I have told you about the Court Martial, now I would like to tell you what it was like in this strange but beautiful country. One hundred and twenty degrees in the shade to start with.
There was a lovely swimming pool in the complex, it was so inviting it made you want to jump or dive in. Unfortunately you were unable to walk casually to the poolside because it felt as though your feet was on fire. Diving in and making a big splash was so tempting but “all that glitters is not gold”. Once you were in the water you just had to get out, imagine the heat it was overwhelming to say the least.
Getting used to our billet and sleeping in our bunk beds was something else, the ceilings or roofs were made off corrugated asbestos. I knew what it was because I had worked with the same sheets when I did my apprenticeship as a joiner at home in civy street.
The wildlife and insects that were around us was awesome, Lizards were the main ones, you would see them crawling along the corrugated ceilings high above our beds. They were very clever and they would edge themselves along the corrugated sheets where an insect or beetle would be in the slot near or next to it. The lizard would then pounce on the unsuspecting insect or beetle and depending on how big it was they would fall onto our bed. How often they landed on our beds during the night-time “God only knows”. If there were a few beasts on the ceilings at night we wouldn’t sleep much, but in the end we got used to them and the situation and after a while it became second nature to just snooze off.
The best bit was the bed bugs, one night I was sweating in bed quite a lot, the lights were out and I happened to rub what I thought was sweat off my chest. Oddly after dabbing my chest I thought that it was a little bit wetter than normal, so I decided to switch the bed light on and to my horror I had mistakenly crushed five or six bed bugs on my chest that had been quietly filling up their bodies with my blood.
Needless to say I couldn’t get back to sleep that night. What we used to do was put an empty tin can that we half filled with tap water and fitted them on the bottom of the metal legs of our beds. We would empty the tin cans on a daily basis, often they would be filled to the top with parasites, you name it they would be there mostly, “dead as a dodo”. In my opinion the tins did a good job but for them…. what would we have done!