A member of reception staff glides across the pristine carpet and under the Arabesque archways:



‘Votre taxi, c’est arrivee’

I step into the passenger seat on the ramp adjacent to the entrance, and we being to descend the cobbles towards the exit. The hotel complex feels like a remake of a Medieval castle. After a slow descent between the tightly clipped lawns and equally manicured hedgerows, we arrive at the imposing perimeter wall topped with barbed wire.

The security guard circles the car, passing his X-ray baton slowly and meticulously around the sides and underneath the vehicle, before eventually returning back in front of the car.

Without showing even a chink in the impeccably serious armour of his face, he stares into my driver’s eyes whilst lifting the bonnet. My driver looks startled.

There’s an electrifying pause.

The guard’s face creases.

Both burst out into raucous laughter.

I begin to laugh too.

Sometimes the deadly serious is deeply amusing. It needs to be. Otherwise, the mundane realities of everyday life might cease to be bearable. For me, this is not everyday life. But for the taxi driver and the security guard, it’s their routine experience.

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