I flew into Afghanistan on my twenty fourth birthday. Huzzah! Happy birthday Mrs Accident!
However, after seven months of a high altitude Afghan winter, spent shuffling between freezing shipping containers on a building site, full of broken sleep (damn rocket attacks) and unfamiliar Dutch food (rollmops with horse meat and cabbage slop, anyone?) it was time to head home. The only problem was, I may have been twenty four, but I now looked at least thirty. I was far from glowing.
So, when we hit the bright lights of the American base in Kuwait, I booked myself in for a facial. It was my first ever. I wanted to arrive back home in Australia looking pampered and restful. I was aiming to look like I had spent seven months on a cruise in the South Pacific.
A facial in Kuwait, you say? Sure, why not...
The girls at the tin hut of a "beauty centre" were all Vietnamese expats, flown in to Kuwait to live for a year with the sole purpose of supplying a hair and beauty service to the base. English was not a prerequisite. Still, I managed to exain what I needed and they fitted me in as the last appointment for the day.
They probably freaked out when they saw me. They probably cancelled their summer plans. I do know they took took to my face with something resembling an icepick.
Since it was my first facial I was kind of hoping for some ambience, but being extracted is just not restful. But that's ok, you experienced facial-ers say, because after the exaction comes the creams, right? Sure, that was restful. Well, it would have been, except my lovely therapist and her friends had a massive crush on Robbie Williams. They also had a giant video screen in the waiting room, cranking out his greatest karaoke hits. In Vietnamese. Which they sang along to. WHILE VACUUMING. Oh, the ambience!
I should mention here that I had snuck away from my platoon to get this facial. Not as bad as it sounds, I was the boss, I just didn't want my boys to know. They would think I had gone soft. However, I didn't count on their protective attitude, or their reliance on me during touch footy matches. They had been invited to play a scratch match, and started to look for me to play, too. When they couldn't find me in the usual haunts (mmm, I love that Timmy Horton's) they freaked out, branched out, and started to sector search the camp.
And they found me. I had my face lathered in green goop, my hair pulled back in a towel wrap, and cucumbers on my eyes. I didn't hear them come in over the sound of Vietnamese Robbie Williams. One cucumber circle was gently lifted up, and I found myself staring into the wondering eyes of my lads. "Boss? Umm.... Are you.... Okay? Cause.... Ummm... We're going to play touch footy, if you want to come too?"
I did. I left, grabbing a cloth to scrub my face on the way.
So that is the story of my first facial, Kuwait style. (And we won the footy game, too.)