Letter from John Lochner


While "working" for Broadreach in the Red Sea, I spent a great deal of time with Trish and Anton, whether drinking at Pirate Bar, cruising around Sharm El Sheihk, or on dive boats.

Almost two weeks into the first trip, we were scheduled to spend three days in the desert, exploring the Coloured Canyons, swimming at an oasis, and visiting Mt. Sinai and St. Catherine's Cathedral, the oldest monastery in the world. The day we meant to leave, however, our intrepid leader, Darren fell ill. Unable to leave the pot, Darren left it up to Trish to lead our group into the desert. (I wasn't much help) It dawned upon the entire group, however, that we now had an extra space in the jeeps, as well as an extra pre-paid pass to climb Mt. Sinai and visit St. Catherine's. We bolted for Anton, begging him to get off work and come with us. To our zealous enjoyment, he returned to Crazy Villa, packed and met us at Pigeon House. Anton came late. We didn't care. It was Anton.

After amusing us for hours in countless car rides, as well as the hike up and down Mt. Sinai, Anton found himself with me in St. Catherine's. We were obliged to borrow robes from the monks to cover ourselves from feet to neck. They were striped with aqua, red, and white stripes. We looked like prisoners whereas the inhabitants of St. Catherine's wore tan robes that looked like "Laurence of Arabia" leftovers. Soles came to me however. I had more hair than they did and at least twice as many teeth. So anyway Anton and I walked around the holiest of holy places and Anton started commenting on it. Inside, besides Anton, it was almost silent, everyone moved slowly, and heads were bowed. Yeah, Anton fit in really well.

First, Anton started impersonating the monks. Walking around solemnly with his head bobbing forward. Then he put his lips over his teeth and gummed at the air. He started taking baby steps like the monks, then he started mumbling. First an Italian woman walked by and Anton's mumble became high in pitch. Then a monk walked by and Anton growled at him, then he began speaking in a Japanese accent. Turning toward a bald monk he said, "I wipe you head very nice, so nice it shine like diamond ring I buy for silly American." I couldn't stop laughing. Neither could Anton.

Anton was capable of anything, and always made everyone laugh out loud. It was impossible to be with him for an hour without laughing. For instance, for a couple of days, he and a couple dive guides, along with myself, used tanning oil as a joke. The next day, I was training to be a dive guide and he was pretending to be the crazy student. Anton put his mask on, and his weight belt on, and ran to the back of the boat screaming, "I'm going to get in the water now Ok." The next I saw of him he was twenty feet below the surface, waving at us with a wide grin across his face. I could barely help him because I was laughing so hard. That's the best phrase I have to use concerning Anton. I could barely (blank) because I was laughing so hard. I adored him.

John Lochner
699 Lake Avenue
Greenwich, CT 06830