September 20th, 1989
Hilton Hotel, Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates
In the briefing room yesterday at check-in, after a quick scan of my crew, I concluded that half of us are under the age of twenty-five. That fact alone ought to have been a clue that this trip might be a bit on the wild side.
When we arrived last night, Mr. Fenwick (as we’re affectionately calling him) invited everyone to his room for a party. I wasted no time showering, changing and making my way to his room, where, surprisingly, most of my crew were already on their second drinks!
Several bottles of fizz later, someone suggested, “Popping downstairs to the Safari club.” On the dance floor, I met a gorgeous guy from Cape Town, called Marc. He was a fantastic dancer and we all know what a sucker I am for a guy who can dance.
For hours on end, we went from the dance floor to the bar (I was playing “how much Champagne can Karen consume in one night?”) Marc told me he works for a Dutch engineering company and is here on a business trip. When he asked what I was doing here, I said I was on a business trip (I kind of am!)
When Simply Red’s, “It’s Only Love,” came on, Marc and I danced pretty close together, which I’m not going to say was at all unpleasant. I sensed I’d gone well over my bubbles limit when, halfway through the song, our lips found each other. With a guy as good looking as he is, it’d be too easy to get carried away but instead of falling into that all too familiar territory, I excused myself.
On my way to the loo (slightly cursing myself for being sensible) the gaudy purple and gold carpet seemed to take on a life of it’s own, which made me chuckle. I pushed open the ridiculously heavy door to the loo and saw a girl resembling Frankie. She had her back to me and was bent halfway over, drying her hair under the hand dryer, but when I clocked her outfit I knew for sure it was Frankie.
I went over and tapped her on the shoulder. Her body shot up and she screamed when she saw me. In rapid-fire fashion, the questions began:
“When did you arrive?”
“How long are you here?”
“What’s your crew like?”
“Are you on the Delhi, KL trip?”
“How are you?”
I forgot to ask how she got her hair wet!
Back on the dance floor, I kept a safe distance from Marc, which I have to say wasn’t really my first choice but I knew if we danced again, there’d be more kissing and that’s usually when things begin to get complicated. I definitely wasn’t in the mood for complicated last night.
Needless to say, with the addition of Frankie’s presence, it ended up being more of an early morning than a late night. And tonight wasn’t much tamer! We (I think there were twenty-two of us in total!) started out at the Mexican restaurant at the Sheraton Hotel, which was surprisingly good. I ate Mexican food for the first time this year, in Florida, with Gabriel and while I chomped on chips and salsa tonight, I thought about him.
From the Sheraton, we came back to the hotel and stopped in Safari but only for a little while because it was pretty dead (no sign of Marc, phew!) We lost most of the more senior crew (the over thirty crowd) at that point but at least a dozen of us were still raring to go. Mr. Fenwick, who is definitely over thirty, suggested a nightcap at the Carousel club so the diehards made our way there.
Frankie and I danced like maniacs, until she spotted a blond guy she previously met here. A guy, at least a foot taller than her, who she calls, “The Viking.”