....the LOML and I were in Lebanon. Up north in the hills discovering his family he never knew he had.
It was a fantastic, emotional, absolutely outstanding trip of a lifetime. Never long enough but when is it ever. We will be back there next year for an extended stay.
But anyway, that is not the point of this story, merely setting the scene.....
So there we were, staying in a hotel perched on the side of a mountainous drop, with views across the mountainous drop to the mountain on the other side. It was magnificent and though we were there about 7 days, at no point did my eyes adjust to the vista - I kept getting all dizzy and confused by the sheer scale of what I was looking at (no exaggeration!).
By this time the LOML and I had been out of Australia for just over a month and had no idea of what day it was let alone the date. So on this night last year, after a full day of socialising and meeting new people and eating and drinking and making merry, we clambered exhausted into our hotel bed for another night of deep, dreamless sleep. As I recall there was no moon out that night making it especially dark in our room when combined with the marvellous block-out curtains common to every hotel across the world.
All was going well, as it had every other night - hot shower followed by kicking back on the bed watching hotel TV (I loooove hotel TV!) before finally calling it a night and turning off the lights. I reckon I lasted a whole 2 minutes before I was dead asleep. As it should be.
Until about 2 hours later.
Have you ever been woken suddenly from a deep, deep sleep? You know that horrible, shocked feeling where you don't know where you are or what you woke you but you know that whatever it is, it's bad and you need to run, right now to save your life.....?
Well imagine if what woke you was the sound of missiles being launched from the roof of your hotel.
Oh my god the noise. Boom! Boom! Boom! One after another after another.
I don't need to describe how much I shit myself. I remember sitting bolt upright in bed before crawling along the floor (feeling my way around furniture and bags) to the windows to peer out from behind the curtains to see who was attacking us.
Okay so it turned out it wasn't a missile launch but I swear to god I thought we were under attack. It was midnight, it was absolutely pitch black in the room (I think the power may have even been out - a daily occurrence in Lebanon depending on the time of day so there was not even the light from the alarm clock) and there was a missile attack going on right outside our room.
It felt like it went on forever. Forever. It was more like 20 minutes but it was the longest, heart pounding, adrenaline pumping 20 minutes of my life.
After much shushed whispering between the LOML and I as we tried to come to grips with what was happening and how we were going to make our escape (oh my god where are my shoes!!!) we came to the eventual realisation that it was the 4th of July and what we thought were missiles were actually fireworks being launched to celebrate America's Independence Day.
Good on you hotel. Thanks for telling us.
So Happy Independence Day America. This year I hope not to be woken at midnight by a missile attack.