I am just repeating what Beckham said,but I dont think he could have hacked it on Gan,mind you I could have put some time in behind block 47,with that posh spice.But as for living the dream,how many of us were on the Island at any one time?multiply it by 20 and then ask why there are only a dozen or so lads that post on the site.Taff you might have to try a national newspaper advert again..Never mind,in the meantime my old pal and dvd maker Derek,is out there now with his wife and son, got to get it out of my system he tells me.He will have a great holiday but will be dissapointed with the remains of the camp, same goes for Ray Barber when he goes,but it gets it out of your system.Now if Nobby and Hodgey go with the wives next year I will probably go ,and that will be it for me.In the meantime if Victoria B wants a run out to a little Island with me,just to get away from it all,I will make an exception and go back tomorrow....
If someone with Beckham's footballing skills was posted to Gan, he would spend most of his time back home playing inter-Command and Service matches. Mind you, I got a trip back to play waterpolo.
BTW Larry, my wife wants to know why there's no shots of the Equator Village resort on your video. She said if she wanted to see a run-down industrial estate, she could go across the road from where she works. It's probably hotter as well today - I got some serious tanning in this weekend in preparation.
Ray, have a look on the photos page,quite a few pics on there from 05,could not get that Posh thing to pose as her implants had not settled properly.Between you and I the wife thought I was imagining things and blamed the Indonesian beer in the hotel,Bintang it was called and after several ,the word bint comes to mind,but nothing did materialise.It never did in 69,even after praying for a planeload of WRAFs to get marooned.Mick DeBell also prayed for a whole shipload of WRENs to come ashore,...We both came home with our 12month tie intact....Happy days!!!!Larry
Great photos Larry but there's a slight continuity problem with Mick's hair :)
Our tickets arrived today so the countdown has really started.
I thought most of you boys would have had your own dreams on Gan?.We are having a little get together at Duxford on Saturday,and I am taking a few letters that some of the boys sent me from Gan after I came home and without exception everyone was dreaming of coming home.Did we have it wrong about Gan?,or did we not understand what we had at the time? Regardless I have been back several times and love the place,but I would not like to do a full 12months there as a single man 20 yrs old knowing what we know now.What do you say boys!!!!...Larry
Put me down for the full 12 months, but as you said, I will have to be 20 years old again. No, stuff it, I'll go anyway.
Wish somebody had just put you down period !!!!
Just home from our mini reunion St Ives[duxford] Cambridge.Never been so drunk in 36yrs,3lads and 3 ladies,great time and can only say that all you lads that look into the site and have contact with your old pals,want to get yourselves together for an occasional weekend.Once the drink gets really going you will be surprised what stories come out,long forgotten but vividly remembered when reminded.Apart from Gan,the thing we all remembered was walking into the airmans mess at Changi,,probably the best airmans mess ever,what say you boys??.The head waiter where we had a meal on friday night was very limp wristed,nothing like that in Gan mess,but I believe Nobby once had a kiss and never forgot,bit like that powdered milk..Never mind boys,keep in touch as Derek is back from Gan this weekend and he will have an updateon the place ,,,Larry
Glad to hear you had a good time, as much as you can remember anyway, I had the same problem in Glasgow, Blackpool, Belfast, and funnily enough, at Odiham! Hope to see you again, give my regards to Mick.
Re: I lived the nightmare. !!!
Wish I couldnt remember Glasgow either !!!!
Hopefully Derek will post something before we go in 9 days time :)
What's wrong with the Airman's mess at Changi - Helen's Bar had good food also - you could always go for seconds at the Changi Bowling Alley or the Malcolm Club before closing time.
1st, Ron I said I thought Changi was the best airmans mess ever,those stalls in Changi market came close after getting tanked up...2nd Derek and family came home from Gan at the weekend and telephoned me to say they had a fabulous time with the whole place almost to themselves.No dissapointments as he knew the camp had almost gone so no surprises.Only thing-they have stopped you going around the Island now,with the only open bit being from the old 180 to the new airport.The tower,comcen etc is now fenced off and guarded.Derek was told it was for security reasons ie the new airport and international flights when they start!!.The real reason acording to the Maldies is that a resurection is once again on the cards ie the full compliment of soldiers in the new army camp,and the navy gunboats inthe lagoon.The adduans do not like Male and the government does not like Addu atoll,not much changes does it boys..Never mind he said they were treated like royalty and would go back tommorow..One other thing Steve Ellis has been back again meaning he is top of re-visits,which means I will have to go again just to catch up Larry
The mess at Sembawang was pretty good too, I walked in for breakfast on my first morning there and asked for a steak, to my amazement, the Aussie cook said how many would you like? The village at Nee Soon was pretty good too, the Amahs market had to be seen to be believed, and the food there was good too, as were the bars. By the way, Bugis Street was pretty good as well!!!!
Bugis Street was always the last port of call after the Brit Club closed at midnight, cos it was on the way back to Changi - can't remember how many sunrises were observed, there were lots.
Best place to eat in Changi after a long session - was the taxi curry shop - and can guarantee "it was through the eye of a needle"
Further to my last post, substitute insurection in place of resurection,just as well or you would not get on the island for Polish catholics..Also Derek said that he came back to the hotel one afternoon to find a rep from Cosmos tour operators looking at the lonely men video in the tv room.They were looking for some background regards putting it into their brochure for next year...Regards eating in Bugis street,I never did get my food eaten as persons kept touching my boy bits and never was sure if they were male or female, and before any of you ask I do know the difference...Larry
Larry, never ate at all in Bugis street, drank way too much, amongst other things, which involved the body parts thing, but struck lucky all of the time, as far as I can remember, that is!!!!
When you were in Singapore, did you ever manage to do the Tiger Brewery trip ??
Believe that we (Changi Sigs) hold the record for the quickest tour 21 minutes - which meant 39 in the bar.
Ron, only ever in Singapore during transit..on way to Borneo 66,on way to Butterworth 66 and one weeks leave Changi same sort of time. Never did the Tiger tour,but remember going into the Brit club one evening and ended up back at Butterworth 2 days later with no kit or any knowledge of how I got back to camp,as I had a return ticket on the train from Ipoh to Singapore,and I definitely flew back to Butterworth with some Regement lads I think.Never went to Singapore from Gan,as I kept my leave for UK,but I am hoping to have a holiday in the far east next time away,doing Penang,Singapore and stopping off on our little island on the way home.No doubt all of these places will have changed,but am going anyway...Larry
All packed and ready to go. We plan to make a nice leisurely journey through the Peak District and then leave my car at my niece's house in Wilmslow. So hopefully this time tomorrow we will be in the air and heading for Male' :)
You know how surprises can happen,well I am standing in my farmyard 2030hrs monday,waiting for a waggon driver to telephone to ask where to bring this load of hay,so the wife brings the phone outside to tell me someone is on the phone,well I answer the phone evpecting it to be this waggon driver and who should it be!!Aussie Ron Taylor all the way from Aussie.Well I never served with Ron and only know him through the site,but great to have 15mins conversation with an ex Gannite ,thanking me for sending a dvd and promising to appear at the next reunion...what is next???Larry
Well he has never phoned me and he has my number, lo Ron!!
cos I doesn't have your number - LOST IT - now how do you feel ??
Ron, His number is zero zero double blank f*ck all nothing.
Living down-under I was always dialing 666, no wonder no one came - going back to the garage - testing time
Just got back. Had a great time. I'm going to post a review on my website and put a link in as a couple of other forums are interested and it will save me repeating myself.
Ray,pleased to hear you and your wife had a great time.Do you think half knowing what to expect from watching that dvd,took away any worries about the place that you might have had?.Let us know on this site what your thoughts were,also how many guests,the state of the airport,and had anybody else been and signed the book recently,were the natives still on the warpath ??,the new hotel still on go,or anything else you may have noticed...Larry
The airport is coming along fine. I love the way you have to get on the scales with your baggage. Your video did help to prepare me but even then, I couldn't believe how busy Equator Way is. Lord knows what they all do on the island. I liked Equator Village. It wouldn't be to everyone's taste but suited me. I had a few drinks with one of the English contractors working on the Vilingili resort. He reckons on 3 years to openeing but doesn't think it will impact the atoll that much because they will try and keep visitors captive on the island.
We borrowed a waiter's motorbike and went right through Hittadu to Kotte and got around on my pushbike as well. There's virtually nothing left of RAF Hittadu. There's a big power station built on the site. The concrete pier at the end of the jetty is still there and the remains of the slip.
We had a great holiday and I would recommend it to any Gannite. Derek was the last name in the book and they are still talking about the Scottish chap!
Here's a copy of a report I posted on a Maldives related site. It's a bit long I'm afraid.
We travelled flight only with First Choice from Manchester. Even though there was a 3 hour delay due to a technical problem the flight was still very good compared with Monarch last year. Plenty of leg room, individual screens with plenty of films and you could also play games like solitaire and virtual bowling which can keep you amused for a while. Although the flight was delayed, the Captain kept us up to date and we could watch them fixing it from the lounge window. Luckily, we were are FCA's home port and they had a spare plane they could borrow bits from. I suspect the delay would be much longer otherwise.
We were making our own way from Male' to Gan and would miss our connection, FCA were not much help here, I don't think they get many flight only passengers and kept saying that the tour rep would sort it all out! We saw our connecting plane taking off as we taxied in and I had visions of a long wait. We cleared very quickly because we were late and the only arrival and went to the agents desk. They said they would try and get us on the next flight and must have turfed a couple off to make room for us. So we were whisked into domestic departures without time to catch breath. At check-in, they weigh your hold baggage and then you have to climb onto the scales with your cabin stuff so they know exactly what weight is going on the plane. It's a Dash-8 here and fairly small. The flight takes around 90 minutes and we were the only Europeans on it, so they had to give the safety briefing in English just for us. We got some great views of the southerly atolls and as we were about to descend the stewardess gave us both a certificate for crossing the equator (so our summer holiday was now a winter one!)
Gan is an old RAF staging post hence the large runway. They are constructing an international airport and hope to have direct flights in the next couple of years. Currently, they get 3 or flights a day so check-in wasn't that long a job. We were collected by the Equator Village minibus and taken the mile or so through the old camp to the resort, which is based on the old Sergeant's Mess.
I would say to anyone who likes 5* comfort that Equator Village is probably not for them. It is not featured in any UK brochures and there was one other Brit family there. The rest were German, Dutch, Russian etc. There was also French contingent who had a tall ship parked in the lagoon and were apparently making a film. There was something odd going on here and the authorities kept making them move their ship.
The rooms are basic. A very comfortable bed (compared with Bandos) aircon, no tea/coffee making or TV. The on-suite has only cold water to the basin and an electric shower that was dependant on other users. The room boys are girls as most of the men from the Addu Atoll work at other resorts because of the RAF background, their English is very good. Ours was a few steps from the beach with a good sea view from the verandah. The bath towels are changed daily but anyone who likes them soft and fluffy will be a little disappointed. They provide beach towels but don't change them automatically each day. Personally, I think this is a "greener" approach than other resorts where they are changed too frequently.
The beaches are not brilliant, but with only 70 rooms, there was room for all. There is a very big pool with bar but this only opened if there was a demand. The resort was less than half full for much of the time we were there.
All Inclusive is the only option. This includes local beer (Bintang) which is ok and the house wines plus selected spirits and a cocktail of the day. You can buy brand name stuff but we were happy with what we got, as were most others. Needless to say, the French contingent had to go for a better wine. The food is buffet style. Breakfast is cereal, breads, omlettes, fruit, toast and a small selection of cooked stuff. Lunch is soup, salads, a variety of fish/meat and a few puds to finish off. Ali, the chef, is a lovely man, seems to work 24/7 with a perpetual grin. Like most resorts, you are transparently assigned a table and waiter. Ahmid was ours and he was perfect. Because of the distance from Male' supplies are not as readily available as other resorts but I think they did a great job. Dinner was a themed, so we had Eastern night, Western night, Flambee night (interesting) On the basis of comments fro Bandos visitors, I can see some people being disappointed with the food but it was better than I get at home so I was happy.
The rates include snorkelling trips to the neighbouring islands, an island hopping excursion and night fishing. The missus caught a nice red snapper that they served up for dinner next evening.
The house reef is good. For some reason, the Addu Atoll was affected as badly by El-Nino so there is more colour in the coral. There were not as many fish around the reef as there was by the Dive Centre at Bandos but I suspect that was down to them not being fed. The fish were there if you looked, we didn't see any sharks but did spot a turtle or two. On one of the snorkelling trips the boatman spotted some dolphins and we chased them for a while.
My main reason for going to Gan was to see how the old place has changed and this is one of the major differences to other resorts- you can escape. In fact, they supply bikes to make it easier. You can cycle around Gan, visit the shops, talk to the locals who love to practice their English. The Atoll is linked by causeways and it is possible to cycle the 18Km through the islands to the main town of Hittadu. I did this but my wife is disabled so for $25 we borrowed the waiter's motorbike for an afternoon and had a great time. It was my her first time on a bike and once she got the hang of leaning with me rather than going the wrong other way, we were fine. The main road is tarred and excellent. There's even a section of dual carriage-way but we wanted to see the Muslim remains at the far end of the atoll which meant an off-road experience. There are several tea shops along the route which are well worth stopping off at for a break and a chat with the owner. Check your insurance if you do borrow a motobike. Nobody wears helmets and no documentation was involved.
Despite the differences in nationality, everyone was very friendly. The Germans were a bit miffed with the Hungarian Grand Prix but I did maybe go OTT with Button winning Still plenty of free board and lodging in the Algarve
Ray,if you had asked they would have taken you onto Willingilli for a look,lots to see on there.I was hoping some of the real oldtimers from Gan could have enlightened us as to what all the ruins etc were.Next Raymond You will have to tell us all who the Scotsman was that they were all talking about??? Larry
The ruins are old Muslim graves and a fort. The Scotsman was Derek. I take it he is a Scot? I was offered the visit to see the construction site but they said there isn't a lot to see at present.
Regards Derek,he lives in Scotland but is from Cumbria,and I have no doubt that the Maldies would have taken to him and his wife,I have had a couple of e-mails as regards the ruins on Willingilli and as you say,an old fort,gun enplacements from the war,and the remains of several smokehouses,as apparently fishermen from China used to come to Addu at certain times of the year when the fish congrgated in the shallows.The fishermen had a channel dug from the sea into the lake on Willingilli and used to drive the fish from the sea into this lake where they caught them at their leisure.With the distances they had to travel,smoking was the best way to preserve them..I hope that clears that up for anyone who gets to Willingilli and wonders what they are looking at..Next Ive just been around the farm and picked some lovely mushrooms for the breakfast,all the time I was on Gan I only once remember having mushrooms,and that was the stalks,the officers got the tops,would that be right??? .Larry
Never had mushrooms in Gan, and you were probably right if you said you only had the stalks, and the zobbits had the head, you were lucky the *******s gave you the stalks!!!!
Maybe the zobbits had magic mushroom - always thought they were in 'la-la land'
Did anyone visiting Gan ask about the history of the rotting boat on the MCU slip?
Ray, the wreck was pulled up the slipway to be repaired and made seaworthy ,unfortunately the powers that be,ie the government,decided that the winch would be better off taken to Male,thus leaving the boat stranded,of course it has since been ploated of anything usefull and as I said on my dvd should be somehow pulled out into the lagoon and left as a diving wreck.Some hope unless some europeans go out and do it.As regards the mushrooms/catering on Gan,I have had an e-mail from a catering sgt[Jock]72/73 officers mess ,who said the officers got the same food as the airmen only it was servrd up with a little more finesse.Never mentioned the mushrooms but we know!!!Larry