Holiday Snaps

I have tried to pack light. Honestly I have. But no matter how streamlined the packing process becomes – it is those last-minute “essentials” that tip the scales. This holiday – I was exceptionally proud of myself. Coming in 5kgs lighter than my allowance on the way out I felt quite smug.

I also felt the weight of my hand luggage. Easily encroaching on the 10kg mark I had to pretend it was not that heavy. The straining neck muscles and firm grip on the counter could have given me away – but I managed to get away with it.

My fear of falling over and not being able to get up unassisted was very, very real – but I have to say it helped alleviate the pressure of checking for my passport and flight details on a 5 min. rotation.

I love flying. I love airports. I love the people watching potential. I like the fact that as soon as you pass through passport control you suddenly feel like you need to eat a meal. You have to have a coffee. You need to buy small travel size shampoo’s and hand sanitiser, a book, a bottle of water, make-up wipes, more suntan lotion, a new lip gloss, some hand cream and some chewing gum, and make use of the fact that you can still clock up your Boots advantage card points at Duty Free prices. You can spray on 5 different perfumes and justify buying all of them. Suddenly items you would never ever buy due to their crazy prices… seem reasonable. Drinking Baileys at 7.30 in the morning feels normal. Then you wait. And watch. And watch and wait.

This time I hit the jackpot – the “snow” all 5 flakes of it – caused delays… but it was worth it – just for the people watching.  I had to wait around with a crazy old couple in their 70’s who looked like they had started backpacking in their 20’s and had not stopped since. They were old, disheveled, loud and very American. Backpacking Betty just kept hollering at the top of her voice “STAN, ask about Geneva. Geneva Stan.” There was also the Pervvvvy Peruvian. I made the error of eye contact. From then on everywhere I moved or looked I saw him looking at me. Eeu. Someone NOT to sit next to on a long haul flight.

I have been known to arrive in SA before my luggage leaves London. It has happened on more than one occasion. This time I planned ahead. I packed my bikini and my sun tan lotion in my hand luggage so at least I could tan if nothing else. This seemed like a very good plan, until the lady behind the counter said if the snow got really bad we may have to stop overnight in Paris. Fantastic a night in Paris – nothing to complain about – pain au chocolat here I come.

Then reality hit. I did not have a coat, nor a scarf, nor layers of any description. Berks and a Bikini in -2. Not so clever. Luckily I did not have a stop over, and my luggage arrived with me, so disaster was averted!

Bring on the Vitamin D. Bring on the sun. Bring on….. the rain. I just worked out the 4 days of sun cost ₤200 a session, based on the cost of my flight x each dry day. Outrageous. I am a darker shade of beige now, but tanning chez moi – dachshund shaped marks come as standard.

You tan, they tan. No escaping it. Believe me I tried.

I also tried to avoid embarrassing moments. Also no escaping them. Possibly my favourite was shopping related.

I saw a pair of tailored shorts which would be ideal for work – we looked through the sizes on the rack, but no 10’s. Then my mom – shopper of champions – sees the shorts on a mannequin – a 10! At this moment a manager on the shop floor smiles at my mom and asks if she needs any help. She explains I would really like to try on the shorts – but the only size 10 is on the model – can he take it off for her. I am about to protest – but he says no problem. A decision I think he later regretted. 5 long minutes later, there I am standing holding up a half-naked mannequin by the arm, with the manager bent down struggling to undress the doll (they go commando) – honestly it felt like an eternity – but we had reached the point of no return. She was starkers. I was blushing and looking anywhere but at him. He was frantically trying to get her undressed and get away from what was becoming an amusement to fellow shoppers feigning interest in nearby garments.

He eventually removed them and I scurried off to try them on. I felt immense pressure to buy them for his efforts at excellent customer service. But I didn’t. I did however take the long route out the shop to avoid having to make eye contact with him – now trying to re-dress the doll with another pair of shorts. Poor man.

Only in Durban. My sister and I went to take my dog Betty for a walk on the beach. Betty LOVES going for walks. Everyone LOVES Betty – people can’t help but look at her, want to stroke her or pick her up. Seems she wasn’t the only one in danger of being picked up! As we were walking along a cop car pulls up next to us, really slowly. I thought we were going to be warned about something crime related, told to keep our “vicious” sausage dog on a lead, you know, what you would expect from an officer of the law. Not quite. The window goes down…we have a beaming police officer and his partner smiling at us. “Hello Ladies…where are you from?” was his opening line. Comedy. But it gets better after lots of very cheesy comments his final parting comment to my sister is, “Don’t mind me saying this, but you look like you work out – you have a great body!” Well it’s true – she is a babe – but seriously – can you do that when you are a cop  – ON DUTY? As he cruised off we were laughing about it, and carried on walking to the car…but before we get there we see our cop parked up next to another cop car. As we approach cop car number 2 winds down his window – smiles – and his opening line is can he stroke Betty. It was so funny. The men patrolling the beach – were basically just cruising for chicks!

My sister is hilarious. She really is the life and soul of the party. She is also the one you REALLY want to play practical jokes on. This holiday she was away in Cape Town for a few days – so her flat was empty. I had her keys. I had a partner in crime – my brother. A plan was hatched. Code name: Operation Bubble Over. It was to be simple yet effective sabotage. Washing up liquid in the cistern of her toilet. Bicarb in her sugar. Just add water and watch everything bubble over!

We went to her flat on the way to fetch her from the way to the airport – armed with washing up liquid and bicarb (thanks Mom!). Disaster – we got there and there was no electricity. But we were not deterred. We made a plan. My brother was in charge of “mobile lighting” and I was to plant the “chemicals”.

We had such a laugh. We filled up the loo, and laced the sugar – and then set off to fetch her. I am disappointed to report that our efforts failed miserably. Not a bubble in sight. We casually asked her if she also had toilet water issues, no. I asked for a tea with 2 sugars (I don’t even take sugar, and it was 30 degrees outside). Nothing.

Well it is not about the winning but the taking part that counts.* Don’t worry. My brother and I have another plan in the pipeline…

*A bit like your squash matches hey bic? :)

I left London listening to the shouts of the American Backpackers, and returned to much of the same. Having arrived in Paris on the most turbulent flight of the year – I am in Charles de Gaulle waiting for a shuttle train to transfer me to my Paris-London flight, when I hear… “OMG Honey, this is the biggest airport I have EVER seen – I love you.”

I look up and there is Mr Moustache talking into his video camera and anyone in the terminal who will listen. I assumed it was his first time out of America – such was his excitement, but no, this talkative Texan preceded to tell the carriage about every airport on the world (quite a few) he had been to – but how CDG was incredible. He then embarked on saying to anyone and everyone…” But the most important question is…Where is the Bar? They must have one here, this is where they make wine…”. It was 6 am.


4 responses

19 01 2010

This is brilliant!!!!

1 02 2010
Allison Margach

You have so much talent my friend !!!!!!!!!!

1 02 2010

WOW am super-impressed! all the best Kirsty!

11 08 2010
Sharen Thumboo

By far the best blog I have read …

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