Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Shaved Reckless Boys

Jacques’ friend, John had had all his hair shaved off for an office dare. Jacques said he would like to see how it felt, just once while he could in tropical Malaysia. One Friday he went and had all his hair shaved off too, without telling me. I hated it. To really rub salt in the wound Marc begged to have the same haircut and Jacques took him to Little India on Saturday for the same crop. I was furious, especially the next day at school when French mothers asked me whether he had had a particularly bad attack of head lice….

The May school holiday trip to the Perhentian Islands trip was a few days later. Jacques taught the kids to snorkel and we swam with sharks and turtles. We asked ourselves why had we wasted so many long weekends doing nothing in KL when we could have come snorkeling. And the funniest thing, Jacques and Marc both had matching sunburnt heads….since you can’t snorkel in a hat. That will teach those daft boys I thought.

A couple of days later we flew to Borneo for the second part of the holiday. Jacques and Marc were still keen to climb Mount Kinibalu. The obligatory huts were all booked up, but they scored a last-minute place in mountain hut. Within ten minutes they were off up the mountain, dressed for summer and sharing a rucksack with only a light change of clothes. I spent a restless night wondering about their whereabouts as a tropical storm raged. They finally rolled in the next day, battered, exhausted and aching everywhere, totally unprepared for a hike like that. Marc had very nearly reached the summit, but gave up suffering from lack of air, a stomach bug and intense tiredness. They had bought matching wool balaclavas (for their chilly heads) gloves and barely slept all night.

On the last night in Borneo Nina was chosen to be the Sarawak Princess for the night, along with a girl she had met on holiday. Dressed up in the black national costume she was carried to the beach and treated to a dance by a local group.

The boys and Nina had all had fun and it was an unforgettable experience, and we all agreed that they would never have done it if we were not leaving Malaysia…

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