January 31st, 1991

January 31st, 1991

Night flight from ANC – LHR

I was in bed when the hotel fire alarm went off and at first, I thought I was dreaming, ‘til I heard Emilio yelling my name as he banged on my door.

I jumped out of bed, wrapped the blanket around my nightshirt, slid my shoe on and opened the door.

“Hurry up,” Emilio rattled. “You never know if these things are real or not.”

“Wait,” I said, wiping my eyes. “I need to put my other shoe on.”

“No time for that,” he said, grabbing my arm. “C’mon.”

We took the stairs two at a time and in the lobby, I was so surprised to see so many guests but even more surprised when the hotel staff started directing everyone outside.

“But it’s freezing,” I said, to nobody in particular.

“Get on my back,” Emilio shouted, as the doors opened, the frigid air smacking us.

“No way, I’m too heavy. I’ll flatten you!”

“Ye cannae hop through the snow! C’mon!”

I jumped on his back and we made our way through the parking lot to the “Meeting Point.”

“I think they’ve done this before,” he laughed.

“How did you get dressed so fast?” I asked, sliding off his back, resting my bare foot on his boot.

“I was still up,” he said, wrapping his blanket tightly around us as we watched the guests pile out of the hotel. Emilio joked that he barely recognized, “Some of the old birds without the war paint.”

Mean little Harold was one of the last guests to come out. He was wearing tartan flannel pajamas and velvet slippers, monogrammed with HWC which Emilio whispered stood for, “Hairy Wee Creep!” Perched on top of Harold’s head was a pair of First Class eyeshades and he was wrapped in a white crocheted blanket, the type of which you’d find a newborn swaddled in, prompting Emilio to whisper, “Harold loves his Mummy!”

Ten almost frozen to death minutes later, the fire alarm was declared “False,” and we were led back inside the hotel (another piggyback!) Emilio said there was no way he’d be able to sleep after seeing Harold in his “wee willie winkie outfit,” so he came to my room.

We were more than ready for a stiff drink but with call time only three hours away, we had to settle for tea.


January 30th, 1991

January 30th, 1991

Anchorage, Alaska

Met Emilio later than planned (my head felt a tad tender) and trudged our way through the snow to the café with the Formica tabletops and rusty metal chairs, saved only by the smell and consequent taste of the delicious sourdough bread they bake every hour on the hour.

“D’ye know the men outnumber the women eight to one here?”
“Fascinating,” I yawned, glancing around at the sea of heavy bearded men, all clad in flannel shirts.

“See anything that catches your eye?”

“Eh, no. I don’t think so!”

“So, it’s still Ben then, eh?” he asked.

“No. It can’t be Ben. We’re bad for each other.”

Emilio shook his head. “That’s not what you were saying the other night in The Truck.”

“That was a mistake,” I uttered. “I got swept up in the moment.”

“And the tequila,” he laughed. “But you love him, that much is obvious.”

I sighed. “Yes, but I know we can’t be together.”

He gave me a questioning look.

“There’s been too much hurt,” I continued. “Besides, it’s time for a change, which is what I always say, ‘til I see him again, then I’m back at square one.”

“It’s never easy, is it?”

“Nope,” I said, tearing off a hunk of bread.

“Imagine how many marriage proposals you’d get if you lived here.”

“Are you saying I need to move to Alaska, just because the statistics are in my favour?”

Emilio laughed. “I don’t think Alaska is any place for a Glasgow lassie.”

Back at the hotel, we went to the pool, which I don’t typically do on trips (I still hate wearing a swimsuit) but with Emilio I didn’t think twice about it. Emilio was wearing speedos and he made me laugh as he paraded his way around the pool as though he was in a bodybuilding contest, making me realize you can be at ease with your body but uncomfortable in your own skin.

The front desk guy at the hotel told us the tanning beds at the place next door are free, so from the pool, we went straight there (sadly we had to get dressed, only to get undressed again!) I know the electric beach isn’t exactly healthy but it felt so nice being warm, if only for a short time.

Tonight, we met up with our crew and I had to laugh when I heard Samantha telling Emilio she thinks we make, “A perfect couple.” Emilio winked at me and when I smiled in acknowledgement, I thought about David, then felt sad for Emilio, because I’m quite sure he’s hiding who he truly is.


January 29th, 1991

January 29th, 1991

Flight from OSA – ANC

Anchorage, Alaska

Started off the day in Japan, ending in Alaska, after a seventeen-hour time difference between the two continents!

Met Emilio first thing and headed for the high-end department stores, filled with beautifully turned out staff, all in possession of impeccable manners. We couldn’t afford to buy any luxury items but did spend a small fortune at a market stall, on rubbery tasting strawberries that swiftly ended up in the bin. I told Emilio I had a hankering for freshly picked strawberries, served with fresh cream, preferably on a warm June day, somewhere like, say, Wimbledon.

“Let me guess,” he laughed. “Front row?”

“But of course,” I teased.

Passenger total was only fifty-five, which on the Boeing 747 feels eerie, especially when darkness falls. Even with such a severe lack of passengers, Harold still refused to allow us any crew rest. I must remember to make a mental note to leave the flying world long before I hit thirty. Emilio estimates Harold to be in his sixties but I think he’s probably closer to fifty, with almost twenty-five years as crew under his belt (no thanks!)

We arrived in Anchorage to, surprise, surprise, snow! It was only nine am, so Emilio came to my room for tea and toast. It was too cold to go out so we started watching “Top Gun” but I dozed off. I have yet to see past the scene where Goose and Maverick sing “Great Balls of Fire” due to the fact I either fall asleep or have to leave the hotel!

Emilio woke me to say he was going back to his room, and that was it, I was wide awake. This is the biggest time difference I’ve been through and I feel like I’m in the twilight zone. Not only that but it’s been a terrible day in the food department, with breakfast and lunch in Japan, then breakfast, lunch and dinner (yes, all on the same day!) in Alaska!

In an attempt to quash the crew rumour that Emilio and I are involved in a romantic relationship, we met up with them and went to dinner but before doing so, we had a good laugh about it.

“They all think we’re shagging like rabbits,” Emilio grinned. “I even heard Harold talking to Samantha about us.”

“It’s actually quite amusing, considering all we do is talk and ea

Speaking of eating, I’m going to bed with a full tummy and a sneaking suspicion that, thanks to too many Margarita’s, I may wake up feeling that most redundant of emotions; Regret!


January 28th, 1991

January 28th, 1991

Flight from NRT – OSA

The Plaza Hotel, Osaka, Japan

Harold, our purser, is a vile little man and we do not like him! He complains about everything and whenever Emilio or I crack a smile or attempt to enjoy any semblance of fun onboard, Harold hurls insults then refuses to communicate with us for the remainder of the flight (which, considering he’s our boss is not very helpful.)

The streets of Osaka are mobbed and everywhere you look are huge flashing, neon lights, all in total contrast to the sleepy village atmosphere of Narita we just left.

Having no desire to spend our first night with our drab crew, Emilio and I ventured out and got asked by at least a dozen people if they could have their picture taken with us. One not so small group (all young and female) were so convinced Emilio is Michael J. Fox that they chased us down the street, almost causing a mob scene!

We ducked into a dimly lit restaurant and Emilio joked that if we want to go sightseeing, we’ll have to don hats and sunglasses.

“You don’t even look like him,” I commented, after we watched the girls run past the restaurant.

“And you’re not a natural blonde,” he retorted. “But it didn’t stop them asking if they could touch your hair!”

“It’s all very strange, isn’t it?”

“We’re not in Glasgow anymore,” he chuckled.

On one side of the restaurant was a counter, laden with plastic models of the food they offer, which made it easy to order and the only reason we stayed. Well that, plus the fact the whole attention thing was getting a bit much (not necessarily for Emilio who has a love affair with his hair. Having said that, I will admit, he has great hair!)

When Emilio’s plate arrived, the food looked nothing like the model and whatever it was tasted absolutely disgusting so we ended up sharing my bowl of noodles and stringy meat that we tried guessing the origin of!

I think it’s time to learn some basic Japanese.


January 27th, 1991

January 27th, 1991

Narita, Japan

My first thought, after crawling out of bed and opening the door to Emilio was; I hope I don’t look that bad!

“Sooooo?” He said, with more than a cheeky grin, coming into my room.

“Sorry, what was that?” I teased.

“When did he leave?”

“I know not what you speak of,” I said, brushing my hand across my forehead in an exaggerated gesture.

“I cannae believe it, I mean, of all the bars in all the, whatever the rest of that is,” he laughed. “I thought he was engaged?”

“He is.”

“I can see that’s going well! So, when did he leave?”

“About half an hour ago.”

“Tut, tut, tut,” he joked. “Hopefully he’ll be on first crew rest after being up all night with you.”

“I’m saying nothing! Are you ready for a day at Disneyland?”

“Aye, I better keep moving otherwise I’ll keel over.”

Unable to read the signs at the station, we boarded the first train in the hopes it was going in the direction of Tokyo Disneyland! I just laughed at the absurdness of that, clearly, we were still intoxicated this morning!

In the lap of the woman sitting across from us, sat a baby with the biggest head I’ve ever seen, the sight of which prompted us to begin what started out as a conversation filled with concern and ended up being especially crude, mostly with regard to how the woman could have possibly given birth to what Emilio was now calling, “The Alien Wean,” (Scottish for child!)

The woman on the other side of Emilio spent the journey engrossed in her book, but when she stood up, she glared at us and in an American accent, sneered, “You dumb asses are on the wrong train!”

I felt my cheeks flush as I quickly gathered up my stuff, while Emilio made a poor attempt apologizing for what we said about the baby, but the more he spoke, the worse it sounded. We followed the woman off the train and when she was a few feet ahead of us, she turned and yelled, “Ha! The train was going to Disneyland after all! Have a nice day, assholes!”

Emilio and I didn’t dare react, but once the platform was clear of everyone, we cracked up.

“How stupid of us to assume nobody could understand us!”

“Aye, that’ll teach us,” he said.

We eventually made it to Disneyland and enjoyed an amazing day but on the train home we remained, to quote Emilio, “As quiet as Mickey and Minnie Mouse!”



January 26th, 1991

January 26th, 1991

Narita, Japan

First time in Japan! The hotel is very cool and minimalist looking and the bed consists of a thin mattress, perched on a wooden platform, raised only inches off the floor. The bathroom is outfitted entirely in white marble and is by far, the nicest bathroom I’ve ever been in.

At Narita airport, Emilio got mobbed by a bunch of Japanese schoolgirls who mistook him for Michael J. Fox! They chased him through the terminal, all the way outside the airport doors, pushing an array of items into his hands, all for his autograph! Being the Hollywood star he is, he obliged. Sorry Perfect Penny, you just officially lost the race for the Oscar!

Because it’s also Emilio’s first time here, we agreed to meet up with most of our crew in the hopes of experiencing something new but after a short bus journey into town, we ended up in The Red Lion, where sadly some of the crew went so far as to order pie and chips. Ugh!

Sensing our disappointment, Sally suggested Emilio and I go to The Truck, which neither of us had heard of, so she pointed us in the direction of the shuttle bus and off we trod. A short while later, in perfect English, the bus driver announced, “The Truck.” We thanked him as we stepped tentatively off the bus into what was essentially the parking lot of the Ana Hotel. Vehicles were flying by on the adjacent motorway and I was quite sure we were in the wrong place. I was about to say so when Emilio pointed to a container, sitting at the other end of the parking lot, the type of which you’d find attached to a long-distance lorry.

“Listen,” he said, holding his hand to his ear.


“Aye, and singing. Karaoke by the sounds of it,” he said, with a mock shudder. “Seems the Virgin Atlantic crew are already there,” I laughed.

Inside, we squeezed our way to the bar, recognizing a few familiar crew faces, before quickly downing a couple of shots of tequila, prompting Emilio to suggest we sing.

“I am not getting up there,” I stated, quite vehemently.

“Aye, you are,” he chuckled. “C’mon it’ll be a laugh.”

“What’re we singing?” the all too familiar voice said. I spun around to see Ben, sporting his signature grin, looking not at all unattractive. Feeling shocked (slight understatement) I stuttered, “Fancy meeting you here,” which sounded absolutely ridiculous and made me blush.

“And you,” Ben smirked, kissing my cheek.

“Ben, this is Emilio,” I said, trying not to react to the light kick Emilio gave my ankle, no doubt letting me know he knew exactly who Ben was!

“Hello mate,” Ben said, nodding confidently in Emilio’s direction. “So, Karen,” Ben continued, turning to me. “What should we sing?”

“Ehm,” I croaked, feeling totally flustered. “Whatever you want.”

“Sweet Dreams?” he suggested.

“Yeah, ok,” I nodded, trying not to react to another of Emilio’s not so gentle kicks to my ankle.

“Emilio,” I said, stressing his name. “Will you sing with us?”

“Nah,” he said, shaking his head. “I think the two of you will be better off doing it together.”

I gave him “a look,” that he responded to by tapping his foot against mine, then I tried to ignore the lascivious manner in which he slowly ran his tongue over his lips.

“Stop it!” I hissed, through gritted teeth, trying not to laugh.

“Get up there and show us how it’s done,” Emilio chuckled, just as Ben grabbed my hand and led me to the makeshift stage.

“Sweet dreams are made of this, who am I to disagree? I travel the world and the seven seas, everybody’s looking for something.”

Oh, what a night!


January 25th, 1991

January 25th, 1991

Flight from ANC – NRT

Presently on the flight from Alaska to Japan (seven hours) with our naff crew, who went to great lengths on the crew bus describing every detail of the snow and “absolutely superb skiing you both missed.” Yawn.

Neither Emilio or I had any interest in freezing to death in the frigid temperatures so we, wait for it, ordered room service, only this time we ate healthy food. There really is a first time for everything!

Samantha asked Emilio how his ankle is, and based on his response, he’ll be sharing this year’s Oscar with Perfect Penny!

January 24th, 1991


January 24th, 1991

Anchorage, Alaska

I met Emilio on a New York trip last month and much to my delight, he showed up in the briefing room yesterday. He had previously told me about his engagement to a Glasgow girl called Tracy but I have a sneaking suspicion he’s hiding the true nature of his sexuality.

Our entire crew (all of whom are much older) decided to go skiing and we planned on joining them, until Emilio and I found ourselves in an Alaskan dive bar ‘til four this morning! Trudging through the snow on our way back to the hotel, Emilio expressed a deep desire to sleep, in lieu of skiing so I set my alarm and rang the Cabin Service Director to say Emilio had sprained his ankle and I was staying behind to keep an eye on him. I felt bad telling a little white lie but after Emilio’s dancing and stumbling routine last night, it is entirely possible!

Because it’s so cold (read as; we are both severely hung over) we decided to spend the day in the hotel. In Emilio’s room, we ordered room service and watched “Pacific Heights” followed by “Postcards from the Edge.” Over chocolate mousse (so good!) I pretended to be Doris, the old bag Mother (brilliantly played in the movie by Shirley MacLaine) and Emilio gave a stellar performance as Suzanne Vale (played by Meryl Streep.)

Emilio was in the middle of re-enacting the scene where Suzanne and her Mother are doing the foot stomping dance, when the phone rang.

“Tracy,” he mouthed, wiping a streak of chocolate mousse from his cheek. I listened as his fiancée screamed abuse from five thousand miles away, mostly over the fact she was unable to get hold of Emilio last night. Yep, I thought, that’s because he was in the dive bar, attempting to sprain his ankle! While Tracy was exercising her vocal cords (working at full capacity!) Emilio held the receiver at arm’s length, looking more than embarrassed. I crept past him and mouthed, “Ring me later,” but he motioned for me to stay.

When the not so short call was over, I could see he was drained. “Sorry your fiancée was so upset,” I offered.

“She’s got some temper,” he sighed. “She hates the fact I’m away all the time.”

“I can understand that. There’s nothing worse than trying to get through to someone, when the phone just keeps ringing,” I said, thinking back to David, adding, “Especially when they’re thousands of miles away.”

“That’s true,” he smiled, weakly, giving the impression he didn’t want to talk about it anymore. “Are you hungry?”

“I’m always hungry,” I laughed.

We discussed going out to eat but the room was warm and cozy, so we ordered enough food for a serious gorge fest, watched, “Ghost,” and sobbed like the saps we are!


January 19th, 1991

January 19th, 1991

Lagos, Nigeria

I just had a very interesting experience, in the hotel bar, where I bumped into Penelope, aka, Perfect Penny.

“Hi Penelope,” I waved, remembering her disdain for any abbreviated version of her beloved name.

“Oh, hello,” she uttered, quickly averting her gaze, clearly hoping I’d keep walking.

“How are you?” I said, grabbing the stool beside her.

“Splendid,” she fake smiled. “And you?”

“Great, thanks. Hey, did you get the note I left in your mail slot at Heathrow?”

“Oh gosh, so sorry I must have forgotten to respond.”

“I just wanted to see how you were doing after-”

“After I was sent home with that dreadful sinus infection,” she said, a little too fast.

Staring at her, I said, “Sinus infection?”

She nodded her head furiously. “Gosh, that really was awful.”

Which part, I thought, getting sent home or the fact you peed on not one but four pregnancy test sticks in my hotel room, all of which, I hate to remind you, tested positive!

“Ya,” she continued. “I suffer terribly from sinus problems, as well as migraines. Runs in the family.”

“Oh,” I uttered. “So, is your ehm, is your sinus infection all taken care of now?”

“Mummy made sure I had the best doctor for such,” she stated, her expression remaining stoic.

“I see. Well, I suppose that’s good news, yes?”

“Yes, it’s marvelous news actually. All taken care of.” That fake smile again.

“Well I’m glad to hear you’re ok, I was quite concerned about you, you know.”

“You were terribly sweet but I’m absolutely fine, no need to continue discussing such.”

“Ok, well in that case I’ll leave you to it and say goodnight.”

“Goodbye,” she said, without looking at me.


I guess I had better stay on the pill, to avoid risking a sinus infection!


January 15th, 1991

January 15th, 1991

At home, England

Just got off the phone with Lorna, who excitedly confirmed that her wedding date is March 12th, in Bermuda. The plan is to request a work trip with Carl and a few others we did our British Airways training with, which should be very fun! Sadly, I won’t be going with David but I’m not going to dwell on any of that. As Florence has pointed out on more than one occasion, there’s nothing I can do about a guy who prefers guys over girls. Absolutely nothing.

William sent a cassette with some of his favourite music, which I have to say was dreadful and not at all my cup of tea so I won’t be blasting that in the car anytime soon! Along with the cassette was a very, what I’d consider “heavy,” letter. As much as I like William, I think he’s too intense for me but I’ll at least write and say thanks (no thanks, haha!) for the cassette. Besides, the postage from Antigua cost a fortune and as mum would say, “It’s the thought that counts.”