James and the Dragon

5 08 2013


My annual summer holiday is fast approaching and I am very excited.

I was thinking back to my first foreign holiday with FFOMC which seems an eternity ago. This holiday was in many respects rubbish – an 18-30’s holiday in Ibiza is not really the best match for a couples first ever romantic retreat, despite what the travel agent thought – but it did provide us with the best summer holiday story ever.

We were only 21 years old and a bit naive.

At the welcome meeting on day one we bought a great value package that included club tickets for most nights of our holiday, a day at a water park, mini music festival, boat trip and various events with food, drinks and entertainment all included. It was exceptional value for money but it was not cheap.

We ran out of money on day three.

Following a lengthy and panicked conversation with my bank back in the UK, I managed to arrange a temporary extension to my overdraft and we secured sufficient funds to last us the fortnight. A celebration was in order. We had a lovely meal at our hotel and started to feel much more relaxed knowing we had enough money to eat during our stay. This meal was accompanied by several jugs of Sangria. Unfortunately a combination of the stress and A LOT of alcohol in a short space of time left me feeling very fuzzy and FFOMC escorted me back to our room, tucked me up in bed and said he was going to return to the bar to finish the Sangria rather than waste it. This was at about 11pm.

When I woke up in the early hours of the morning – he had not returned.

I panicked.

The main town was about 20mins in one direction but we also had tickets that night for a club at least 20mins in the opposite direction. FFOMC had nothing with him to link him to me or even the hotel where we were staying. There was no point in going out to look for him having no idea where he had gone and I spent an anxious few hours just watching the clock and praying that he got back safely.

It was after 7am when he finally staggered back into our hotel room. He was not steady on his legs and had a large cut across his cheek and ear lobe.

The flood of pure relief coursing through my body evaporated as he collapsed onto the bed, raised his arms towards me and cried out “Snuggles“.

I saw red and proceeded to yell at him for the next 10mins, outlining my outrage at his selfishness, my concern for his well being and my anger at his negligence.

When I eventually ran out of breath with tears streaming from my bloodshot eyes, he looked at me in confusion and quizzically enquired “No Snuggles?”

Needless to say this started the whole process all over again.

When I woke him up to take me shopping in the full glare of the midday sun I discovered that his pockets were weighed down with coins and I gradually started to piece together the events of his evening.

When he had finished the sangria he decided to take a little trip into town stopping at the rodeo bar for some budget vodka and red bulls, as there was a buy one get one free offer available. When he became bored he made his way towards the main town. As he passed the beach he was mesmerised when he saw a collection of sand sculptures. Some of the local guys spent their evenings creating amazing sand dragons and made their money from donations left by tourists when they took photographs. The dragons were extremely detailed and the artists even used lighter fluid and tea lights to create the impression that the dragon’s eyes glowed red and they breathed fire.

FFOMC asked one artist how he went about creating his impressive sand dragon. A little van selling cheap bottled beer, evidently provided some lubrication and FFOMC quickly learnt the tricks of the trade.

As the tourists started to leave the nightclubs the artist was totally inebriated and started to wobble home, requesting only that FFOMC kick in the sand dragons head so that photographs taken by any drunken tourists were of no value.

FFOMC protested saying that he could not possibly damage such a fabulous work of art but the drunken artist took no notice.

It was then that FFOMC was approached by tourists who asked “How did you make that?”

He assures me that he protested with the first few passersby explaining that the sand dragon was not his own work. But as the questions kept coming, he removed his shirt, placed it by his side with some loose change on top of it and started to repeat word for word what the artist had told him.

When he eventually decided to return to the hotel as the sun started to rise and his passing trade dried up he fell into a barbed wire fence cutting his cheek and ear.

Judging by the number of coins I discovered in his pockets – he made a lot of money that night but I dread to think what he spent. He became a bit of a holiday legend with all of the reps repeating his story in the coaches on various day trips to entertain our fellow travellers.

We have had much less drama on subsequent holidays and I hope to continue this trend in the Dominican Republic. But the story of James and the Dragon will always be part of our shared history and will no doubt be a witty anecdote to tell at dinner parties for many years to come.




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