You Never Know Who You Meet On Holiday

Over forty years ago I was on holiday in Manama, Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. On this day I took myself off to a beach I had heard about where westerners could bath and swim without upsetting the residents of the island. I got out of the car with my 4 year old son and we walked across the sand till we reached what looked to be a very expensive villa on the ocean. Outside there were a few tables with umbrellas and chairs. I must admit it looked very inviting. A man seemingly appeared out of nowhere. He was my height, a little on the plump side and appropriately dressed in middle eastern clothing with the headress thingo (excuse my technical words!) He said hello, in this wonderful English accent, and introduced himself as Issa. I responded, finding it a little bit difficult as he had one eye that looked in one direction and the other eye in another direction, telling him that he had a wonderful English accent.

He then said that he had attended Oxford University. He asked me if I had any other children, to which I replied "no", and he informed me that he had nine children and then said "but, there again I have 3 wives". We both had quite a chuckle. He then offered me fresh orange juice or Bird's Eye Arctic roll, both being popular in europe in the 70's. I was feeling a little uncomfortable, being a single white female in a remote part of the island and because this was only a few day after Faisal had been murdered in the middle east, so I declined politely and took my leave.

The next day when sending postcards to friends and family I bought some stamps from the Post Office in Manama and after I had licked the first stamp and was sticking it to the first postcard I recognised the face and the eyes that looked in different directions. King Issa of Bahrain.

The really strangest part of the story is that not so many years later I was watching an Australian game show in which a young boy was participating. There was the possibility of winning much money and his mother was sitting in the audience. He had eyes that looked in different directions but a sharp brain. Half way through the show the host was speaking to the mother remarking about the young boy's ability and I can't remember why but she told the host that she had spent some time in Bahrain and that she had met King Issa. I looked at the boy, said nothing but it left me with many unanswered questions.

The universe not content with only two instances sent me a friend about 7 years ago whose parent worked for King Isa and I discovered that this expensive villa was in fact Issa's summer palace.

You just never know.
syvreta syvreta
Dec 10, 2012