While decluttering my old tin trunk I found a diary that I had kept as a teenager. This was the year I first flew from Africa to Europe. My parents and younger sister had travelled by passenger liner – Union Castle – but I was not permitted to take time off school. I can’t remember if I flew BOAC, SAA or CAA. The plane was probably a Vickers Viscount. As far as I remember the route was Salisbury, Nairobi, Khartoum, Rome and then London, so probably BOAC. I’m not sure why the flight was diverted to Kano but may have had something to do with the Benghazi aircraft accident. I do know my parents were extremely concerned that I may be on the aircraft that crashed – and were happy to see me safely in Rome! It was a long journey for a solo fourteen year old, but I don’t remember being in the slightest bit nervous.
According to my diary we left Salisbury (Harare) on the afternoon of 9 August. The preparations I made for the journey were to have my hair done (no doubt a nice big bouffant which I promptly redid when I got home) and read a book: The Mask by Stuart Cloete.
To say I was boy-mad is an understatement! My first impressions of Rome seem to be mainly concerned with the handsome men I saw. Apart from checking out the talent, we did a lot of sightseeing including the Trevi Fountain.
Dad took us to the opera – Aida – performed outdoors at the Caracalla Baths. According to my diary I was impressed by the scenery, the camels pooping on the stage and the size of the opera singers. Oh, and staying up till after 1.00am.
I can’t remember the return journey but we were away for at least six weeks, touring Europe and the British Isles. I didn’t return to Europe until 1976 with Roland and Kath.
Decluttering has turned up some amazing memories so I shall continue.
Early one evening, stormy weather brings back memories of holidays at Kariba. The warm humidity, torrential rain, massive lightning strikes and crackling thunder bring the past into the present. The gecko and frog population are on the move. The frogs in the hotel lobby make a strange noise, not like any I’ve heard before and the geckos also squeak and grunt. The power stays on although the lights do flicker occasionally. On my way back to the room I hear monkeys in the forest above the hotel. I can’t help the frisson of excitement. I wish I could share this time with Roland.
Kath and I have been trying out different massage spas. The one in the hotel is consistently better than the others although more expensive. The setting is glorious with the spa overlooking the beach. The masseuses here vary in ability but generally good to very good. I always settle for ‘medium’ pressure because I bruise easily. The spa we visit in Senggigi village is ok but the setting isn’t much – facing on to the main street through town.
Big orange ants are everywhere in the gardens. One bit me on the foot – not in malice or hunger but because it was caught in the strap of my sandal. It stung like mad. Lily also got bitten a couple of times. I am slightly paranoid about insect stings and bites. The correct name is Oecophylla smaragdina, so how about that!
After dinner at a local restaurant, we walk back along the beach to find a Gamelan Orchestra and Bali dancers at the pool. We sit and watch for a while as the graceful dancers bend and sway on the island platform. The beat is hypnotic, the fiery chimneys all around set the scene as the mystical story unfolds. Lily is fascinated by the small boy in the Gamelan orchestra who is being bossed around by a slightly older boy – much more interesting than the dancing!
There is one more post for this Lombok holiday and I will write it, I really, really will.