Mrs Sally King is double booked

Also, the Indonesian dive resort had a pink flamingo at the reception. I knew there would be trouble

By Henry King


“My wife really has a heart of gold,” I said to the air hostess of the Cathay Airways plane that was taking us from Macao to Denpasar.

“Sir, madam put the sushi into the coffee and gave it back to me,” said the air hostess. She was seething. This was a great loss of face.

“Yes, I know, I know,” I said soothingly. “She is an environmentalist. You should not have served her bluefin tuna in the sushi. It is an endangered species.”

I tell you, it is not easy being the husband of Sally King of Macao.


Our diving holiday had been in planning stage for eight months. My darling wife Mrs King likes to plan each step of the journey, right down to which side of the plane to sit and whether to take seats fore or aft. 

I’m not much of a swimmer, but Mrs King is a scuba diver. Each time she goes under, it’s like an admiral inspecting the fleet; she checks every anemone and coral, documenting all the changes from the last visit. I’m sure the reef fish parade before her. Word probably spreads among denizens of the reef when she’s sighted — “She’s here! Sally King is here! Time to migrate!”

Well, we finally reached our destination — Pemuteran Beach and Reef Seen, on the island of Bali, Indonesia. The resort had a strange name: Pink Water Resort. At the reception was a large pink welcome flamingo. Bad idea: the flamingo is an African bird. I knew Mrs King wouldn’t let it pass.

She strode up to the reception and said in the sweetest voice to the manager, “‘scuse me, what’s tha’ bird?”


“That’s a flamingo, ma’am,” the middle-aged Dutch manager said, never suspecting that he was slow-walking to his doom. When Sally puts on her sweet voice, that’s the worst news for anyone.

“I see,” she  said grimly. “You tellin’ me you got flaming flamingoes in Bali?”

Before he could answer, she started her inspection tour of the resort, the manager trailing her mumbling apologetically. I knew she was checking out the eco-friendly credentials of the place. She has a checklist. 

“Your hotel is made of what materials?” she asked. “Just the truth will do, okay? Lies don’t go down well with Sally King.”

“Well, bamboo, ma’am,” said the manager.

“An’ where do you get bamboo?” she demanded. “Plus that pillar look like cement an’ concrete to me.”

“The bamboo is local, ma’am,” said the manager. “Here’s your welcome drink, ma’am.” 

She stared at the pink sherbet in the tall glass. “An’ you think it’s a good idea to use plastic straws in the welcome drink?” she demanded.

“Well, we are very conscious —”

“Plastic is plastic, shame on you!” she said. “And do you have air-conditioners in rooms?”

“Every room is air-conditioned, ma’am. With remote —”

“Really?” She turned on him. “What’s wrong with open windows, mister? You think something’s wrong with fresh air?”

“Well, you can certainly keep the windows open if you like, ma’am, but the mosquitoes —”

“You tryin’ to scare me? You think Sally King is scared of mosquitoes?”

By now the manager had figured out that he was dealing with an eco-friendly duchess and was reeling off a list of his carbon credentials like rechargeable batteries, composting bins, recycling of used boat oil — and the fact that no trees were cut down to make this resort.

“All our furniture is made of old wood from boats,” he said proudly. 

“Ok, I’ll take it!” she said finally, and I let out a sigh of relief. “My name is Sally King. Show me my room!”

She handed him her booking confirmation. And that’s when all hell broke loose.


“I’m terribly sorry, ma’am,” said the manager, wringing his hands. “That room seems to already be booked to someone else.”

“So give Sally King another room, mister,” she said. 

“We’re fully booked,” he said miserably. “There are no rooms available.”

“You mean you’re fully double-booked, you greedy man!” she snapped.

“We can find you good rooms in another —”

She cut him short. “So that means you don’t use 1Day?”

“One day?” he repeated her blankly.

I decided it was time to intervene.

“1Day,” I explained kindly. “It’s the app all eco-friendly resorts use. You wouldn’t be in this situation if you’d been using 1Day.”

Sally King, meanwhile, had loaded her gun again and was ready to deliver her coup de grâce to the hapless manager. “What’s a pink African bird doing in an Indonesian beach resort anyway?” she asked. “Don’t you have any local wildlife?”

The manager stuttered. “We may have one or two birds . .  erm. . somewhere on the island.”

“Hey, don’t somewhere-on-the-island me about flamingoes, mister!” A good diving resort should have fish at the reception, not birds!”

‘What’s the name of that nice resort we stayed last time, honey?” she asked me. “It had a friendly turtle at the reception, remember?”

I sure did. “I think you mean the Blue Ocean Resort.”

“I remember that nice manager, Mr Michael, with his Tiga turtle. Let’s go there!” she said.

“Can’t, my dear. That Blue Ocean Resort is in a different coutry,” I said. “Oh, and it was Tuga the name of the turtle, not Tiga.” 

Mrs King looked disappointed. “Bummer!” she said. “Well, I think there’s another eco-friendly resort not far from here. Let’s go!”

And that’s how our eco-friendly diving holiday began.