They had told
themselves that they would leave before the crack of dawn.
"It'll be more comfortable traveling in the cool morning." they
They got up at five
as planned, when their trusty alarm clock clanged with what
seemed enough noise to wake the dead. Hardly able to keep their
eyes open, they stumbled to the bathroom and then groggily
changed into their travel clothes.
Things seemed to be
working fine. They were only about twenty minutes behind
schedule. The first sign of the problems to follow, however,
soon appeared. Hassan came in with a gloomy face.
"Can't start the
stupid car !" he said. "One day I'm going to get rid of that
rusty tin can."
Sharul went out to
see if she could persuade the car to start. She turned the
switch. It coughed once, twice and again. She tried again. A
little sputter. She pressed the accelerator a few times, then
the clutch a few times, experimenting. She turned the switch
again. Sputter, sputter and then a soft purr.
It's started. Come
on, Hassan ! " she shouted.
Hassan came running out, banged the door and got into the car.
They zoomed off.
Then. "Did you put in the bags ?" he asked.
Back to the house again with sullen expressions. As he kept the
engine running. Sharul rushed to the door, and then came rushing
"The keys," she said.
"Where are yours ?"
"Left inside my handbag."
She rushed back to the house before he could think of an
"Marvellous !" he muttered to himself. "A wonderful start to a
relaxing day ! Beautiful !"