After a lot of dithering and procrastination, Saffy recently agreed to go on a long weekend in Phuket with Bradley.
“It’s so boring!” she moaned as she packed her second carry-on. “I bet Kim Kardashian doesn’t do her own packing!”
“How long are you going for?” I asked as I watched her pack her seventh dress.
Saffy hesitated. “Two nights.”
“And where are you guys staying?”
“Some beach resort.”
“So why do you need to pack seven dresses?”
“Why do you need to be so annoying?” Saffy snapped.
By the time Saffy walked out the front door the next morning, she had added a medium-sized check-in to the two carry-ons. “I couldn’t decide what I needed, so I just packed everything!” she told Amanda.
“Very sensible,” said Amanda who still travels with big bottles of her toiletries simply because she still hasn’t come to grips with the concept of decanting into travel-sized containers. “Did you bring towels?”
Saffy paused, one foot already out the door. “You think I should?”
Amanda shrugged. “Well…I do, but…you know…it’s a hygiene thing for me…”
As it turned out, clean personal towels were the least of Saffy’s problems.
That Sunday night, she burst into the flat just as Amanda and I were settling down for an evening of mindless television.
“Hey, welcome b…” Amanda trailed off as she took in Saffy’s disheveled look and wildly spinning eyes.
“Something’s happened,” I whispered through the side of my mouth.
Saffy immediately dropped her luggage at the door and broke down into thick heaving sobs.
It was all very dramatic even by the standards of our little flat. Amanda leapt off the sofa and rushed over to embrace Saffy. It took a while but eventually we managed to piece together the story.
“The first night was so lovely,” Saffy reported, delicately dabbing her eyes. “We had a candle-lit dinner by the beach. We talked about our future. We went for a long walk on the beach. We kissed. You know, the usual beach stuff you do.”
Apparently, one thing led to another back in the hotel room. Saffy said it was easily the most romantic night of her life.
“Until I woke up the next morning scratching myself!” Saffy said, tears welling up again.
Amanda’s eyes turned to me and then swiveled back to Saffy. “Uhm…scratching where?”
“Down there!” Saffy whispered. She shifted in her seat.
As one, Amanda and I sat backwards in our chairs. I still didn’t have a clear idea of where this story was heading, but something in my head was trying urgently to attract my attention.
“What are you saying?” Amanda asked, though from the look in her eyes, you could tell her Harvard-trained mind had already reached a conclusion.
“Crabs! That’s what I’ve got. Crabs!” Saffy cried.
That was all I needed to hear. I leapt from my chair and ran out the front door leaving Amanda to hear the rest of the sorry tale.
It turned out that Bradley had gotten a really cheap deal at the hotel but what he didn’t know was that it was also the regular haunt for certain local ladies and their male friends whom they’d just met in the Australian bar next door. And apparently, housekeeping in this establishment wasn’t exactly up to the Ritz-Carlton standard.
“It wasn’t a towel I should have brought, it was my own bed-sheets!” Saffy cried. “Bradley’s got it too! We had to stop by the GP on our way to the airport to get medication! I can’t begin to tell you how itchy I am right now!”
Ever practical, Amanda has quarantined Saffy to the guest bathroom and guest bedroom. “We’re also burning all the clothes you brought to Phuket,” she said firmly, snapping on a pair of surgical gloves. “We might as well burn your luggage while we’re at it!”
“Please don’t tell anyone!” Saffy begged us as she picked up her phone to call Sharyn.
Sharyn was astonished. “Got such thing, meh?” she asked.
“The doctor says it may not have been the bed-sheets,” Saffy told her. “It was probably the toilet seat!”
“But I thought you always disinfect hotel toilet seat?”
“I do, but this time, I told Bradley to do it, but he now admits he didn’t, so really, this is all his fault!”
“Yah, you cannot trust a man to do anyting. If you want to do someting, hor, you must always do yourself!”
“Well, Amanda’s just booked me in for a full wax,” Saffy said grimly. “We’re not taking any chances!”
“Aiyoh,” Sharyn said. “How to eat crab from now on? Lagi, tonight, my husband want to eat chilli crab in East Coast!”
“It’s an itch, Sharyn, not a dish!”