Sunday, May 29, 2016

Rhonda Bombell

Rhonda Bombell

Ok. Back to the start of my 2 year trans continental trip. On arrival at Sydney airport it was quite a jolly affair. Remember this was mid 1980's when you could travel with your Swiss Army knife. In fact I remember bringing a WW 1 bayonet back from Frankfurt flea market on a flight into Stansted in those days !

The customs officer looked more like a Boy Scout to me....little khaki shorts with socks pulled up to his knee and held there by garters.

"GDay mate......not doing so well at the cricket" he chirped whilst glancing at my passport......

"Have a great stay" . Different world back then ,times have changed so much.

Lovely welcome ......but as I exited the terminal building I realised I was on my own again. I had nowhere to go and no idea where I was going. That lonely feeling was there again......what was I doing ......I could have been back in London having a great weekend with Lizzy with no stresses. I had one address.......it was of a friend of my sister. My sister was and still is generous to a fault and she had put up various Australian and NZ travellers for weeks on end over the years.

So I called Rosemary who had been a recipient of my sisters generous nature !

"Oh,oh, yes I suppose it will be ok....I will ask my parents" It came back as a reluctant positive so I made my way to their house......have no idea how I found it but I did. Very little to say about that really.......I don't mean to sound ungrateful but there was no warmth or friendliness or interest for you as a person......it was more .....ok I am returning a favour here but when are you going?

I stayed a day or two and in that short time managed to meet Peter Ford who was a wheeler dealer Estate agent  from Sydney's north shore who had somehow done a deal whereby he ended up with a container load of windsurfing boards. Peter knew nothing of windsurfing or windsurfing boards but that had not stopped him opening up a shop to try and get rid of them.

"Come in on Saturday and see if you can sell any "

So I did and I did. In fact I sold two boards that day. He knew I was the guy for him and asked me if I could come and help again. Perfect for both of us. Plus his shop was in Collaroy on the north shore of Sydney .......just a walk from Long Reef which was one of the best wave sailing spots in Australia. The only problem with it was the proliferation of tiger sharks patrolling it's waters. When you are sailing short boards ,they have no buoyancy and therefore you have to water start to get going again if you fall in.....when the wind drops this can involve kicking with one leg in the water to help the sail pull you up and away........sharks love these frantic movements in the water. However when you are young you think you are invincible !

Looks like I had a job......things were falling into place.....fantastic. There was only one problem......I had nowhere to live. It was time to move from Rosemary's ....thank goodness. I had no idea where to go ,so headed to central Sydney and the youth hostel. Not sure why.....but you are at a loss....it is not easy. Sitting waiting in the Youth Hostel once again made me realise how unsettled I still was ...."I could only rely on myself here. It was like the Cataraman moment.......don't panic...."

And then out of nowhere I heard the clippety clop of high heels . Immediately I reacted ( I was a hot blooded 24 year old male) . I can still remember the sight now after all these years. The peroxide mass of hair , the tight top, and further down skin tight leopard skin trousers with the high heels tottering below........it was an incredible package in perfect shape. I sort of pretended not to look as she draped herself over the reception counter

" Gday. My boyfriend has left and I need someone to help pay the rent. Do you know if someone might be interested?"

Even before she had finished the sentence my finger was in the air rather like a young lad putting his hand up to timidly answer a teachers question. She turned and looked at me ........she looked at me as a beautiful bird of prey would .......but I was happy to be the prey.

Within minutes we were out of the hostel and into her V6 Holden before heading out to the predominantly Greek area of Sydney's western suburbs.

"What is your name ?"I asked

"Rhonda Bombell"...............It was just perfect..........