Monday, 26 January 2009
Sailing and Frolicking
My skin is glowing…actually it looks as if someone dipped me in a vat of Extra Fine Lindt Milk chocolate, finished it off with a coat of honey and left me out to dry. The tiny hairs on my arms, face, neck and ears have been bleached blonde from excessive exposure to the sun and I have a stupid grin permanently fixed on my knackered face.
So it’s no surprise to say that my time away was a success. Actually, it was so much more than that. It was rejuvenating, sublime, fantastic, amazing, serene, euphoric and pure bliss. Thanks to The Almighty, everything went perfectly and there were no hiccoughs or reasons to be stressed. The four of us were on time for the flight; there were no issues with the Sea port customs officials; we were one of the first groups to board the vessel that was to be home…everything just flowed.
It has become apparent that there are two things that I really love in this world. One of them is sailing. There is something so majestic about sailing. It’s so liberating and provides you with a sense of freedom and reckless abandonment that very few get to experience in their life time. Maybe it’s the sense of temporary homelessness or the notion of living in your own made up country called the “United States of Emancipation”. You’re neither here nor there while you’re gliding serenely through unknown water’s; every minute is exciting and unpredictable. The 360° view from the deck reveals miles of ocean, no land in sight and it’s enough to convert even the most ardent disbeliever, because no man could ever re-create such beauty, splendor and magnificence. If the journey is better than the destination, then for me, sailing is definitely the way to go.
I’m still rocking to and fro, ever so slightly…being conditioned from the motion of the ship sailing through rogue waves in Richards Bay. The sensation makes you high…so there’s really no need for alcohol or cannabis. And forget about walking in a straight line; everyone is vulnerable to the capricious sea and the host vessel’s passage through dark and untamed waters. Even simple tasks like making Salaah is incredibly fun because you never know when you’re going to be propelled back or forth or even sideways. It’s a voyage that is definitely not for the feint-hearted. Thankfully, none of my traveling companions and I were feint-hearted or had feint-stomachs…even so, there are pills for that. I figured that because the ship weighs like a Million Tons, it won’t sink in a hurry and even if it did go down by some miracle, I’m a good swimmer and one can always float to shore.
I was initially very wary of this trip and made the conscious effort not to have any expectations, especially when I discovered that Steve-fucking-Hofmeyer was going to gate-crash my precious cruising time. For those who don’t know, Steve Hofmeyer is one of South Africa’s top local musicians with a penchant for Afrikaans “sokkie treffers” music and a notorious philanderer…and everyone knows how I hate cheaters. So my main goal was to have as much fun as possible regardless of what or who I would have had to encounter or endure on the ship.
To my pleasant surprise, Steve was as inconspicuous as a drop of water in the ocean, a minor feature in the grandeur of what the ship had to offer. Overall, the entire trip gave me exactly what I was looking for…long languid lazy days and warm balmy breezy nights. The food was good too…they have Halaal certificates for their Mutton, Beef and Chicken from 5 different authoritative Muslim bodies including SANHA, MJC and The Brazilian Muslim Association (or something like that).
The highlight of our trip had to be the islands themselves. We were ferried on huge zodiac boats to miles of pristine beaches on a deserted island…what more could a girl ask for?
And then we frolicked…
And man did we frolick…
Frolicking has to be my second favourite thing in the world, next to sailing. We rolled about the beach in ecstasy for a few hours and swam in the clear blue warm wave-less shallow waters for most of the day. It’s what dreams are made of. I was lucky to find everything that I had envisioned and dreamt of all those weeks ago and didn’t leave disappointed.
True to word, I went snorkeling at Inhaca Island, and no I didn’t drown although I find I swim better without the flippers. I really love swimming. We had a blast once I got the hang of it although we didn’t see much because the tide came in bringing some murky water with it. It was still amazing and before we knew it, the day had come to an end and we were bouncing on the waves back to the anchored ship.
And then we had fun…
And man did we have fun…
Maybe it was because of the debauchery – eating, laughing and dancing too much…but as it turns out, we became minor celebrities on the ship through our “excellent dance routines”. Well they were not so much routines as us mimicking each other, loosing any inhibitions that we may have had and just going with the flow. We were all just in sync with each other, moving simultaneously to the tunes churned out by the DJ, making up crazy moves as we went along, while we laughed until we cried. We weren’t paying any attention to the crowd, we didn’t care how we looked or even noticed who was there and who wasn’t…we just danced. It was only the next day at breakfast, that we realised that something was up because everyone was staring at us…some were whispering, others pointing and some of them amused. One lady from Durban came up to us after breakfast and told us that we were really good on the dance floor the previous night…she said she loved our “choreography” and that the only reason they even planned to attend the next evening was to watch us. At this point I was LMAO…rolling on the floor…literally. After that, many more people came to tell us similar things, it was hilarious!!!
The second evening had a Carnival theme and it was a huge party on the deck…I remember an uncle and an aunty in a scarf sitting on the sidelines, glaring at us with grave disapproval etched into every crevice of their faces. I briefly thought “Fuck you aunty and uncle, what the hell are you doing here anyway”…since attendance to the Carnival party was not obligatory and very much voluntary as there were other programmes that were scheduled. In any case, the Carnival crowd was between 18 and 35 years old. We received more compliments, and had a fan base growing, with a few teenage girls joining us. There was another girl on the dance floor, obviously looking for some attention, who was scantily clad and bumping and grinding all over her boyfriend. I wanted to tell skankalicious that if the only way she could dance was to bump and grind, then she couldn’t dance at all and to please fuck off the dance floor. But I got distracted by the Sailors who joined us – damn men in uniform are so divine – but that’s a whole other story. There were those who looked at us in awe and admiration…as if we being absolutely crazy had inspired them…and then there were those who laughed and thought we were crazy. Damn Steve Hofmeyer was part of the audience too. We had pure fun…and it worked wonders as an exercise routine…I lost 2kg from shaking it like a Polaroid picture, even though we ate like Bears at breakfast, lunch, tea time, supper and with midnight snacks.
I didn’t get to oogle as much as I wanted to, for some reason men in general did not interest me on this trip. I had a stalker though, he asked for my number, I said no because I have a strict Muslim-Only policy…and I caught him staring at me numerous times after that but I didn’t pay much attention to him or any other interested guys oogling their brains out. There’s only one incident to report on and it involved 5 minutes of me stalking the most beautiful Italian security guy in the world. He was all decked out in a suit – I’m a sucker for men in suits – with his ear piece, he looked like he belonged to the Mafia. But he was there purely for security and didn’t engage much with the passengers. It took all my strength, willpower and every ounce of resistance I could muster NOT to walk up to him, extend both arms, push my wrists together and say “Arrest me please, take me away and lock me up in your chambers…I’ve been a bad bad girl”…LOL.
Overall, it was an excellent mini holiday. For those who are wondering…the ship has 8 Decks, 2 Pools, 2 Restaurants, 1 Poolside Terrace/Dining Area, a Cinema, Gym, Running Track, 3 Clubs, Playhouse for kids, 3 Bars, 2 Jacuzzi’s, a Casino and several duty-free shops. There’s a photographer and camera crew that operate at every major function, capturing and immortalizing every memorable moment for those who wish to purchase photographs or DVD’s…although it’s expensive and most people don’t bother since they come with their own equipment. Even with all the amenities, the ship is still quite small compared to others in its fleet. The Fantasia (pronounced Fan-ta-see-a) having made its debut late last year and its sister ship, the Splendida making its debut in a few months time being the largest ships in the fleet. These vessels are going to be the Queens of the oceans…but not for long since the company as already put in orders for larger and more sophisticated sea vessels due out in 2010/2011.
The Fantasia was crowned the most beautiful ship in the world and is one of the reasons I’m doing an MBA. Boasting 18 decks, over 120 Pools, a massive Pool slide, a Fountain, 12 Restaurants, a sports stadium/arena, a Spa, Turkish Bath, Hairdresser, an Italian Piazza with a glass ceiling, a Patisserie, an ice-cream stand, a Games Arcade, A Formula 1 simulator, 4D Cinema, Elevators and state of the art technology amongst the hundreds of other facilities and services on board, including a personal Butler for every Cabin as well as a plasma screen TV and private balcony in each cabin. I’m sure that it must be a sin somewhere to have so much aboard a single vessel and it has been reported that the opulence and decadence offered on board can be overwhelming for simple cruisers. I’m not too concerned about that and in the event of the ship sinking, I maintain my floating principle, it’s just important to cruise in summer so that one doesn’t perish from hypothermia.
When I grow up, I think I’ll cruise every year; that’s how I’ll spend my mini holidays and weekends away. I still love airplanes and airports and long haul flights…so I won’t be giving that up any time soon. Looks like that MBA will come in handy after all.
This work by Azra is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 South Africa License.