September 12th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Val (already getting into role) and Chris in uniform

Woke up wondering how on earth I’d made the nightmare journey across to the pontoon in my drunken state.  Of course I hadn’t – I was still on Ganesh.  Surprisingly, I didn’t feel too bad, so I got up.  Only the Princess + I were up – I don’t know where she gets her energy from, since she’s gone to bed at the same time as the others, about 4.00.  Made coffee, + gradually were joined by the others.  Princess tried to persuade Gavin to stay, but he was pretty determined to push off, since they had to meet the owner in Fiji, + wanted to visit a few other places first.  Val + I had an appointment to keep too, with the film team, so we said thanks + goodbye, + left.  The Princess seems to have made some sort of arrangement to meet Ganesh for Christmas in Auckland, + invited us along too.  I’m not at all sure we’ll bother, tho’ I’m sure it would be nice.  It’s always good to have a number of options open.

Weather was pretty foul, but we managed to hitch-hike out to the Rarotonga with 3 or 4 lifts, + arrived in plenty of time.  The film crew had flown out about 100 Kiwis (people, not birds) who were all very thin + had shaven heads, to act as the main extras, but they needed quite a lot of others as well, so there were a lot of people milling around.  We were all ushered into a huge conference room first of all, + told something about the film by one of the assistant directors.  Apparently, the film, called “Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence”, was a joint Japanese/New Zealand production, splitting crew, actors, everything, + along with Bowie, was also starring Tom Conti, Jack Thompson, + 2 famous Japanese actors.  We were then ushered out, + told to file thro’ slowly, so that we could be issued with uniforms.  Kiwis first, we were told (we were to hear this a lot during the next few days – I should explain that I am about 10 days behind with this diary, so have to dredge my silted memory.)  I didn’t have any trouble at all getting a job, being white with shortish hair, but Val was told they’d already agreed to take as many women as they could handle.  Still, she hung round, hoping something might turn up.  Various tatty uniforms were handed over as we processed around the room.  They decided I was skinny enough merely to be equipped with a pair of khaki trousers.  When I was finished, Val was still hanging around, so I sat down + waited.  It was over an hour before she finally re-appeared with a big grin on her mush + clutching a bag with her uniform in it.  She’d pestered the life out of the bloke + told him she’d get her hair cut, + finally he’d given in + written her name down.  So all in all, we were pretty pleased.

Hitched back with a really funny local guy, who blamed me for bringing Christianity along + stopping him having 6 wives.  Nonetheless, pretty late in the afternoon before we arrived back, so there was only just time for me to give Val’s hair a trim before it got dark.  Then our usual magnificent meal before we turned in for a decently early night – we’d been told to be ready to catch a bus at 6 o’clock in the morning!

Val demonstrating her indomitable spirit… or just being irritatingly persistent. Either way, she was in the film too, which was obviously better. And Doug was most supportive; I think he wanted to hang around for a few days more, and this gave us something to fill the time in with.

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