June 16th, 1990

June 16th, 1990

At home

We landed just after seven am, at which time Ben Two (as Hilary called him)  made one last attempt to get me to give him my phone number.
“The statisti, er, the numbers for long distance relationships are shit you know,” are the last words he uttered before I grabbed my Samsonite and turned and bumped into Sam, from training.

“Well, lookie what we have here,” he said, kissing my cheek.

“Hello darling, you’re looking well.”

Sam took an exaggerated step back and gave me what we refer to as, “The Up Down.”

“And you! From where did you hail?”

“Jo’Burg.”

“Ugh.”

“I know,” I groaned. “And you?”

“Rio.”

“Oooh, brilliant.”

“Was actually,” he said, glancing up ahead at the customs agent. “Do you think we’ll get stopped?”

“Nah, they rarely stop us. Why? What’re you hiding?”

“Keep your voice down,” he whispered.

“Sorry. Did you buy too much booze?”

“No but I have a suitcase full of frocks and a very expensive headdress I bought from some old tranny down by Copacabana Beach.”

I laughed. “I don’t think it’s illegal to carry women’s clothing through customs.”

“It is when said headdress is encrusted with jewels and worth a small fortune.”

“Ooh,” I uttered. “Then you better hope you don’t get searched.”

“Just keep talking,” he urged as we fake laughed our way through customs with thankfully no interruption.

Mum was still in hysterics over Sam and his headdress, when the phone rang.
“I’m not in the mood for talking to anybody,” I groaned.

“Neither am I,” mum said, heading to the bathroom.

I counted eleven rings before giving in.

“Hello?”

“Hey you,” breathed the all too familiar voice.

“Ben, hi, how’s it going? Did you get your Wings?”

“I did, I did.”

“Congratulations. You must feel relieved.”

“Very. Got my first flight tomorrow.”

“Oh wow, already? Where to?”

“The Big Apple.”

“Aw, fantastic. You’ll absolutely love it! I’m sooo excited for you!”

“Yeah I can’t wait. I’ll send you a postcard,” he laughed.

“Please do.”

“Listen, I might come home in between this trip and my next.”

“That’d be cool,” I uttered, trying to sound as nonchalant as possible.

“If I do, I’ll give you a ring and maybe we can go out for a drink and swap flying stories. How does that sound?”

“Sounds good,” I said, sensing the subtle change in my breathing.

“Great, well I better go so I can pack and all that.”

“Ok, enjoy your first trip, hope it all goes well.”

“Thanks, I’m sure it will.”

I have no doubt.

 

June 10th, 1990

June 10th, 1990

At home

I was scheduled to fly to Jo’Burg tonight but crewing rang first thing to say the flight would be delayed until tomorrow (!) which, after a day of bubbles with Annabel, was music to my ears.

Used the extra day to find a new estate agent, one who actually appears to know what he’s doing.

Met with him this afternoon and he offered to show me a few houses tomorrow but I told him it’ll have to wait ‘til I return from South Africa.

There are so many positive aspects to getting paid to fly around the world, but when it comes to relationships or trying to buy a house, it’s not so good!

 

May 22nd, 1990

May 22nd, 1990

Flight from LHR – ANU

Ramada Renaissance, Royal Antiguan Resort

Deep Bay, Antigua

I can’t believe I actually made it here, after such a nightmare getting to the airport this morning but I’m too tired (and tipsy) to get into it all right now, so it’ll have to wait ‘til tomorrow.

Goodnight from Antigua!

 

May 11th, 1990

May 11th, 1990

Hilton Hotel

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

I awoke this morning, to Suzi waltzing around, singing; “Everybody loves somebody sometime, everybody falls in love somehow.”

All I could do was smile. “You’re obviously feeling better.”

“Something in your kiss just told me. My sometime is now…”

“Suzi!”

“Arrrggh!” She squealed, spinning in my direction.

“Eh, what are those?” I asked.

“Headphones,” she said, removing the tiny buds from her ears.

“No, not those,” I said, getting out of bed. “The gleaming things.”

“Oh, these?” She said, fingering the emerald and diamond drop earrings. “They eh, came into my possession last night.”

“Where?”

“At the disco.”

“Who gave you them?”

I watched her cheeks flush. “A man at the bar.”

“What man?”

“A man I was talking to while you lot were boogying.”

“Do you know who he was?”

“Well, they weren’t actually from him. He said they were from one of the Princes in the VIP area.”

“Suzi!”

“I know, gorgeous, right? You can borrow them if you want. They came in a velvet lined Cartier…”

I waved my arm dismissively. “You can’t keep them!”

“Why not?”

“I forgot it’s your first time here. I should’ve told you.”

“Told me what, doll?”

I sighed a deep sigh. “Let’s just say there’s a price for everything.”

“Oh,” she said, suddenly looking concerned.

 

After a day at the beach club, baking in the sun and wilting in the humidity I really wasn’t in the mood for another night at the disco but I wanted to make sure Suzi returned the earrings, so I went with her. We stayed at the bar for a while, looking around for the man who delivers what some girls refer to as “the goodies,” but he was nowhere to be seen and the VIP area was vacant.

 

“Guess I get to keep them,” Suzi cooed, removing the earrings from the box.

“Let’s go,” I suggested, hoping she’d agree.

“Ok, but only if I can spend the night in your room again? I don’t want anyone coming after me.”

“Oh, so you get it now.”

“Yes,” she said, looking coy. “You have to admit though, my new sparklies are simply dee vine. You can borrow them if you want.”

“No thanks and lucky for you, this is a short trip.”

 

Suzi is now strutting around the room, admiring the earrings every chance she gets. And she’s still singing with her headphones in, which means her pitch is much higher than it needs to be.

“Don’t you just love Dean Martin?”

I nodded yes.

“Something in my heart keeps saying, my someplace is here. Oh my God I love this song, it was my Dad’s favourite. Dontcha just love it?” she screeched.

I smiled.

“Hey! Karen!”

“What?” I mouthed.

“Let’s order tabbouleh and apple pie on room service. Do you want any anything?”

Peace and quiet, I wanted to say, but it came out as “Chocolate mousse.”

 

May 9th, 1990

May 9th, 1990

At home

Finally got my hair done (thanks, Trace!) dashed to the dentist, took my car in for a service then met with Mr. Brian at the Halifax, where I filled in about three hundred forms to apply for a mortgage!

Nice evening at home with mum and dad, who seem equally happy that I’m getting ready to start seriously looking for my first house. As much as I’d love to live in France, it’s not feasible at the moment. Maybe next time around!

Time to pack for the desert.

May 7th, 1990

May 7th, 1990

At home

Had to get up early for my annual gynecological check-up, which needless to say is not something I look forward to, especially since the first thing they make you do is step on the scale. I’m the least I’ve weighed in a long time (eight stone nine) but I’d probably be a few pounds lighter had I not made a glutton of myself with those buttery croissants yesterday (not to mention the Chips Ahoy cookies I brought home from LA!)

It poured all afternoon so I stayed home and got cozy in the phone chair.

“I can’t wait for our request trip,” Laney said. “Do you know it’s only two weeks from tomorrow?”

“Yes! A fortnight in Antigua with just one shuttle to operate. Where’s it to, again?”

“Saint Lucia and I heard the flight is full of sickly couples in love, mostly going to tie the knot.”

“Aw, that’s really sweet.”

“Ugh,” she groaned. “You’re just as bad as they are.”

“It’s nice to see people happy together.”

“You had better be careful or you’ll turn into one of them.”

“What’s so bad about being in love?” I asked.

“You end up hurt.”

“Hmm, you have a point but, I don’t know, I think it’s good to be open to new experiences.”

“I expect there’ll be plenty of experiences to be had in Antigua.”

“Like what?”

“Like whatever you want, we’re still single, you know.”

“I’m not interested in meeting guys, if that’s what you mean.”

“You say that now but…”

“I mean it. There’s only one person I’m interested in.”

“We should request a LA so I can meet this David character.”

“Uh,” I stuttered.

“What? You don’t want me to meet him?”

“Ehm, yeah of course but maybe not in his surroundings.”

“Why? Because you want him all to yourself?”

I didn’t like her tone of voice so I attempted to change the subject.

“Are you buying any new clothes for Antigua?”

“We’re still talking about LA,” she said sounding huffy. “And you need to explain why you don’t want to go there with me.”

Fourteen days on an island with Laney, now that should be interesting!

 

April 28th, 1990

April 28th, 1990

Night flight from KIN – LHR

What an eventful flight this is turning out to be, with one male passenger currently restrained!

I was in the galley when the curtain slid open and a passenger I’d spoken to during boarding, appeared.

“Sorry to disturb you,” she said in a whisper, “But I think there’s something going on back there.”

“Where?” I asked.

“In one of the toilets at the back,” she said, gesturing to the rear of the aircraft.  “I’ve been waiting outside for ages.”

“Did you see anyone go in?”

“No.”

“Ok, thank you for letting me know. I’ll go and take a look.”

I made my way to the rear of the aircraft, hoping I wasn’t about to disturb some romantic (have you seen how much space is in there? Not to mention the germs, ugh!) liaison between passengers hoping to become members of the Mile High Club.

Halfway down the aisle, I stopped in my tracks, when I saw a man, about thirty or so, crouched low to the ground, hopping towards me, making a sound I can only describe as a frog, croaking.

Fortunately, Alison, our purser, was on the other side of the cabin so I dinged the closest call bell several times and gestured, “Help! Now!”

A split second later, two male passengers shot out of their seats. One stood in front of the man and with the other behind him, they practically held him in place.

The man continued to croak and Alison instructed me to inform the CSD of “The issue at hand.” I couldn’t believe how calm she was, considering the man was now not only croaking loudly but speaking incoherently.

Someone else got to the CSD before me and he, along with the Captain came tearing into the economy cabin. Passengers get really nervous when they see the Captain in the cabin, you can almost hear the unspoken hush of, “Who’s up there flying the plane!”

It seems the man smuggled drugs onboard and had been partaking of such in the toilet, hence the hallucinations but more troubling was that they found him in possession of a knife which, needless to say, was promptly removed, “from his person.” If there’s an award for “Cabin Crew Staying Calm Under Pressure,” it will surely go to Alison!

Frog man is in cuffs and when we land at Heathrow, he’ll be met by the police.

 

April 27th, 1990

April 27th, 1990

Kingston, Jamaica

Met Julia and two of the fitties first thing for a quick breakfast before Morgan, our driver for the day, showed up to whisk us off to Ocho Rios.

It was just about a two-hour drive to reach Dunn’s River Falls, through tiny towns with not much in them. Along the way, people stopped and watched as Morgan wound his way through the makeshift roads, honking the horn, waving to everyone, laughing heartily at all kinds of banter, returning the same before honking the horn again and speeding up.

The waterfalls were absolutely stunning and reaching the top felt like a major achievement. Several people commented on how “crazy” we were to attempt such a thing in bare feet but the truth of the matter was that none of us had thought to bring footwear suitable for climbing on slippery rock!

Morgan chuckled when he heard we made it all the way and suggested we stop at his cousin’s bar on the way back to, “cell a brate.” About half an hour later, we pulled up to what looked like a garden shed, but was actually the bar! With only three drinks to choose from it didn’t take us long to decide what to have and within minutes, we were surrounded by kids whose smiles were infectious. Needless to say, neither of the two fitties had any sweets on them but I don’t go anywhere without sugar (!) so between the stash Julia and I had in our bags, we left the kids very happy!

Several rum swizzles later, we piled into the car and didn’t hold back when Morgan played his Bob Marley cassette. We sang “One Love,” at the top of our lungs and each time the song ended, one of us would shout; “Play it again, Morgan!” He cracked up laughing and rewound the cassette at least two dozen times before we pulled up outside the hotel.

Ah, Jamaica…“Let’s get together and feel alright.”

 

April 26th, 1990

April 26th, 1990

Kingston, Jamaica

Just rolled in from a really fun evening over at the Wyndham hotel, where, judging by my scribble, it appears I may have had a tad too much rum in the (how many?) delicious punch cocktails, served complete with umbrellas!

Julia rang first thing to ask if I wanted to meet her at the pool.

“I don’t usually do the pool thing.”

“Why not?”

“Eh, to be perfectly honest I hate how fat I am.”

“FAT?” She screamed. “Are you kidding? You’re not FAT!”

“Ouch! Thanks for bursting my eardrum!”

“If I hear you using the F word again, I will smack you.”

I laughed. “Please don’t do that.”

“Stop being ridiculous. Get your cozzie on and meet me at the pool.”

Anytime the majority of a Boeing 747 crew show up, it gets not only busy but extremely loud, especially in this case, as the day progressed and the cocktails began to take effect!
Several of the girls (the good variety, who drank only water) tried coaxing Julia and I into going to aerobics with them but there was no way I wanted to leave the comfort of my lounge chair to be screamed at by some obnoxious aerobics instructor.

Instead of jumping around like a lunatic, I came back to my room and took a lengthy nap before meeting up with Julia again, which is when we made our way to the Wyndham to meet the fitties.

No wonder those girls are so thin, they barely ate anything tonight. I wish I could be more like that but my love of food surpasses any such possibility and to be honest, I don’t want to be the girl who moves lettuce around her plate looking utterly miserable.

Having said that, I’d kill to wear a bikini with the kind of confidence the fitties displayed around the pool today.

 

April 24th, 1990

April 24th, 1990

At home

Second day in a row, where I had to be up at five in order to get to Heathrow in time for SEP, which today, covered my two least favourite things; Aviation Medicine, in particular the section on childbirth. And swimming drills!

Thanks to mum and the horror story of my descent into the world, I only have to hear the word “womb,” before I start feeling queasy and dizzy. With this in mind, I wore the biggest uniform blouse I have so I could “fan myself” when the instructor started talking about what to do in the event of someone going into labour midflight.

I was doing quite well, distracting myself by looking out the window, trying not to listen but I made the grave mistake of looking at the instructor just as she uttered, “Followed by the placenta.” I felt my head spin and I knew if I didn’t put my head between my knees, I’d keel over. There was no way to do it without being noticed (obviously!) so I just bent over and took several deep breaths.

“Are you alright, Karen?” Alice, the girl sitting next to me asked, placing her hand on my shoulder.

I sat up to see the entire room staring in my direction.

“Sorry,” I stuttered. “I just felt really hot for a minute but I’m ok now.”

“Are you sure?” the instructor asked, coming towards me.

“Yeah, I’m fine, sorry about that.”

“Ok everyone,” the instructor said. “Let’s take a ten-minute break.”

“Are you sure you’re ok?” she asked. “Some water, perhaps?”

“I’ll get some, thank you.  We’re all done with childbirth, right?”

“Yes,” she smiled. “Next up is heart attacks and epileptic fits.”

Ah, anything but childbirth!

The afternoon was spent in the pool, manipulating life rafts and such, all of which I rather enjoyed once I was finally in the water, after what felt like absolute terror, heading into the pool, surrounded by what I call, “The Glamour Girls,” who each weighed at least three stone less than I do!

Horrendous drive home in ridiculous traffic. I don’t know how people do that day in and day out for years on end. I’d be so miserable if I had to commute every day.

Went to Café Moonshine with Ben tonight and while we were eating, I took a good look at him from across the table. I think he looks pretty shitty at the moment, like he needs a good holiday or a diet of only fruit and vegetables for at least a month (meow!)

Then again, perhaps he always looks that way and I just haven’t noticed before. Or maybe all the chlorine I swallowed today, trying to “save the passengers” has improved my eyesight!