Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Iranian Tourist Board

Gabby informed me last night that she’d liked to see more of the world.

‘I grow tired of UK,’ she said, clearly remaining at heart as much the roving vagabond as the day I found her sleeping in the doorway to Timothy Whites all those years ago. ‘Gabby wants adventure, to see old ruins, drive through mystical landscapes, be attacked by local bandits and return fire from back of Land Rover.’

‘So why not have a weekend in Pembroke?’ I suggested. It wasn't that I'm against these exotic holidays but I do fear for the size of carbon footprint Gabby’s wanderings would leave on the planet.

‘I want to go abroad,’ she said with a thick pout.

‘England?’

‘Abroad abroad.’ Now she stamped her foot and a bayonet slipped out of her trouser leg.

‘Okay,’ I said, ‘you want a holiday. Where would like to go?’

A sheepish look developed over in her quarter of the room. I could see that things were not wholly unplanned. There have been plenty of midnight phone calls between the Cheeky sisters and I thought I could detect the influence of the slightly more hair-brained Monica in this unexpected turn of events.

‘I been in contact with the Iranian Tourist Board,’ said Gabby. ‘They tell me Iran is exciting country full of fun activities.’

You can imagine my surprise.

‘Fun activities?’ I asked. ‘Such as what?’

‘They tell me I would be very welcome. They like athletic young women who enjoy rough and tumble, likes to throw stones, climb cranes.’

I cradled my head in my hands, my hands on my elbows, and, most reassuring of all, elbows on my thong. ‘Look,’ I said, ‘do you really think Iran is a country for you?’ I thought about that for a moment and decided to start again. ‘Of all the places in the world, don’t you think Iran is a bit dangerous, even for commandos who’ve had the best that Romania has to offer in combat training?’

She jumped up from the sofa and picked up her laptop, which she dumped before me. The screen was already loaded and I was looking at the website for the Iranian Tourist Board, complete with personal welcome from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

‘You know,’ I said after a few moments of careful consideration. ‘I’m not sure this website is entirely legitimate.’

‘It real,’ screamed Gabby. ‘It say so. It say Iranian Tourist Board.’

I waved down her complaint. ‘It’s not that I would every doubt the words of a man like Ahmadinejad but don’t you think it odd that the Iranian Tourist Board would have a website with the tag, “There’s More to Iran Than Missiles”? If you ask me, this isn’t entirely official.’

She snatched the laptop away from me. ‘But Gabby want to play stoning game with people.’

‘The stoning game is not a game,’ I said. ‘And that’s it, as far as I’m concerned. We’re not going to Iran. Don’t you get enough kicks torturing the innocent in your duties as a traffic warden?’

‘No,’ she said, simply. ‘No I do not.’

Half an hour later she comes crawling back, tapping on the door to my den.

‘Chippy,’ she said, her voice trailing sincerity like a slug trails slime.

‘Yes, Gabby,’ I sighed. ‘What is it now? Can’t you see that I’m busy curing these thongs with my mallet?’

‘I don’t want to go to Iran for holiday.’

‘I’m glad you see sense. Horrible place.’

‘We stay in UK instead.’

‘Fine idea.’

‘We got for week in Newcastle.’

The mallet hit my finger and I cursed a foul word. ‘Newcastle?’ I pushed the pile of new thongs aside and grabbed my own laptop. ‘You know,’ I said, ‘perhaps Iran isn’t that bad an idea. What did you say the address of the Iranian Tourist Board is again?’

1 comment:

Count James d'Estaing said...

You've managed to get Gabby under control then? Well done! What did you use as a sweetener?