Sunday, April 18, 2010

Northern Exposure

Moorea Bungalow $950 USD a night - breakfast not included

At 2am this morning we silently passed over the equator. When we woke this morning I reacquainted myself with the northern hemisphere. By 10am we had already sighted the Christmas Islands, ironically named as it was incredibly hot outside, not incredibly wet like most Dunedin Christmas's I have experienced over the years.

As my cruise reaches it's end I'm both happy and sad. Happy because I'm starting to get to that period in any holiday when you get sick of being on holiday - perhaps not holidays in general - just the one you're on at the moment. If I was mega rich I'd always make a plan to take a holiday in the middle of my holiday before going back to my original holiday. By doing that both holidays would always be fresh and interesting; you wouldn't notice the twenty track CD in the dining room was constantly on repeat, and as a result wanting to drown yourself in the breakfast oatmeal to the dulcet tune of "suicide is painless", or as it's otherwise known name "The theme to MASH".

I still subscribe to the whole doing less, achieves more fun theory. Right now I'm once again in the ships library, reclining in a nice leather chair (fully clothed IG). I watch the day pass with the waves as we steer toward the Hawaiian Islands at a leisurely 16 knots. I of course have nothing to do but watch the majesty unfold - and unfold it does.

Just yesterday I won BINGO, but had to share my $84 with some chick from Australia because she called it at the same time. When I announced I was from New Zealand I got a huge cheer - perhaps because there were a few Kiwi's there, perhaps because I was wearing shorts - I am unclear which.

Tonight I have to attend a stag do for someone who's been married 30 years. Such are the complexities of shipboard life. Everyday they plead for people to attend the Jammers nightclub, but as it doesn't open until 9pm, most people are in bed. I would go, but the bar staff always burst into tears when I arrive - realizing that no one else will be attending. I always buy at least three drinks so the gratuity payments (automatically added) pay their wages for the night. I kid. Well kinda.

Gratuity is a funny concept, nope, on second thought I fuck'n hate it. Australian and New Zealander's don't tip. It's not that we're cheap - it's just that it's not in our culture. When you get good service you return to that restaurant; you tell your friends. That's how it works here. We discovered 3 days in to our journey that we were all being charged $11 per day as a flat gratuity fee - this on top of a 10% gratuity fee on all our drinks. As this was an optional service the next day there was a massive line to the pursers desk by irate Oz and Kiwi passengers getting the charges removed. Princess Lines are planning to add the charge to all fares in the future so you know what you're in for. Frankly I think it's wise - often those who travel from this neck of the woods aren't super wealthy, for some it's a trip of a lifetime.
Pet stingrays on Moorea motu. Brilliant!

I had to smirk the other day; like in the days of Titanic, there still remains a class structure on a cruise - even if it's self imposed. People at our dinner seating decided to treat themselves to something called "The Captains Sanctuary". For a nominal fee of $15 per person you can book time in a remote part of the ship with a full luxury service - food, shade, own bar staff etc. Thing was, when they went to book they found all the spaces were pre-booked by the more wealthy clientele - when they wandered by later that day they found no one there. One way to keep the commoners out I suppose :)

So today is my birthday here - I have duct-taped my Mums mouth shut, and she's under a penalty of death should she make a fuss. I just want to get away from it all and switch off. Surrounded by over 1300 people it's a bit tough. Still in the library at least everyone has to keep their gobs shut. Blessed silence.

Finally : I've been wondering.. do you "Love the ones you Miss", or "Miss the ones you Love". I've been thinking the latter.

What about you guys?


Deadlyjelly said...

Haaaaaaaaaapy birthday! You're not checking your mobile; I wished you happy birthday yesterday too, just to get a head start on it. See? I can be a good friend.


Deadlyjelly said...

Is it just me, or are both the dude and the stingray indecently interested in the chick's jugs? Cleavage sushi.


Mark J said...

No mobile coverage at sea - tho I'm working on it :)

Stingray, guide, AND photographer taken with cleavage thank you very much.

You are not a good friend - you are a great friend. Love you heaps !

Cian said...

Belated Happy Birthday! I hope that it was enjoyable and that your Mum kept her mouth shut. Mothers really should come with a zip across their mouths that we can control. They are great for "Oh have you met my son and his birthday is today.." type comments. Cringe...

p.s. Very Enjoyable Post to read.