You don’t realize how scary or dangerous a country is when you first arrive. My parents always did a great job making sure I was always sheltered enough, they attempted to make sure there was some sort of normality within the chaos.
I remember the afternoon clearly, my Father came home early, shaking a little. He was obviously upset. He called for a family meeting, family meetings usually meant we were on the move again, but we had just arrived.
My Father sat down, and relayed that not only did he get threatened, but another Ambassador, who was very close golfing friends with my Father, had a gentleman open fire, at close range, at his car. We sat there stunned. Lucky enough, the usual car the Ambassador got driven in, was in the shop, and he was in his bullet proof car. The Ambassador was fine.
My Father announced, after a lot of personal death threats, he would be getting a bullet proof car.
I was 10, I thought it was kinda like James Bond.
When the bullet proof car arrived from Germany, yes, in those days only Mercedes could be customized to be bullet proof. This giant and long Mercedes arrived. My Father was beyond excited, he could breathe in the car, and not worry about getting gunned down in the open street.
I hated the thing, since it was bullet proof, non of the windows rolled down, the A.C had to be on all the time, and if you wanted the attention of someone outside of the car, you had to speak into a radio in the car, which would blast on the outside of the car.
Part way through our posting, I changed schools. I was no longer known as an Ambassador’s daughter, and I loved it that way. Our driver knew just how much I hated the car, and how much I was embarrassed to be seen in it.
One Friday night I was to go to a school dance. I got all ready, came down to the car park, and attempted to hop into our family car. My Father’s driver smiled, and said “No, I already have the official car running, and I have to be back here to pick your parents up, so I am taking you in this one.” pointing to the bullet proof monstrosity.
I was not pleased, but I looked at him and shrugged.
We got to the school gates, the guard came out and checked out the car a little puzzled, my Father’s driver flashed the school pass, and pointed to the back, where my embarrassed self was sitting, because the front seat was purposely full of papers that were never there.
As we approached the drop off point, a bunch of kids from not only my grade, but the grade above were in front of the car. I told the driver just to stop and let me get out discretely, but instead, he got on his microphone and in his hilarious accent said to “back away from the car”.
I was mortified, I hid on the ground behind his seat. He was laughing so hard, he had tears rolling down his face. My classmates were now curious, but also a little scared, only one of the friends knew who’s car it was, and that was another fellow Ambassador’s kid.
Now the worst wasn’t over. I couldn’t let myself out of the car, the car door was way too heavy for me to open by myself from the inside. I had to sit on the floor, waiting until the driver stopped laughing, and got out, to then open my door.
When I was finally let out, I finally had to laugh. I guess my secret couldn’t be kept forever. I just really hated that car.