On a recent trip to Club Med Phuket, Carel Nolte (a Club Med G.M) caught up with fellow South African, James Walter – a circus G.O.
South African G.O’s thrive in the work hard, play hard, family festive Club Med environment and James is no exception. After seeing James perform at the pool trapeze show and in the open air show with his fellow G.O’s and a few brave guests, Carel decided it would be a good idea to see what makes this 25-year old from Durban, tick.
Carel Nolte (CN): What is your job here?
James Walter (JW): During the day I am a flying trapeze instructor, and a performer by night. Like all G.O’s a big part of my job is making sure each guest has the best experience possible.
CN: How did you become a circus performer?
JW: Through Club Med! As a kid, my folks took my brother, sister and me to Club Med (we have done Mauritius, most of the Asian resorts and also Egypt) and I fell in love with trapeze the first time I did it. With limited opportunities for doing flying trapeze in South Africa, this seemed a good idea – and I get to see the world, have fun with other G.O’s and make memories with the G.M’s.
CN: Is this the first Club Med resort you have worked at?
JW: No. I started at one of the Club Med resorts in Bali and after a year moved to Club Med Cherating Beach in Malaysia. I have now been in Phuket for six months.
CN: Do you have a favourite resort?
JW: I always say “my current resort” but it really is true. Each Club Med village is unique and special and I have loved my time at each one. I hope to get to one in Japan soon as I find the Japanese culture fascinating – and Japanese people love the trapeze! But perhaps a year in Bintan would be good! I take it as it comes.
CN: Which villages should South Africans visit?
JW: All of them! Seriously, with the exchange rate, I favour Asian ones. Bali offers great value for money and there are no visa requirements for us (South Africans). I met one of the South African Chef de Village’s, Jono, in Bali (he was my sports manager at the time). It’s great how all the SA G.O’s stay in touch.
CN: Do the G.O’s give each other nicknames?
JW: Not really – unless there are G.O’s with the same name or if somebody has a complicated name. I am known as James, so that’s easy!
CN: Is there anything you miss from SA when you are here?
JW: Easy answer – a braai! I do love the local Thai food though and try and sample as much as possible.
CN: How do you stay in shape with all day dining at the village?
JW: I am lucky in that my job is physical and I don’t have to take time off to train. And, of course Crazy Signs [for those who don’t yet know what that is, book your holiday, now!]
CN: Why do you think it is a good idea for kids to try trapeze whilst at the resort?
JW: As a teacher – and I am that first and foremost – it is great to see how kids come out of their comfort zones, confront their fears and do something they may not have done otherwise. Unlike many adults, the kids think of the positives and what could be – rather than what could do wrong.
Spending just a short while with James, one cannot help but be impressed by this young South African. Following his dreams, seeing the world and spreading South African positive vibes, one G.M at a time.
We wish you luck as you continue on your Club Med journey, James.