Unbuilding the Grace and Pearman Bridges

For Sparky and myself, curiosity drives passion which in turn fuels our life's engine. Our passion was capturing the story of both unbuilding the Grace (1929 - 2007) and Pearman (1966 - 2007) Bridges and discovering the unbuilders. It takes a lot of passion to track a project from July 2005 until April 2007 - rain, shine, hurricanes or moving to Singapore. We discovered the joy of discovery learning. Ken Canty opened the front door for us - then Steve Testa, Ponch Billingsley and Mickey Rogers opened many side doors. Below are the highlights of what we discovered, who we met and what we learned.

And a reminder from T.S. Eliot (East Coker from the Four Quartets)

Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.

September 8, 2006: Around the world in 36 hours

On August 25 at 11am, Ellen and I left Changi Airport for the US - work at Duke and a surprise birthday party. At 5:50 pm August 25 we landed at Newark. This is what flying across the international dateline does to time. Here is the flight path, not a great circle but a jet stream route.

and the return flight on September 6. Here, we left Newark at 11pm Wednesday and arrived at Changi at 05:04 am Friday morning. What the international dateline giveth when flying from Singapore to the US the international dateline taketh when flying from the US to Singapore. But what a trip. We have fantastic tail winds with a maximum ground speed of 748 mph and arrived 40 minutes early. Also we flew a great circle route (I guess the jetstream path and the great circle decided to coincide) and passed within 2.5 degrees of the north pole as shown here

Click for the GPS tracks (XML format) and a bit of homework. See if you can plot the tracks (actually several SQ flights) on a map.

What a surprise birthday party. All the family appeared (well almost) - our 4 kids (Jack, Mike, Rachel and Josh), our 2 Nepali kids (Kisan and Amar) and 12 grandkids -- really GRAND kids. To treat myself, I bought the new Nikon 18-200 VR lens for my D70 and when I returned to Singapore (Sept 8) I was able to test it on the unbuilding project across the street.

Here is a view of my side of our home work area in our apartment - my laptop, cable modem, wireless router, our printer/fax/scanner and files of bills. Note how the Ravenel Bridge appears from Singapore.

Here is the HDB worksite across the street. Lots of cleanup done where the first building used to live.

and about 3 - 4 floors removed from the next building.

Here is Jackie's grapple

and Michael's hammer

Now fast forward to Saturday morning and here is the worksite

and a close-up of Jackie's grapple, hand held camera with vibration reduction turned on.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer