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Bucket List # 21 – THE ROCK OF GIBRALTAR

I am not sure why exactly but the “Rock of Gibraltar” is a place I have always wanted to go. Maybe it was growing up listening to all the war movies my dad loved, or reading about it in History class. It sounded like an important place, a place that I wanted to see.

I had two chances a couple of years ago when my cruise ship stopped there, unfortunately the one day it was pouring with rain and the next time I was working. I must admit through the rain that first time I wasn’t overly impressed with “The Rock”, not sure what I expected but it looked a little small… so after my ship left it for the last time I figured that was the end of a dream… until a few months ago when, during our crossing from Northern Europe to the Med, we stopped there and I was given permission to go on excursion… Elated is an understatement, something that confused more than one of my coworkers… Who cares I was getting to go to “The Rock” and knock off another bucket list item.

Since the ship arrived at 7am we were all up at the crack of dawn, or rather before the crack. I had asked to join the early morning German groups for a couple of reasons, but that meant B.F. early…. it also meant I got out of doing the morning disembarkation duties, so I was ok with that.

Earlier than Sparrows Fart

Earlier than Sparrows Fart

The residents of Gibraltar were very welcoming…. ALL the residents…

Morning greetings

Morning greetings

We did a bit of a tour of the island, visiting different sites and seeing a view of the Straits of Gibraltar and it’s shipping routes.

early morning at the Straits of Gibraltar

early morning at the Straits of Gibraltar

early morning at the Straits of Gibraltar

early morning at the Straits of Gibraltar

local Mosque
There is an interesting mix of nationalities and cultures that coexist in Gibraltar and they all seem to get along wonderfully, here is the local mosque.

Finally it was time to go up the rock!!! A fairly intense cable car ride took us straight up and lucky for us the weather was just starting to move in so we were welcomed with the most amazing views and an interesting meteorological lesson.

Top of the Rock with MSC Opera in the background

Top of the Rock with MSC Opera in the background

Didn't take long for an interesting cloud bank to make it's appearance

Didn’t take long for an interesting cloud bank to make it’s appearance

Of course the highlight of any Gibraltar adventure has to be the apes (macaques), there has been a troop here for decades ever since an army officer was forced to choose between his pet and his wife… or so the legend goes.

Just sitting around

Just remember these are wild animals and they are very adept at getting what they want, especially food, so never have food visible or open plastic bags, watch your sunglasses your hats and anything else they might find amusing…
beware

But they are still awfully cute, especially when you find the nursery….
mom on duty

cuteness....

cuteness….

peek-a-boo

In the end we should just relax and enjoy the view…

THE VIEW

 

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2017 in Travel

 

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Bucket List #17: St. Petersburg, Russia Part 2

Finally after way too long I have time to sit and write some more. So please enjoy the long awaited continuation of my journeys at sea, starting with part 2 of St. Petersburg…

The Hermitage

The Hermitage, also known as the Winter Palace, was, as the name implies, the winter home of the Tsars and Tsarinas of Russia. It is now and acclaimed museum and houses over 3 million works of art, with everything from DaVinci to Van Gough, from paintings to stuffed horses….. this is a place that needs a minimum of a full day, preferably 5, to fully explore as it is spread over 6 different buildings.

The Hermitage is one of the largest and oldest museums in the world, founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and open to the public since 1852.

The Grand Entry

The Grand Entry

Even the light fixtures are works of art

Even the light fixtures are works of art

One of the throne rooms

One of the throne rooms

One of the many Grand Halls

One of the many Grand Halls

The generals who fought Napolean

The generals who fought Napolean

Some of the officers were quite good looking

Some of the officers were quite good looking

Stunning stained glass

Stunning stained glass

Catherine the Great

Catherine the Great

Her "Hanging Gardens"

Her “Hanging Gardens”

The Grand Hallway, an identical copy of the one in the Vatican Museum

The Grand Hallway, an identical copy of the one in the Vatican Museum

Sculpture by Michelangelo

Sculpture by Michelangelo

Made of solid Malachite

Made of solid Malachite

Made of solid Lapis lazulis

Made of solid Lapis lazulis

Horses apparently from one of the wars

Horses apparently from one of the wars

I hope you have enjoyed this brief intro into the Hermitage… stay tuned for Part 3 St. Petersburg

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2016 in Cruise, Cruise Ship, Travel

 

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Why Not Become a Scuba Instructor….

Cruise Ship vs Dive Instructor

about 6 months ago, Monique, a good friend and dive instructor tossed a thought out to me, why not return to Koh Phangan Island, where I did my Divemaster, and become a dive instructor… Her husband, another good friend, was studying to be a course director and would be my instructor….

The conversation in my head went something like this:
Me – Cruise Ship hostess vs Scuba Dive Instructor…. mmmm
Rational Side – WTF you are 37, you have a good gig with the cruise ship, save and then settle at home with a real job!
ADHD Side – been there done that with the cruise ship, onto the next adventure
Rational Side – what are you thinking
ADHD Side – something new something exciting …. D I V I N G T H A I L A N D
Rational Side – well it is always good to have multiple skills, and the cruise ship is a good backup
ADHD Side – come on Rational you know what you want
Rational Side – ok the deal is we pretend to consider this for at least a month, don’t want people thinking we just jump into decisions at a moment’s notice! Also we work as a Divemaster first for a month or two before taking the Instructor Development Course (IDC) need to get your skills sharpened!
ADHD Side – Deal sold, we are off see the wizard the wonderful wizard of Thailand!!!

So there it was, I had convinced myself, at age 37, to fly to Thailand and pursue a dream I had never even let myself consider – To become a PADI Scuba Instructor
For months on the ship I dreamed of Koh Phangan and diving, it had been almost 2 years since any serious diving which made me nervous. My time there before was amazing doing my PADI divemaster, the food, the friends, the freedom of riding a motorbike/vespa and of course living in a tropical paradise.
WHAT AM I THINKING!!!!

Adventure is Out There

Finally end of contract arrived, my month and a half vacation at home ended, all packed and ready to go I set off on a jet plane. In the initial planning stages I had decided to visit my friend in Slovenia and then a couple of nights in Venice… of course this meant literally nearly flying all the way around the world just to get to Koh Phangan… but it was worth it. While in Slovenia I got a message from Neil, my soon to be amazing patient, very very patient instructor from Scuba Futures and Haad Yao Divers, informed that an IDC course would be starting on July 1st (about 5 days after my arrival). I think I nearly choked on my coffee. The email back and forth went something like this:

Me – but but but
Neil – you will do fine
Me – but but the math, the physics, the the the
Neil – you will be fine
Me – but I need to get my skills up to par I need time to remember the dive sites…
Neil – you will be fine
Me – BUT THE PHYSICS AND MATH!!!!
Neil – you will be fine, the theory can be taught, the diving will be remembered, being an instructor is about personality and, well, you have plenty of that…
Me – but will I really be fine??
Neil – yes you will be fine

Thank heavens Neil is supremely calm and patient because this course was going to be a mental and emotional roller coaster for me, with numerous giggle fits!

Island Welcome

The heat and humidity of Bangkok nearly took my breath away, I had forgotten what it was like. Of course I got the taxi that had no idea where the hostel was and then I left my favorite light jacket in the taxi and then discovered my room was on the 3rd floor and no elevator. Always a good start. But got myself sorted, lugged my bag upstairs, stood under a cold shower for about 20 minutes, found a sim card and texted Neil with my arrival. I took the 6am bus, which worked out perfectly because I couldn’t sleep and was awake by 4am, giving me time for another cold shower and final sorting then a long 8 hour bus trip and 2 hour ferry ride. The weather had been perfect and just as the ferry pulled into Koh Phangan the heavens opened and welcomed me back with a good solid drenching. Neil was their with his side car to pick me up, we briefly considered I take a taxi but finally said “screw it” I was wet already, the ride home just meant I didn’t need a shower anytime soon. We pulled up to my little bungalow and it felt like home almost immediately.

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

We popped into the Crow Bar just down the road and said hi to a few old friends then Monique helped me stumble to a little place to grab some food. I took it home managed maybe 2 bites and passed out. What a welcome back!!! Tomorrow the studying would begin, bring on the physics!!!!

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2015 in Scuba Diving, Thailand, Travel

 

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Merchant of Venice… part 2

Exploring The Glass Island of Murano

We spent the morning getting lost in the allies of Venice trying to find our way to the vaporetto stop on the other side of San Marco square. Seemed easy enough but we kept hitting dead ends or canals with no bridges, all rather amusing…

Exploring and getting lost amongst the canals and tiny streets

Exploring and getting lost amongst the canals and tiny streets

Finally we made it to the vaporetto and then we were off, past cemetery island

Cemetery Island

Cemetery Island

And on to Murano famous for it’s glass:

Hello Murano Island

Hello Murano Island

Murano Glass

Murano Glass

exploring with new friends

exploring with new friends

There are beautiful works of Glass everywhere…

Even a giant glass star like ornament, with pigeons making themselves comfortable amongst the shards…

Visiting Old Friends

All too soon it was time for me to dash off as my first cruise ship, MSC Lirica, and favorite cruise director, Richard, was in port and I hoped to catch up with a few friends.

MSC Lirica

MSC Lirica

Unfortunately it happened to be the day the big bosses were onboard and so after waiting 2 hours I had to just send Richard greetings via message, hopefully next time. I did get to see a few friends I didn’t even know where there though, so that made up for it.
Erik from photo who worked with me on Fantasia

Emilie from excursions worked with me on Fantasia

View from Hostel Window

Ultimately the hostel I chose was in an even better location than I thought. Generator Hostel Venice is located across the canal from San Marco Square and also with a direct view of the main cruise ship canal to get into the city. So when I returned in the evening I looked out the window and there she was, my beloved first ship, MSC Lirica, sailing right past the window:

An Amusing Experience

The day before my exploration buddy, Tayllor, who I met in the hostel, and I headed to San Marco for adventure and in search of something to eat. Tayllor had heard good things about this cute little bar called Harry’s Bar. We weaved in and out the little streets following the GPS on her phone only to realise we had walked right past it, it was that small. Turning round we headed back until the GPS beeped, still a bit confused as to where it was or where the entrance was. Finally we found it and headed in, dinner wasn’t being served for an hour or so, so we decided to come back, it did look quite quaint…

(I did have the urge to ask to look at the menu, but pushed it aside)

Returning later (again had the urge to ask for the menu before being seated but pushed it aside, it couldn’t be that expensive) on we were shown to a tiny table squished up next to another family and handed menus. As the waiter handed us the menus he asked if we wanted a Bellini, the house special drink and famous in Venice. Sure we said….. then we opened the menu…

I honestly think my vision blurred, my breathing became rapid and shallow, I was light headed and possibly had a pain in my chest… but not a heart attack more like a price attack… The Bellini, which came in a small nondescript glass, was €23, and the cheapest thing for food was a €27 cheese sandwich!

Tayllor and I both looked at each other, quickly decided to say the hostel just called and there was a problem. The waiter had already opened a bottle of water (too afraid to even ask how much that was), we hurriedly made excuses and offered to pay for the water. This must be a common reaction as the waiter just waived us off. Tayllor nearly took the tablecloth with her as we made a mad dash for the door. Felt like we had just robbed a bank or something… too funny.

Turns out Harry’s Bar was a favorite of Hemmingway’s and their prices reflect it!

An Evening Treat

Keeping that in mind this evening I tentatively asked to see a menu at this fabulous little place near the hostel, on the island across the water from San Marco Square (apparently the square has some sort of inflation effect on prices). It was expensive but affordable and I thought “what the hell, you only live once”. Please note this attitude only works on AFFORDABLE prices.

The view made the €39 worth every penny!

A great day, a great evening and a great meal. The plan for the final morning.. wake up early and explore BEFORE the tourists arrive!

Venice Touristless

Waking up at 7am, I grabbed a quick breakfast at the hostel, moved my bags into the storage room and was on the Vaporreto before 8am. I walked around for an hour and saw maybe 20 people, the shops were closed so you could really enjoy the feel of Venice without the urge to buy. At 9am as I entered San Marco Square the bells rang and somewhere a gate must have opened because thousands of tourists arrived at the same time.

Tip: Definitely explore Venice in the early morning!!!

Here are a few of my favorite pics from a Fabulous city:

Bridge of Sighs

Bridge of Sighs

Masks

Masks

More Masks

More Masks

Goodnight Venice

Goodnight Venice

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2015 in Travel

 

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Goodbye, Farewell MSC Fantasia

Another Chapter Closed

After 7 months working as an English Social Hostess on MSC Fantasia I am finally heading home and on to the next adventure, after some well deserved RnR, especially after another bought of bronchitis and what turned out to be a fractured ankle that I continued to work on for the last 2 months.

Misconceptions…

When people ask what I do and I reply “I work on a cruise ship”, they always assume this means that I sit around the pool with a cocktail, especially when I was working in the Caribbean. However, it is nothing like that, sure my job as a Social Hostess or Language Ambassador as I prefer to be called, is a lot less strenuous compared to the bar staff or the housekeepers or the laundry, but it is still on duty 7 days a week for 7 months or more. It always surprises guests when they ask me, “what are your off days?” and I say, “the day after I get home.”

It’s Been a Great 7 months

Once again I loved working in the Mediterranean, so many different cultures, so much history and the most amazing food! I had the option to work in the French Caribbean, which I would have loved if there was a guarantee to get some scuba diving in… since that was highly unlikely, I opted for history and food instead.
Our ports of Call included:

ITALY
Venice – I have now been there over 15 times and only ever seen the cruise port, I hear it is quite beautiful!

Bari – Not much to see in Bari itself except a cool fort and shopping.

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Fort of Bari


However, just outside there is a beautiful cave system that is definitely worth a visit.
Caves of Castellana

Caves of Castellana

Civitevecchia (Port of Rome) – my favorite part of this port was my pizza place, Baffoni’s!! Cafe Latte, wifi, followed by a pizza and cola.

My favorite Vesuvio pizza, spice salami and zucchini

My favorite Vesuvio pizza, spice salami and zucchini


My second favorite Buffalo mozzarella and small tomatoes

My second favorite Buffalo mozzarella and small tomatoes

Genoa – Turn around port always crazy busy, but just sometimes I got to slip away to a tiny local place down a narrow alley with the best ravioli bolognese ever!

CROATIA
Dubrovnik – One of my all time favorite cities, absolutely beautiful. I hope to return and explore all of the Dalmation coast someday.

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View from the city Walls

GREECE
Piraeus (Port of Athens) – the port is really far from town, but on most visits, at least before I injured my foot, we would walk 20 minutes to a little street cafe for the best gyro in town.

Katakolon – A teeny tiny community that is the gateway to the ancient ruins of Olympia. I loved this tiny 2 street town, with amazing food and fantastically friendly people from my guy at the restaurant where I ordered chicken souvlaki, to the coffee guy with the amazing desserts to the shop guy who insisted on always throwing a bag of chips or a drink into all the crew members shopping bags.

mmm Greek Food!

mmm Greek Food!


Dessert and coffee

Dessert and coffee

Heraklion (Island of Crete) – Home of the myth of the Minotaur and another favorite stop, unfortunately the town was a fair distance from the port. My favorite memory was eating an amazing strawberry spinach salad with a good friend!

Mmmm Spinach Strawberry salad!!!

Mmmm Spinach Strawberry salad!!!


Great Friends!!!

Great Friends!!!

Rhodes – In my top 3! History, friendly folks and great food, also lots and lots of cats!!!

my favorite Tomcat

my favorite Tomcat


Street of Knights

Street of Knights

Corfu – Another stop where the town was a fair distance from port, but beautiful all the same.
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Santorini – Built on the edges of a volcanic caldera in the middle of the med, this is the picture postcard stop of Greece!

Santorini is famous for it's white buildings and blue domes

Santorini is famous for it’s white buildings and blue domes

MALTA
Valletta – Top 3!! Original home of the Knights Hospitaller and Templar and a port I could wander around in endlessly, just be sure to take the 1€ elevator vs walking up crucifix hill.

THE ELEVATOR!!!

THE ELEVATOR!!!


Inside St. John's Church

Inside St. John’s Church


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TURKEY
Marmaris – Part of my top 5! Loved this port from my first contract and only got one stop this time! However, my favorite food place was still there along with my favorite jewelry store.

Mixed plate

Mixed plate

Izmir – The area near the port was mainly shopping, although I did find amazing coconut macaroons at a hole in the wall bakery. An hour away you will find the house of the Virgin Mary in a stunningly peaceful valley and the Ruins of Ephesus, some of the most incredible ruins I have ever seen… did I mention there are lots of cats!

Mary's House

Mary’s House


Leave a prayer for the Virgin Mary

Leave a prayer for the Virgin Mary


Kitty of Ephesus

Kitty of Ephesus


Library of Ephesus

Library of Ephesus

SPAIN
Malaga – Churro and Chocolate is all I have to say…

No Words!!!!

No Words!!!!

Barcelona – Gaudi and the inside of the Sagrada Familia!! Absolutely incredible.

Beauty!

Beauty!

Tenerife – Loro Parque, the worlds largest parrot park with numerous other animals and even an Orca show! (I am not a fan of keeping these creatures in captivity, the only, slightly, saving grace is that the park focuses on research and education and some of the orcas were not wild born).

Rainbow Lorikeet

Rainbow Lorikeet


Orca Show

Orca Show

MOROCCO
Casablanca – The whole reason I opted for this route vs the French Caribbean and, even though I had no idea what to expect, it was unfortunately the biggest disappointment. The port was at least a 20 minute walk from the city through a disgusting agricultural and industrial port, with only… fairly intense taxi drivers as a transport option. Luckily, the city itself, although dirty, had friendly people, great coffee and amazing food. However, other than the mosque and the old market there wasn’t much to see and safety was a concern.

Coffee opposite the old market

Coffee opposite the old market


Carpets and Paintings in the Old Market

Carpets and Paintings in the Old Market


The Mosque from the Cornish Road

The Mosque from the Cornish Road


Tajines cooking

Tajines cooking


Delicious!

Delicious!

If you go to Morocco and the port of Casablanca I recommend the tour to Marrakesh, this is the Morocco we all imagine.

PORTUGAL
Funchal – Top 3!!! Absolutely loved this port, despite the long walk from the port, and would love to visit it again, from the vegetation to the climate to the food everything was great… except maybe that they speak Portuguese (a language that confuses me endlessly as it sounds similar to Spanish and yet I understand nothing).

Eira Do Serrado  reminded me of the Drakensburg Mountains of South Africa

Eira Do Serrado reminded me of the Drakensburg Mountains of South Africa


Always had coffee and a pastel de nata at my fav coffee shop... love the lady in the background - she is obviously on diet!

Always had coffee and a pastel de nata at my fav coffee shop… love the lady in the background – she is obviously on diet!


Great artwork on the Sea wall as you walk to town

Great artwork on the Sea wall as you walk to town

Not bad for 7 months if you ask me!

Friendships!!

Of course the true reward from these last 7 months were the friends I made from all over the globe!!

Olessia from the Ukraine - my favorite bartender and confident

Olessia from the Ukraine – my favorite bartender


Chiara from Italy, Tour escort and awesome gelato buddy

Chiara from Italy, Tour escort and awesome gelato buddy


Saneliswe and Sandile, my "paisano" bar staff from South Africa

Saneliswe and Sandile, my “paisano” bar staff from South Africa


Angela from Germany, German Hostess and international cuisine tasting buddy

Angela from Germany, German Hostess and international cuisine tasting buddy


Tamsin and Hayley from UK, Dancer and singer, my video and pizza buds!

Tamsin and Hayley from UK, Dancer and singer, my video and pizza buds!


Ivana from Macedonia, Photographer and my crazy happy friend

Ivana from Macedonia, Photographer and my crazy happy friend


Dayan from Spain and Jessica from Italy, GRM and Concierge, we made a great  team

Dayan from Spain and Jessica from Italy, GRM and Concierge, we made a great team


Gleison from Brazil and Martina from Italy, Portuguese Host and Events coordinator, we were the Funchal Ship Visit trio

Gleison from Brazil and Martina from Italy, Portuguese Host and Events coordinator, we were the Funchal Ship Visit trio


Carmen from South Africa, Tour Escort and another amazing Paisano

Carmen from South Africa, Tour Escort and another amazing Paisano


Celine and Loes from the Netherlands, tour escorts and my favorite Dutchies

Celine and Loes from the Netherlands, tour escorts and my favorite Dutchies


And so many more I would be here forever uploading pics. Thanks to all my amazing friends and I hope to see you again soon on new adventures!!!

New Adventures

Now I am off to do something completely different and, logically thinking, completely off the wall. I am moving to Koh Phangan, Thailand to pursue my passion of scuba diving!!! Yup at 37.75 years of age, I am doing something most people would think is completely insane… but I am sure going to have fun doing it!!!

 

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Christmas at Sea 2014

Christmas 2013

Christmas last year was on the MSC Divina in the Caribbean. Our stop was in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and it was a stunning day, hot and humid… a reminder of Christmases back home in South Africa… and honestly I was miserable, missing my family terribly. Lots of friends, yes, but sometimes it just doesn’t feel the same.

Christmas 2014

This year, sailing in the Mediterranean on the MSC Fantasia, I was determined not to let myself get down and with the start of the Christmas cruise I donned my antlers and jingled, much to the amusement of guests and crew alike.
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The guests got so used to me wearing them that they would use them as a point of reference in a crowd or request me at reception as the “short one with antlers”. The more I made others smile the happier I felt. Of course there were the usual grinches, rolling their eyes, making silly mooing noises (idiots don’t they know it’s a reindeer), making snide comments about how that symbolizes cheating on your boyfriend in Italy. But I discovered the majority loved it so much that these comments made me wear them even more, and walk a little taller!
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I wore them in Rhodes, Greece
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In Katakolon, Greece
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And on Christmas day in Messina, Sicily

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve found us in Valletta, Malta, one of my all time favorite ports. I was able to go out for a good four hours and just wonder around to my hearts content, taking photos and exploring. The atmosphere was amazing, decorations everywhere and even the military band through the main street.
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I went down a bunch of smaller streets, exploring by myself and picking up things like Christmas stockings and crackers!!!!
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All my Christmas gifts for friends along with the crackers and stocking

Then stopped for lunch and had a wonderful hot bowl of potato and zucchini soup with lots of parmesan cheese (this addition would later come back to haunt me….)

Back on board we had fun taking photos with friends and then prepared for the Christmas Choir.
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Christmas Choir

Our fabulous Cruise Director, Franco, had a great idea for a Christmas Choir. On Divina we only had a few of us from Entertainment singing around the piano in reception and guests singing along. Franco had grander ideas and he wanted the guests to be the choir. We had 2 practice sessions which went off reasonably well. Our biggest obstacle was the last line of Jingle BellsIn a one horse op-en sleighhhhhhh“, the timing was a bit tricky. Last night, Christmas Eve, we waited in reception hoping all 200 odd guests would show up… Not only did they show up, they COMPLETELY filled reception, the stairs and all 3 floors that overlook the reception area. We have guests from all walks of life, from Italy, Germany, France, England, South Africa, USA, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and just about every country in between.
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Words can not explain the energy as we all sang and smiled and laughed. For those 15minutes it felt as if the world truly was at peace and happy. Amazing what the power of song can do!
(Hopefully I can add a video later, just have to find one)

Christmas in the Staff Mess

We were pleasantly surprised upon entering the staff mess to discover champagne and wine, TWO kinds of cakes AND icecream, and a couple of extra choices for dinner. It really added to the atmosphere and everyone was thrilled to have something special… that is until we realised that a bunch of officers decided to have their extra special dinner of large prawns and bakes fish (most likely supplied by one them) just one table away, as it was “easier” to use the large tables in the Staff mess versus sitting in the officers mess. So, even though we had some good choices, the aromas coming from their food kind of overshadowed everything, thank heavens we had icecream!!!!

Christmas Day

Christmas Day found us in Messina, Sicily. As much as I love Sicily and it’s little towns like Taormina and Erice, Messina is very dull in comparison. On good days, like a normal work day, there is hardly anything open, with most places only starting lunch or any sort of food after 12pm. Since we are only in Messina from 8am to 1pm, there is not much chance to have time for food or anything.
The one thing Messina does have is a spectacular Cathedral and on this day we were privileged enough to enjoy part of the Christmas mass.

Once back on the ship we had a chance to sing in the choir once more, this time for Santa himself, who had taken a break after delivering all the presents the night before to visit with us and hand out some gifts to the children on the ship.
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And Happy New Year

And so Christmas came to an end, and, despite missing my family terribly (ok in truth it was really the roast beef, yorkshire pudding, green beans and gravy that I missed, but they come with it), it turned out to be a rather good Christmas, with lots of friends and happy guests. Who knows where Santa will find me next year, but I hope it’s with more amazing people like this one!!
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Posted by on December 26, 2014 in Cruise, Cruise Ship, Travel

 

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Why Don’t You Get a Corporate Job???

The other night, chatting with some of my favorite guests, who just happened to be South Africans, and after a couple of drinks, the Aunt of one decided to give me some advice…

It started off simply with some questions:
Aunt – So are you going to make this your career?
Me – No, I don’t want to work on ships forever
Aunt – But why not move up in the company get a corporate job in the main office, like Miami?
Me (trying not to laugh) – hahahah I really don’t want a corporate job
Aunt – Well what is your plan then?
Me – I want to think about doing my Scuba Instructor License in Thailand maybe next year
Aunt – But don’t you want to get married and have a family?
Me – Yes of course, hopefully someday
Aunt – Well you may as well get a corporate job and security, because when that happens all this… travel stuff, won’t matter!
Me – I don’t want a corporate job, and who knows maybe I will meet the man of my dreams in Thailand or somewhere else.
Aunt – No you won’t you are 37, you need to think about who will look after you when you are old and you should get a corporate job…

This went on for about 30 minutes and it really started to bother me, might have been the influence of the Turkish Raiki drink I had tried, but it seriously made me upset and frustrated.

Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s in South Africa I was brought up on good old traditional ways of thinking. In other words: School, job, marriage, house, kids…. along those lines. Luckily my parents also instilled in me the sense of adventure, whether it was doing a 5 day hike in the Umfolozi Game Reserve through the bush, or encouraging me to take a teaching position in South Korea after finding work proved difficult. They have always supported me, although I am pretty certain secretly (for the most part) wished I would settle and get a job. My mom always stresses that as long as I am happy, and can fend for myself then she is happy. I don’t think they ever realised their encouragement would lead me into the life of a gypsy!

But with this upbringing it is always in the back of my mind, what society expects, how life should be etc… I call it the logical side of my Schmidt brain, and it has taken me many years to understand and accept that this side of my brain just prevents me from going beach bum and that I do not necessarily have to follow it to the letter. So when the Aunt brought all these things up it was difficult to fight this side of my brain and I found myself trying to rationalize and convince her that my life choices are just that MINE and that all the curves in the road have led me into fantastic adventures and have shaped me into who I am today.

Luckily for me, a good friend who is very similar to me as far as the gypsy lifestyle goes, was online and gave me his usual sage advice (he is always there when the Schmidt brain tries to rationalise all my crazy adventures). He asked whether or not I agreed with the advice the Aunt had given me, I said NO! Then he reminded me that normal life advice does not necessarily work on people like us, as we are kind of outside of the bubble, we live life instead of survive it. Once thing is for sure, trying to convince her how much Thailand may turn into a great opportunity and what living a simple life there was like a couple of years ago, made me realise just how much I hoped for this next adventure!!!

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2014 in Cruise, Thailand, Travel

 

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