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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Of Bodyguards…Just in Case

Upon occasion, I have required bodyguards.  Not that I required them at all, but those around me felt that I did.  Never mind that my husband is recognized worldwide, for that matter, Petya is known by name by many restauranteurs as they lead him to back kitchens for tastes of desirable delicacies.  For some reason, the guys are deemed to be semi-safe security risks, while the blond in high heels tries to blend-in, to no avail.

I am briefed before arriving in Punjab during a time when no Westerner in their right mind was in the environs.  Wearing the Punjabi women’s outfit of flowing, elegant dress, and matching poufy pants, the veil is draped like a scarf over the head, with one end flipped over the opposite shoulder.  I think I look great, yet grow concerned when masses of people part like the Red Sea anywhere I am.

“Stick with your driver and do not go anywhere on your own,” our handlers advise us.

So naturally, we slip away one day to buy Benedetto some sandals, and live to tell about it.

In the Philippines, we fly a four-seater to a remote island.  Wondering where was the runway, we find ourselves landing on a grassy mountainside.  The plane rapidly taxis behind a raised, earthen mound.

“Just in case,” the pilot turns to us.  “Sniper fire, you know….”

We are told to turn our lights out by 10:00 p.m., and we hear shooting through the night.  By day, a burly Italian in a pink jeep accompanies us, armed with an Uzi “just in case”.  After returning home, Benedetto and I hear that the plane went down due to high winds on its next run, and the bodyguard turned out to be working with, rather than against, some of the local terrorists, playing both sides of the fence.  I think he liked that my husband was Italian, and that I, the only foreign woman in those parts in a long time, actually talked with him about his life, and thus we were spared….

In the Middle East, I’m known in all of the worst areas due to some philanthropic work.  I am on my own when hiring a manager who turns out to appoint himself as my bodyguard, as well.

“Head guard,” he tells me in the local lingua.  That’s what they called a bodyguard in these parts.

“Head guard?”  I laugh, “what about the rest of the body?”

In the office, he tucks his pistol in the middle back of his pants, pulling his shirt over it.

“We probably won’t need it,” he reassures me.  “But it gives a feeling of confidence.  You walk differently and carry yourself from a position of strength.”

“Just in case,” I nod.

Having never been the type to look over my shoulder repeatedly, I understand the concept.  Several were the threats that had come my way, and I knew better than to ever show fear. So I walked tall and bold, bodyguard or none.

It helped to have someone watching my head, just in case.  Nowadays, my lifestyle meant that babysitters might be more appropriate than bodyguards, but it couldn’t hurt, right?



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