July 26, 1989

July 26th, 1989

Penang, Malaysia

What a day!

Kimberly and I were up early and took a taxi to the Golden Sands resort, where we rented bikes and had an enjoyable time cycling along the path adjacent to the beach. Somehow, we veered off the path and found ourselves in a heavily treed area, where we came across an old woman sitting outside a house. I don’t what compelled us to stop but we did.

Even with the language barrier, we were able to ascertain that the woman had three young children and a husband who, judging by her gestures was a very large man. She also had a monkey and when she opened the cage, the monkey jumped out and landed on the ground. Then he looked up at Kimberly and leapt up, into her arms. She let out a scream, more from surprise than fear (I think!) and I tried my best not to laugh when the monkey started stroking Kimberly’s cheek with more than a look of longing in his eyes!

There were birds flying everywhere and at one point the woman whistled and several of them landed on her arm. By now, the children were standing in the makeshift doorway watching us. They seemed reluctant to come outside but when they did I gave them what was left of the roll of Rowntree’s fruit pastilles I brought from home. They smiled while they chomped on the sweets and I wished I had more to give them.

When the monkey was safely back in his cage, the woman held her hands out to us and Kimberly and I held one hand each, while the woman recited something that sounded like a prayer. When she was done, she smiled and passed each of us a small piece of jade and signaled that we should always carry it with us.

We found our way back to the beach path then made a stop at a little craft shop where I found a gorgeous silver ring that I slipped on my finger the second I paid for it. At the beach, we took a walk and got asked by several groups of people if they could have their picture taken with us. We agreed that the attraction is clearly the blonde hair neither of us was born with!
It was while we were getting ready to leave the beach that I discovered my purse was missing. I thought that maybe I’d left it at the craft shop so we cycled back in the hope that someone found it. Fortunately, the man I bought the ring from spoke excellent English but unfortunately my purse was nowhere to be found. He offered to call the police and before I could explain that wouldn’t be necessary, two police officers appeared in the shop.
This is the second time this year I’ve given a theft related statement to the police! The policemen were thorough in their questioning and spoke decent English but they didn’t understand what I meant when I said my ID card was in my purse. Kimberly took it upon herself to try and explain the importance of locating my ID.

“She might have to go home to England if we don’t find it.” Her nasally Manchester accent sounded thicker than ever. “Our ID is like a passport. You know passport?” she asked.

They each nodded their heads, more in a gesture of bewilderment than understanding.

“As cabin crew,” she continued, her voice getting louder by the second, “Our ID is what we use to get on the aircraft.”

More baffled expressions.

“You know aircraft?” she asked, flapping her arms.

“Thanks Kimberly,” I said signing my name and contact info on the bottom of the statement page, “But I don’t think my purse is here.”

We returned the rental bikes and caught the bus back to the hotel, where I rang Elaine (our CSD) in Kuala Lumpur. While I was explaining to her what happened, I started crying.

“Let me make some calls to London,” she said, sounding very calm, “and I’ll see what I can do.”

“I’m so sorry,” I uttered over and over again.

“Don’t worry, these things happen,” she said trying her best to reassure me.

“Have you ever had someone lose their ID down route?”

“No, I haven’t actually, so this will be a first for me too.”

“Do you think I’ll be sent home?” I sniffled.

“I don’t know,” she stated. “Keep your chin up and we’ll hope for the best.”

I was so annoyed with myself that I didn’t feel like going out tonight. Kimberly suggested room service so we ordered a ton of food (most of which I scoffed) and watched “Raising Arizona,” with Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter. I really love that film and watching it again (I’ve seen it at least a dozen times) lifted my mood.

Just as we were about to call it a night, Kimberly found gold when she clicked on a channel with Tina Turner in concert. What an amazing entertainer she is. Kimberly and I jumped up on our beds and tried to impersonate her. During “River Deep, Mountain High,” Kimberly jumped off the bed and grabbed her ID off the table. Up on the bed again, swinging the lanyard attached to her ID, I cracked up laughing when she crooned into her fake microphone, “If I lost you would I cry.”

We remained on our beds for the rest of the concert, singing and dancing, but not only do we not have Tina’s voice, we don’t have her legs either.


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