The Purse Nanny

Hey fellow bloggers!!!  It’s been a while since I’ve posted and for that I’m so sorry.  I’ve been in the process of moving and starting a new job.  Stress Stress Stress!!!  In the process of packing everything I came across old photo albums, back when you used to get your photos developed and put them all in a book. One of the albums was a trip I took to Aruba with one of my girlfriends from work.

I was recently divorced from husband #2 (more on that in a future post) who hated to travel. All of my trips had been either alone or with girlfriends.  This particular girlfriend, Abigale, and I had already been on a trip together with another friend so I knew we were compatible travel buddies even though we viewed traveling from opposite ends of the spectrum.

Now, what you need to know about Abby is that she had a similar kind of upbringing as me…worked her way through school, had been married once and divorced before we started working together.  But she was also the opposite of me in that she worried about EVERYTHING! She trusted no one. The first thing I had to do was assure her that it was safe to go to Aruba.  Mind you, in 2005 was when high school student, Natalee Holloway, went missing while on a graduation trip to Aruba.  When Abby expressed her concerns for our safety based on that incident I reminded her that Ms. Holloway was a teenage girl who reportedly left alone with a local Dutch man and two other local men. We, however, were in our 30s, no one would really want us and if they took us they would probably bring us right back. Besides that, we would not leave each other especially to go off with any guys as we were way more responsible than that and neither of us looking for a “hook up”. I also pointed out that we were staying at an all-inclusive resort and that we didn’t even have to leave if we didn’t want to.  This was enough to convince her to go.

When we arrived to the resort the first night, it was too late to get dinner at any of the restaurants or the buffet.  We were told we could go to the sports bar and have “snacks”.  “Snacks” consisted of hot dogs and popcorn washed down with vodka sodas.  It wasn’t long before {Cue suspenseful music from Jaws} some guy sat next to us and started a conversation.  You know, the typical stuff “where are you girls from?” “when did you get here?” etc.  When he realized we had just arrived he went on to give us “tips” about the place and things we should do including telling us where we could score some good drugs!  I asked “what makes you so comfortable to tell us where to score drugs?” His face changed a little and he replied “I don’t know, you seemed like you like to party.”  “Not sure what gave you that idea but maybe you don’t want to offer up that kind of information when you first meet someone.”  Abby then asked him “So, are you on vacation all by yourself?”  The guy looked down at his drink and replied “No, my girlfriend is up in our room.”  “Hmmm, interesting” Abby replied with her big blue eyes wide open.  He didn’t talk to us much longer.

Our goal for this vacation was to relax and come back to Chicago with tanned glowing skin.  Apparently, Aruba is the windsurf capitol of the world with its reliable trade winds year round.  Great for windsurfing, not so great for laying on the beach to get a tan.  After about 15-20 minutes of non-stop blowing sand we had received a total body exfoliation so we packed up our things and went back to the safety of the pool.  Our beach vacation had become a pool vacation with a beautiful beach in the background.

One of the great things about all-inclusive resorts are the swim-up bars and endless liquid refreshments.  We sat at the bar, talked to the bartender…..ie Abby grilled him about where the liquor came from, if the water was safe to drink, was the ice made from the same water, could we get sick from drinking the water, was it filtered, how often were the machines taken apart and washed, ….  There was a young man, maybe in his late 20s sitting just around the corner of the bar.  He was attractive, in shape, dark hair, light skin.  He had what we would call a European look or the “I’m on vacation and don’t give a shit look”….hair a little greasy, hadn’t shaved in a couple days, and smoking non-stop. Once he started talking to us Abby asked where he was from referring to his accent.  {Cue music from Jaws}. “I’m from the Netherlands”, he answered.  I could see the panic flash across her face but she said nothing.   Of course, later she expressed her fear of him because he was Dutch….”just like the guy who was charged with the murder of….”  I then explained that Aruba is actually a Dutch island so it would not be surprising that Dutch people come there on vacation.  However, we did both notice the very nice purse he had with him.  Not a man-bag, a PURSE!  We both had theories about the purse, mine included him being gay or a crossdresser and Abby’s included him taking the purse as a trophy from the female he had just kidnapped and killed.

After dinner that night we moved outside to the bar that was open late in the gardens near the pool.  There was one man sitting there having a drink.  {Cue suspenseful music from Jaws} Once we sat, he struck up conversation and we realized he had had way more than just one drink.  He was slurring his speech as he tried asking us “where are you girls from?”  We told him we were from Chicago.  He told us he was from Canada and was a police officer.  Abby asked him her signature question “Are you here on vacation all alone?”  “No!…My wife is up in our room.  She had enough of me today!”  We looked at each other with that knowing look that says “I can see why!”  He was really drunk.  He then asked what we did for a living.  We had agreed we wouldn’t tell anyone that we were physicians.  (More on that later)  I told him I worked at Hooters.  He paused but had nothing to say to that.  He then looked at Abby and asked her what she did.  She took a moment, looked down at her chest, looked at my chest, and then looked back at the man and said with a very straight face “I work at Panera Bread”.  I had to bite my tongue not to laugh.

The next day Abby had scheduled a massage in the afternoon so we went to the bar to have a drink before her appointment.  We had just ordered mojitos and then, low and behold, {Cue music from Jaws again} here comes the Dutch man with a different but just as nice purse.  He sat near us, ordered a drink and offered us a cigarette.   Abby couldn’t hold back any longer and complimented his purse collection.  He laughed and told us they were his mother’s.  We were thinking the same thing – it was his wife’s or girlfriend’s and he didn’t want to say he was there with someone.  Soon it was time for Abby to go to her appointment and she asked if I would be okay if she left.  She was worried about leaving me alone with “the Dutch man” whom we had nicknamed the Purse Nanny.  I assured her I would not leave and would either be right there at the bar or over in one of the lounge chairs.  Purse nanny and I ordered another round of mojitos.  The bartender then suggested (in a deep voice with a sort of Jamaican accent)  “you try mojito cubano….you like”.

I suppose I liked them A LOT!  I kept having more and really don’t remember much after the second one except waiting for Abby to come back from her massage.  When I did see her, I left purse nanny at the bar and met her by the lounge chairs.  The rest of the story she told me because I don’t remember any of it. Apparently I was standing by the chair and she asked “Just how many drinks did you have?!?”  I held up seven fingers but said “Six! Six! Six!” and promptly fell onto the chair and passed out.   Abby sat protectively in the next chair reading magazines while I slept it off.  She told me the purse nanny swam up to the side of the pool near us and asked if he could take me up to my room.  She sternly shook her first finger back and forth like a grade school teacher and said “no no no”.  She said he kept swimming circles in the pool like a shark and each time he approached she just shook her finger again and he would promptly leave.

I woke up as the sun was starting to set just in time to prepare for dinner.

We arrived at the restaurant and were seated next to an interesting couple, an older man with a much younger man.  The young man looked like a teenager though he was probably in his 20s, very fit, very tan, and adorned with all kinds of D&G bling, rings, necklaces, bracelets, belt buckle, etc.  The older man was dressed smart and fashionably.  We had barely been there long enough to get water when the older man lit up a cigarette.  Quickly someone from the restaurant came and told him smoking was not allowed.  He obliged and put the cigarette out and then noticed Abby and I watching the incident.  We asked where they were from and he told us they were from France where it was quite common to smoke in restaurants. Abby asked how they were enjoying their vacation. She opened a can of worms! The older man started ranting (in a very heavy French accent) “the Americans are so loud! All night long SLAM SLAM the door!!!” He didn’t hold it against us that we were also Americans and even requested photos of the four of us together. (This was before smart phones so you really had to use a camera and take a photo) The older man told us he would post the photos at his discotheque in the south of France. Later Abby told me she didn’t know if she wanted her photo up in a club. She has always been very private. She doesn’t like her photos anywhere or her name or number given to anyone. She doesn’t even have a Facebook account! You might think she was in the witness protection plan by how private, almost to the point of paranoia, she is. I assured her that no one would know or recognize us….unless she had been spending time in Europe that I didn’t know about.

As the week drew to a close, we did finally see the purse nanny with an older woman who could be his mother, though we didn’t recognize the purse she was carrying. We even got a photo with him before we left. We said Au revoir to the French men who gave us business cards and invited us to the discotheque if we were ever in Nice. We made it back to Chicago without being kidnapped or killed.

To this day Abby and I still laugh about the purse nanny and I can’t see or hear about Panera Bread without remembering Abby looking down at her not-so-endowed chest.

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