
recommend a good restaurant or movie, or sometimes tell a joke.
Hard Rock Cafe celebrates 40th anniversary
Hard Rockers and students from Ban Amphor School pitch in to clean up the
promenade along Pattaya Beach.
Pattaya’s Hard Rock Hotel celebrated the 40th anniversary of
the first-ever Hard Rock Cafe by inviting students from Ban Amphor School for
lunch and cleaning up Pattaya Beach.
Twenty-one students enjoyed a meal and games with cafe staff,
then picked up trash on the beach from Central Road to Soi 6. The day wrapped
with “Rock Agent” games at the Hard Rock Hotel’s pool.
That evening, the Hard Rock Cafe hosted a party for staff and
customers featuring a Hard Rock 40 cake, a show from the “Rock Agent” team,
beer-drinking contest, burger-eating contest and music.
The June 14 celebration marks the day of the first Hard Rock Cafe’s opening
in 1971 by Peter Morton and Isaac Tigrett. There are 130 branches of the Hard
Rock Cafe - three in Thailand - and 10 Hard Rock hotels
Youngsters and staff pick up
trash off Pattaya Beach.
Mathew “Matty” Carley (center), Hard Rock
Cafe manager, and honored guests cut the birthday cake.
Contestants pig out in the amusing burger eating competition.
dances the samba
Dr. Iain Corness
The Brazilian Ambassador, HE Paulo Cesar Meira de
Vasconcellos, and retinue, paid a visit to Zico’s Brazilian Grill and Bar last
weekend, with the small local, but vocal, Brazilian group very much appreciating
A cocktail reception was held on the top deck, with the
guests enjoying a chilled Jacob’s Creek Australian sparkler and some Brazilian
Brazilian Ambassador HE Paulo Cesar Meira de Vasconcellos
poses with samba dancers at Zico’s Brazilian Grill and Bar.
With one of the Brazilian delegation attempting to restrict
access to the ambassador, some of the media representatives were left wondering
just why they had been asked to attend, but it was soon straightened out by the
Centara Grand staff who had organized the event and the TV interviewers found HE
Paulo extremely approachable.
A welcome speech by Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome had to be
cancelled, owing to the mayor’s crowded schedule, but a representative from the
City Hall tourism section did welcome the ambassador.
The ambassador in his address mentioned how pleased he was to
see his country represented by Zico’s Brazilian Bar and Grill, and he also hoped
that there could be a surge in interest in tourism from Brazil to Thailand.
The attendees then ventured down the stairs from the top deck
for a Brazilian churrascaria BBQ dinner, with a timely interruption from the
larger than life be-feathered samba dancers. This was to be followed by a magic
show, but it seemed that the magician had made himself disappear!
However, the second samba show more than made up for any
disappointment with HE Paulo Cesar Meira de Vasconcellos showing that he at
least knew the steps, which was more than could be said for the enthusiastic
amateurs who joined them on the dance floor, all hoping for a feather to take
away as a memento.
As ever, Zico’s Brazilian Grill and Bar was the venue for fun, food and fancy
Pattaya launches bid
to be named U.N. ‘City of Film’
Looking for more ways to put Pattaya on the map with
mainstream tourists, city officials have a launched an effort to win United
Nations designation as a “City of Film.”
Pritsana Pongthadsirikul, head of the Culture Ministry’s
Contemporary Art and Culture Office, announces plans to nominate Pattaya for the
United Nations designation as a “City of Film.”
Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome and Pritsana Pongthadsirikul, head
of the Culture Ministry’s Contemporary Art and Culture Office, announced plans
to nominate Pattaya for the UNESCO award already given to Sydney, Australia and
to Bradford, England.
Film is one of seven categories established by UNESCO’s
Cultural Cities Network to honor centers of excellence in literature, music,
crafts and folk art, design, media arts, gastronomy and film. The Thai
government is making bids to win Phuket certification as a city for fine food
and Pattaya for film making.
UNESCO says a city of film must have, “Notable infrastructure
related to film-making,” such as movie studios; “Notable links to the
production, distribution and commercialization of films, cinematographic
legacy,” such as archives, museums and private collections.
In their comments, Thai officials appear to be leaning
heavily on lesser prerequisites, such as being a host to film festivals and
screenings, being the birthplace or residence of film creators, and having the
city depicted on film.
Itthiphol, for example, noted this year’s Thai film-industry
awards were staged at Central Festival Pattaya Beach.
Pritsana said the government wants to win UNESCO honors for
Pattaya because rapid economic development followed Bradford and Sydney’s
selection as film cities. Bradford, however, is home to the U.K.’s largest film
festival and its national film museum. Sydney, meanwhile, is the hub for
Australia’s movie industry, hosts the Southern Hemisphere’s largest film
festival and has a landmark featured in dozens of films.
Itthiphol said Pattaya is still putting the final touches on its application,
but hopes to send it to the Chonburi governor’s office for endorsement soon.