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‘This one time…’ travel series

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Nan and her maid

Welcome back to my new series, “This one time…” If you are new to the series then you can read the first episode here, which is all about the most embarrassing moment of my life that took place at Yosemite National Park, California. In this series, I hope to write as many comical and/or inspirational travel stories as I can. If you are interested in me writing up one of your stories then please, be sure to contact me and I can give you further details on the plans I have for this series.

Today’s story is inspired by my amazing and inspirational nan who – when she was just nineteen – travelled all the way from rainy England to the other side of the world with her husband. She stayed for two years because her husband was in the army and in that time it sounds like she was living the dream. Swimming in the morning and the beach in the afternoon – what more could you ask for?

Back in the day, it was custom that once you had found your man and got married than a baby would usually follow. Pamela was 19 years old living in Paradise, what a better time to ask for a baby? Living in army quarters she had an amazing housewife who took care of everything. The heat was unbearable for an English girl living in George Town and so Pam spent the majority of her time swimming and taking trips to the beach.

The other side of the world from her family, she soon began to become friendly with the maid, whom everyone called Nora although Pam suspect that was an English name they assigned her. Unfortunately, this friendship was challenging due to the fact that Nora’s English was limited and English was the only language that Pam spoke. Pam tried to show her gratitude by attempting to help her with the housework but she was pulled away all too often.

One of the unique quirky behaviours that the maid adopted was that every day she would always hand Pam a banana to eat throughout the day. When this first happened she was amazed at just how tiny the fruit was, they didn’t get them like that back in England. She thought nothing of it, perhaps it was what was grown out here.

In 1966 England won the football World Cup for the first time. It was a joyous occasion and all the Brits living out in Malaysia were over the moon. Everyone had a spring in their step. Not long after this triumph Pam happened to grab her neighbour who spoke both languages to ask her maid why the bananas were so small. It turns out it is an old wives tale for the locals that eating a tiny banana a day will help a woman fall pregnant.

Pam laughed at this and found it the sweetest of gestures. Of course, she was in no rush to have a baby but she was happy regardless. From then on, every time the maid would hand Pam a banana she would express that it was for the baby, usually by rubbing her tummy and articulating ‘baby’.

With no success, Pam left the Borneo jungle with only her husband. She came back to living a life full of housework and little money. Being back in England wasn’t quite the two year holiday like it was in Penang. It was just then, when she was drowning underneath a pile of laundry, that she discovered she was expecting.

“I guess the banana’s worked after all”, she smiled.

My beautiful Nan

 

 

Hello and welcome to episode three of the series ‘This One Time…’ If you’re unfamiliar with the series, every week a new travel related story will be posted either by me or a guest. In episode one I told the story of a time in Yosemite National Park when I almost had an encounter with a bear. This weeks story is all about This One Time in San Francisco when I had a very confusing room mate in my hostel. If you would like to keep up to date with this series then make sure to subscribe to my blog and if you would like to write for this series then be sure to email me at contact@earthtoconnie.com I welcome anyone with an interesting travel story to tell!

It was my last night in the United States, after three months of travelling and working on a Girl Scouts summer camp. The whole experience was more than anything I could’ve dreamed off. Being a lifeguard, tanning in the sun all day, was one of the greatest Jobs I had ever had. To top it all off, road tripping round California, Arizona and Nevada was phenomenal. A real dream come true.

But with everything in life, it was exhausting. The last couple of days I spent in San Francisco, I felt as if I was just waiting for my flight home. Of course, I saw the sights, spied on some sea lions at pier 39, but I was longing for that moment at Heathrow where I could just run into my mums arms. I was staying in a hostel close to Union Square. In a female dorm room, it was just me and this other girl, and for the most part something about this girl felt off to me. She never left the room, not once.

We avoided speaking, and she always preferred the lights off. So when I was escaping the lair at 7am I quite literally got dressed in the dark. I could feel her beady eyes upon me when her alarm startled me each morning. Was she judging me for waking up? I guess it’s safe to assume that this girl really

intimidated me. I kept my self to myself because I found I was quite weary of her. Not in the way that I felt unsafe, in the way that I felt awkward.

Anyway, I was only in San Fran for five days. The whole experience was bearable until 5 hours before my scheduled departure. Never had I ever felt my heart stop until that moment. Never had I ever felt real fear before. More importantly, never have I ever been so lost for words that I just ran. Ran to the bathroom, ran to reception, ran back to England…

When I had arrived that evening to my surprise she wasn’t in my room and her bag was sprawled open on her bed as if she had been packing to leave. I thought, this is great, my own private room for the last night of my travels. I could sleep for an extra hour knowing that her alarm and piercing eyes would not disturb me. I don’t remember much else, I think I fell asleep still in my clothes, no cover over me. All I can recall is the disorientation and possible hallucination that beheld me when I next awoke.

In early September, the heat was still unbearable. Your clothes clung to your skin and there’s almost no comfortable position to sleep in. The hostel’s air con was merely a fan that blew out warm air and I couldn’t remember how much water I had drunk the day before. When I awoke it was the middle of the night. My eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness and I noticed that the bed next to me was empty. Not a single item of clothing left in sight. She must’ve left.

I closed my eyes for a second and in the next, slowly from the floor she rose. She had been sleeping on the floor next to me and as she rose I gasped. In slow motion she turned her head and those beady eyes stared right into my soul. I jumped up onto my bed and shrieked. Somehow, she managed to lie back to sleep – if my shriek didn’t manage to wake her up I’m not sure what would’ve. I had bigger concerns, as I jumped upright I had forgotten that I was asleep on a bottom bunk. I swear I almost gave me concussion, but thank god for that because that was the only way I managed to fall back to sleep.

It doesn’t sound like much but picture this. You’re still half asleep and the moment you open your eyes there is just a face directly in front of you! Staring directly into your eyes – that’s enough to send anyone home on an early flight.

The strangest part of this whole experience was the fact that when I awoke, she and her bags were no where to be seen. Did I hallucinate her last night? Was she even a guest at all? I guess I’ve learned one thing from this whole experience. Drink your water! Being dehydrated can do funny things to the brain…

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Hello, and welcome to my first ever blogging series called, “This one time”. In this series, I plan to write a collection of posts full of different travel related stories. I promise you these will all be real accounts of my adventures, however, what I can not promise you is that they will be published once a week. It’s me. As extremely sarcastic and annoying I am, I do not hold the talent of being organised, and so, this time next week I’ll probably be munching away at some popcorn at the cinema forgetting I had even starting this series. I promise you I’m a good blogger sometimes.

Anyway, this weeks story is all about this one time I was at Yosemite National Park and I had a close encounter with a bear. That’s right, a bear! My inner Bear Grylls was summoned and if you would like to find out just how much I embarrassed myself then read on…