Part Two

Singapore more than made up for any discomfort on the trip over. The sights, sounds and smells of Hong Kong had been a bit over the top for a kid who’d hardly been out of Texas, but Singapore was somehow different. Singapore was exotic elegance -- a fascinating amalgamation of old world and new. This honeymoon was my first experience with luxury hotels, since Dad’s idea of a great vacation always involved fishing and cabins. It was also my first introduction to bidets. Oh, I'd read about them of course, and knew what they were for, but nowhere did it say you must be seated before turning on the spigot, not leaning with your face over the bowl!

At one point John had lived in the Singapore Hilton for a few months, so that’s where he had booked us. Now, picture this little girl from Texas walking through the front doors of this gorgeous hotel, and suddenly being surrounded by people who are saying, “Welcome back Mr. Lane! So happy to meet you at last Mrs. Lane. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to make your stay more enjoyable.” When we reached our room we found fresh flowers, fruit and champagne awaiting us. A girl could get used to that kind of treatment, though I never did. I loved everything about our stay, from afternoon tea at the Raffles Hotel to night markets on Bugis Street, and from Chinese feasts at Bamboo House to flaming dishes prepared table-side at the Harbor Grill. Alas, all good things must come to an end, and a few days later we headed off on the last leg of our journey.

We were met at the Jakarta airport by a Brown & Root driver with a well-worn VW van, and were joined by several other men who were headed out to the fabrication yard. My first impression of Jakarta (which has never been dispelled) was of wall-to-wall people and a thousand beeping horns. Though our destination was only about sixty miles away, the roads were so potted, congested, and winding that the trip took hours. Because there was no air conditioner, our fellow passengers opened the sliding doors on both sides of the van, and I held on for dear life, afraid of bouncing out. Before long, the nausea was back, and I slumped onto John’s shoulder, doing my best not to whimper. The crazy drivers and lack of doors turned out to be a blessing in the end. Since I had to concentrate just to stay in my seat (no seat belts, of course), it distracted me from the nausea, and I was able to make it all the way to the yard without embarrassing myself. That was to come later. I was fairly wrung out though, and I’m sure all I wanted in the world was a nice hot shower and a soft bed, which, in hindsight, is pret-ty dang funny.

At last we reached the fabrication yard, and were able to stumble out of the van. As I stood there, feeling more than a bit bedraggled, several grinning guys came barreling down the steps of the two-story metal office building. There was a flurry of hugs and introductions, then they gathered round expectantly, as if waiting for us to do something. Finally I noticed that a few were darting glances over their shoulders, so my eyes followed theirs. John let out a huge guffaw, but my eyes grew big as saucers and my cheeks turned bright red. “Oh no, John. You didn’t!” There, draped across the upper half of the building, was a huge sign that read “Welcome Home Becky and Fuzznuts.” You see, there were three daughters in my family, and rather than keep up with the names of every guy we went out with, Dad called all of them Fuzznuts -- as in “What’s new with Ol’ Fuzznuts?” I made the mistake of telling John his nickname once, and now, it would seem, the whole world knew! Finally I decided, well, OK, maybe it was kind of funny, and a little snort slipped out. Next thing I knew, I was bent over double, imagining how my parents were going to react when I told them of Dad's infamy...(to be continued)
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Reviewed by juragan asem
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Rating : 4.5