‘What the hell are you doing here, and more importantly, how on Google earth did you find us?”
I smile and grasp my nomadic friend to my breast and breathe in the heady scent of her travels. Memories as ripe as a week old nectarine flood into my head and I’m instantly transported back to 1994…
…I’m age 27 and on a one way flight to Hong Kong. I have no money, nowhere to stay and no idea what I am going to do once I arrive. I blame Judith Charmers. It was after a particularly horrendous shift working in Harrods (home to the obscenely rich and rigorously rude) the platinum blonde Irish presenter did a feature on us Brits working side by side in this affluent Asian city and suddenly, all thoughts of attending drama school become nothing but a distant memory. Without rhyme or reason nor a week’s working notice, I packed up my troubles, purchased a one way ticket and spent the following 2 years of my young life living, laughing, surviving and residing on the 16th floor of the notorious Chunking Mansions alongside a series of other misfit gweilo expats. Working till dawn in Chinese karaoke bars to pay for our adventures and then wiping sleep out of our eyes at 5am to appear as extra’s alongside Jackie Chan in his latest action movie. Life was good, life was exciting, life was…
“How did you find me?” I laugh between hugs “I can’t even find me living out here??”
“I was up in the Andalucía Mountains and I saw on Face book that you had moved to Spain so I thought I’d pop in and see you. That Goat farmer across the road was really helpful, pointed me in the right direction and even offered me some fresh milk!” My old acquaintance informs me with a smile a she wipes away the residue on her lips.
Dropping her rucksack onto the wooden floor and stretching out her aching spine, introductions are made and edited adventures are told. As the final bottle of wine is emptied my newest housemate, of which normality was never an option yawns and closes her well travelled eyes.
Leading her up to the largest of spare rooms to sleep off the most recent of travels I close the door quietly behind me and make my way back into the lounge where my husband is sitting with an open laptop in front of him
“Why didn’t you say you had an interview tomorrow?” He asks in a sullen tone
“Because if I don’t take the job then you won’t be any the wiser” I reply, almost shutting his fingers between the lid in my haste to close the incriminating email down.
He harrumphs his disagreement and I march off to bed alone with laptop in hand.
The morning is greeted with the usual array of animal activity, culminating in a sparrow flying through the bedroom window and crapping on the duvet before seeking solace behind the wardrobe. My husband sleeps through the whole arm waving and bird poking adventure so I leave man and feathered friend alone to get better acquainted.
Leaving our guest to sleep off her adventures, I make my way downstairs and steal the jeep before anyone says they need running anywhere. With the wind in my hair and Ricky Martin bellowing in my ear, I make my way to the hotel where I am to be educated on how to correctly apply sun cream and charm the tourists into buying my wares.
In all honesty, I don’t know how flogging specialised lotion could possibly be classed as a job but with a jaunt in my stride I walk into the foyer to be greeted by a very slim, very brown middle aged woman who instantly has me sign 39 forms on product confidentiality and then strides outside into the pool area to show me how to flog creams to bronzed sitting ducks.
Within 30 minutes I know without hesitation the job is not for me. Firstly, having to get down on bended knee to talk to customers is not boding well with my clacking joints. Every time I try to rise I have the grip the sun lounger with such force I almost propel one baking punter into the pool along with his half consumed pinacolada. Secondly, the amount of spiel you are required to impart to the reluctant purchaser about skin damage makes me seriously wonder about my mahogany companion’s skin care routine and thirdly, when you are not flogging your creams and sprays, you have to stand in the sun, never in the shade to prove how well the product works!
Being the well adjusted, mature middle aged responsible woman I am, I cross my legs and make my excuses, head towards the toilet, veer swift left and make a bid for freedom out the front door and onto the street. Swinging my bag over my shoulder I head towards the car, picking up a bottle of fizzy wine en route.
Becoming an adult can wait until tomorrow.
To be continued … Episode 14
A New Wife in the Sun is available for proof reading, wedding speeches, radio presenting and anything that involves not having to smile at people for any amount of time.