Hello Everybody! (14th of April 2010) Sailing between New Mangalore & Goa (India)
Finally I'm writing a new blog, and still no internet connection anywhere! Most of the places we visited didn't have any Starbucks or something like that, which is actually good because I got the chance to see a lot of culture!
The last time I was online was in Singapore where I posted my last blog. Singapore was very nice the 2nd time. The first time was just in a mall with starbucks and not seeing any culture. However, this time we had a very nice day seeing a lot of things. We went to see the famous Merlion statue, spraying water out of it's mouth. Very busy with tourists of course but still nice to see. The weather was very very hot but it was a beautiful day. We did almost everything by feet and walked around town. Took a lot of nice pictures that I think I posted already, but cannot check now without internet. Anyway, it was a very nice day!
After that we went to Malaysia where I didn't see anything. The first port there was Port Klang, where people had the chance to go to Kuala Lumpur. I really wanted to go as well but we had rehearsals quite early on, so me, Mellie, Maxym and Victoriia just took a taxi to the town Klang and when to the mall for internet. Now that I think of it, I don't know if I wrote a blog there, but I'll see soon enough. Anyway, we just stayed in the mall because there was nothing to do in Klang, so we went back to the ship after, and Mellie & Me took a handstand picture outside of the ship because we keep trying to have handstand pictures everywhere we go, which is funny because we're both not very good at it, so we have to try a couple of times sometimes before it's nice on the picture. Very embarrassing sometimes as well, but funny.
Next day we were in Penang but I had IPM so could not leave the ship, but I heard from collegues that it was beautiful!
Next country: Sri Lanka! I was looking forward to this for a long time. I heard Sri Lanka was beautiful and it really was. We were in Colombo with quite a big group of collegues and some other people. We hired 3 Tuk-Tuk's and went to a lot of different places. We started with the town centre, which was pretty dirty but loads of nice little shops and market everywhere. Everything very cheap of course, but we didn't buy much. We visited a lot of different beautiful temples. Buddha was everywhere! You always had to take of your shoes as well, which was fine of course. We went to Town Hall which looked very American and white. Opposite of town hall was the town park which was beautiful. A huge golden Buddha at the gate. Also at the entrance there were men playing this flute instrument with cobra snakes coming out of those baskets. Very scary but very cool to finally see it for real! We took pictures so we had to pay, like everywhere. One temple was really big and beautiful, there was so much to see there, I took a lot of pictures. I'm not a big fan of temples in general but this was really nice!
We also went to see a famous hotel close to the beach which was very nice. We paid to use the pool because the sea was too dangerous to swim in, very high waves, which looked very inviting actually!
They had a big nice salt water pool where we spent a good 2 hours. The hotel had a little private bit of beach that we did use a little even though it was dangerous. We just stayed very close to the shore and it was nice with the crazy waves. Only sad thing was that Mellie sprained her ankle a little but she was quite ok after. After that into town centre again because Marthy and I wanted to buy a sarong, one of those men skirt things people where wearing there. I bought a nice one even though I don't intend to wear it. We saw a lot that day and it was wonderful to have been there. The Tuk-Tuk's took us everywhere and after a long fight about the price we sort of managed to pay them half of what they wanted and left back to the ship.
After Sri Lanka we went to India, the first city was Cochin where we were gonna stay for 3 days. The first day I had IPM but the next 2 days I was able to leave the ship and explore.
Erna, our dresser panned the first day for people that wanted to come. She had met a Tuk-Tuk driver the day before and he told her he could arrange a boat to take us on a trip for a couple of hours through the waters and places to see. We decided to do this, so me, Erna, Victoriia, Mellie, Michael (light-technician) and Martin (stage-technician) went with the Tuk-Tuk for half an hour to this place where our wooden boat was waiting for us. It was really a nothing boat, just wood with 2 benches across to sit on, and 3 men where working the boat. The weather was great again, of course insanely hot but it was nice on the water. We saw loads of Chinese Nets everywhere, which is their way of catching fish and crabs and shrimps. Very big old nets, which a very simple mechanism. You'll see it on the pictures. They were really impressive though because they were quite big. We started to sail away and every now and then we would stop somewhere to go on land on these little islands where people where working. Everywhere the people were so nice! Everybody was always smiling, happy and helpful. So wonderful to see so many happy people after being in Hamburg where people always seem to be miserable. We looked quite funny, because they made us wear these crappy hats to cover our heads against the sun. You'll see it on the pictures. It worked great though because otherwise it would have been unbearable. We kept saying to each other how beautiful everything was, because we really felt we were in such a special place. We actualy wanted to go to the backwaters but it was to far away but apparently this was sort of the same, just closer to the ship. We saw women boiling out the shellfish out of the shells, and chucking the empty shells on huge piles. They were working very rhythmical and hard. The kids were playing in the water and were so nice to us. They all wanted to go on the picture and spoke quite a bit of English with us. They were so happy and nice to us! We had a lovely time with these people.
After that we stopped somewhere in the water, where there were trees hanging low, and our sailors took 2 baby birds out of their nest which was a bit sad, because we didn't want them too, but they said it was fine. They put the two birds in our boat so we could see them. They were actually pretty ugly as you'll see on the pictures, but very sweet and cute. Later they were put back in their nest thank god. We sailed some more, and went back to land again where our tuk-tuk drivers were waiting for us and took us back to the ship! Lovely beautiful day!!!
The next day we were still in Cochin and this time I went out with our theater manager Christoph He hand't been out yet because he was so busy and now he finally had time. We had a great day again! We started early because we had to be back on the ship around 2. We took the first tuk-tuk and after negotiating about the price we left. We knew the Jewish neighborhood was gonna be nice, but then another local guy jumped in the tuk-tuk and started touring us around which was very nice. He took us to see a live elephant at one of the temples. He showed us a nice market and some more Chinese Nets, which Christoph hadn't seen yet. He took us to different very nice shops. Another big market. The jewish neighborhood. More shops. Another temple, and so on. When we where walking past on of the big Chinese Nets the guys working there asked me and Christoph to come and help, so we did. We knew we would have to pay them after but it was fine. They took my camera and took a lot of pictures of us working the net. It's a very nice memory like that. I bought myself some very nice wide Indian pants. Very thin cotton, with elastic waist and elastic around the ankles, and extremely wide and big wih the crotch hanging almost at the floor. Very comfy and it almost feels like not wearing anything which is nice in those hot places.
After that we went to a very fancy Hotel which I think was called the Taj from a famous hotel chain that also owns the Taj Mahal or something. Maybe I'm wrong. But we had a nice all you can eat buffet there with very nice Indian food and endless desserts! We had a lot of food for not so much money which was nice! After that, back to the ship to work!
After 3 days of Cochin we left to New Mangalore where we were today. We didn't have so much time again so we decided to go to a beach, and if possible as close as possible. We asked the drivers and they took us to a nice beach very close to the harbor. It looked a bit crappy in the beginning but turned out to be very very nice! It was a beach where mainly local people came because we didn't see any other tourists. Everybody kept staring at us as well so I don't think they've seen much tourists around there ever. By staring I mean it in a nice way. They were very curious and interested, and tried to take pictures of us. It was really funny actually. First a bit scary because we sat there with a group and suddenly a lot of Indian people came into our space and were hanging around there. We grabbed our bags straight away and kept them close, but apparently they just wanted to talk. They were there for a big festival and normally they were studying in another city about 250 km out. They were very nice and wanted pictures with us. We all swam in the ocean which was lovely. The waves were nice and sometimes quite big so we weren't allowed to go very deep, but still it was nice. Marthy and I went for a nice long walk along the beach and saw some camels and again a lot of people trying to film us, probably because Marthy and I look like giants there being almost 2 meters both of us. Erna found a nice little place at the beach where they made food for a ridiculous low price. The meals were 15 rupees, and you have to know that 42 rupees is the same as 1 US Dollar. So it was absolutely nothing. Very nice as well! People were so friendly again. After a nice day at the beach with maybe not so much culture it was time to go back again.
We've had quite a problem on board. Sara, our fabulous swedish F1 singer, has tonsillitis (keelontsteking) and wasn't allowed to do any shows which meant we did our opening show and our sailaway show without her, We had extra rehearsals to change the spacing and have other people sing her stuff. Bless her, she felt so bad for not being with us on stage, but she had no voice, very sad! She's getting super bored because she's not allowed to go off the ship. However, tomorrow she's gonna go back on stage with us again! So nice :) It was very weird not having her on stage. Sad thing is though.. i wrote about Mellie spraining her ankle in Colombo. It's getting worse everyday because she's playing the shows. She's probably not gonna do a show tomorrow, so we have to miss someone again. It's very difficult with these small casts and of course no replacements. But we're managing and there's always a solution. Health before anything.
Ok guys, It's very late and time to go sleep! Tomorrow we're in Goa and we have little time so we're leaving early again. More later!
Aloha! (15th of April 2010) Sailing between Goa & Bombay (India)
Oops! When we arrived for rehearsals this afternoon, we found out every single one of us missed a lifeboat that we should have attended in the morning. No one of us knew, so the safety officer wasn't too pleased. Now we have to do it tomorrow morning at 10:20 which is not so bad, because I have IPM tomorrow which means I cannot go into Bombay anyway. Also every single person on the ship including the passengers have to do a face-check tomorrow. The Indian government needs to confirm that everybody is the same person as the picture on their passports. There are about 1200 passengers and about 350 crewmembers, and they start with the facecheck at 9 in the morning. I wouldn't be surprised if it's gonna take forever. Not such a problem for me but sad for the people that can leave the ship tomorrow and see Bombay. Crazy rules here in India, since this has never happened before in any other country. And the stupid thing is, even the people that cannot leave the ship tomorrow have to go through this face-check. Weird!
Anyway, I had a nice day today with Lorant and Sara. We left early and took a taxi to the beach in Goa. I forgot the name of the beach but it's not very important. It was a very nice beach, actually much nicer than yesterday, because it was filled with palm trees and the water looked much better. It was very very quiet as well, so it was very nice to swim and lay on the sand. We had very little time though. We decided we wanted to do some shopping as well, or at least look at some markets. We had a very sweet taxi driver, a very young (20 years old) guy who had to support his family and make money so his brother and sister could go to college. Of course you never know how much is true, but he sounded sincere. Stuff like that really affects me and it always makes me want to pay more, because it's already very cheap and than there's always these discussions about money, and them wanting more money at the end of the trip like we had in almost every city we've been to. However, this time it went very well, and I decided that we gave him a little more.
After the beach he took us to Old Goa, he said there was a nice church there and some shopping. He was right about the church, but I get bored pretty quick when I visit a church so we looked for some shops but it was very very bad. Only shops aimed at tourists with ugly fake clothes, not even clothes that the people in India wear. In Cochin there were so many nice shops where you could buy Sari's or Sarongs, the ali baba pants and everything, which we were looking for, but they didn't have anything there. We should have stayed on the beach because there were some nice shops there, but we didn't know. The drive from the beach to Old Goa was about 45 minutes, and we had only about 40 minutes to spend there in Old Goa, before we had to go back to the ship again because we had early rehearsals today.
Like I said, Melanie had problems with her ankle, and she didn't play the show tonight. we did Fuego without her, which was sad, but not impossible. We still had a very nice show even though I missed her on stage! The energy was nice, and I think it worked good for the audience. Some of the songs have a lot of power, I'm very happy with my big finale number which always rocks (I hope). It's also nice to scream a lot of spanish words throughout the show and I can say whatever I want because the passengers will probably not understand anything. We always have fun on stage with Fuego. We have this 5 minute song where everyone except for 2 soloists are in a freeze and it's very hard to keep your face straight when there's always someone doing some sneaky stuff with their face, because some of them are with their back to the audience. Maybe not so professional but it keeps it funny ;-)
I'm dead now, it's been a heavy week already even though it's only thursday. I went outside almost everyday and saw so many things, which is wonderful but of course tiring if you always do late shows, and go to the disco to much ;-) Tonight I just went to the crew bar for an hour which is much more relaxed. No matter how tired you are before the show, you always have this energy after, and you cannot sleep until you've sat down for a while and have a nice talk with your collegues. Now I'm in bed though and really sleepy so I'm gonna turn off my computer now! Still hope I have internet soon to post this blog!
Hey!!! (28th of April 2010 sailing from Suez Canal into the Mediteranean Sea)
Wow, a long time since I wrote something. Which is also a good thing because I've been doing loads! Saw a lot of new countries and beautiful things! Life goes quick on board when you're busy and that's a good thing! Before I know it I'll arrive in Hamburg to see Matt again!
So what happened? Well let's start from where i left off.
After all these cities in India we went to the country Oman (19th of April) which was very different! The city we went to was Salalah. Beautiful city, very clean in comparison to India. Even the street lanterns look beautiful! Everything white and pretty, a lot of green and no garbage on the streets, and fresh air! I was out with Sara, Erick and Marthy which was very nice! First we went to this nice Bazar area with loads of shops. I bought a traditional Arabian dress (just a full white body dress) which a matching shawl to wrap around your head. Don't know how to describe it but you'll see the pictures. Not sure if I will ever wear it but it was cheap and I thought it was nice to have. They had loads of proper incense (wierook) and not like those sticks we have in europe, but proper little stone-like incense that you have to burn on little coals. I didn't buy any because I know I'll never use it, but it smelled lovely everywhere. Our Taxi driver was very nice and guided us around everywhere.
On our way to the beach he stopped somewhere along the road to buy us fresh coconuts to drink from, and some beautiful bananas which were small and green, but just as sweet and soft as yellow bananas which was quite unexpected. Also we got to eat some fresh papaya. It was very nice of the guy to give us all this.
We didn't have to much time so we went to the beach. It was very close to the ship which meant we could just walk back after our time on the beach. The beach was this little bay where only a couple of local people were. We were the only tourists there. It was beautiful, white sand and blue water. The waves were very nice as well so we had a lot of fun in the water! It's so nice to be swimming so much again. It's one of my favorite things to do! We didn't see much of Salalah other than the shopping area and the beach but it was nice anyway!
Next stop was Egypt (24th of April)! The first city we went to was Safaga! Me, Erick, Marthy, Victoriia and Erna went out very early in the morning to escape from the drill that we had to do otherwise and we took a taxi. It was a very nice little bus with air-conditioning and a very nice driver again! We set our price and went for a drive through Safaga. First stop was internet cafe, but I didn't have my laptop with me so couldn't go online. It was a nice outside cafe though and it was nice to sit there. I had a talk with our taxi driver and we all tried to smoke a waterpipe for the first time. It was very weird, and tasted fruity but I don't think I'll do it ever again.
We wanted to go snorkeling and asked the driver to take us somewhere nice. He took us about 30 minutes away to an area called soma bay. He had some connections with a diving centre that normally only allows people on their area if you stay in one of the hotels there. We had to pretend we were in the Robinson hotel, and everything was fine. We hired a mask and flippers and walked out to the snorkeling area! The first time for me to swim between coral! Wow! The most beautiful fishes and beautiful colors of coral! Unbelievable! And we only paid like 5 euros to hire our gear. It was really wonderful and I felt very happy and blessed to see such beautiful things. It's so wonderful to be at all these countries, sometimes you're in a new world every new day!
We had lunch there, they didn't have anything traditional but we didn't care so much. We ordered a club sandwich each, which turned out to be this enormous plates with four pieces of club sandwich and about a pound of french fries. Crazy much, but we were hungry from swimming a lot and it was lovely! We swam some more afterwards and it felt like beautiful day. The sea was insanely blue/green and the view there was amazing.
We were very grateful for the taxi driver to arrange this, because first we went to a hotel resort with their own beach where there would be good snorkeling as well, but the entrance to just the beach was 25 euros each, which was ridiculous. And all the resorts charged the same amount. Thank god we found this other place where we paid nothing! It wasn't a beach, but just a big wooden pier going out into the sea, but it was just as beautiful.
After Egypt we went to Jordan (25th of April) and I was insanely excited about this. Me, Melanie, Sara, Lorant, Erick and Christoph had an excursion arranged to Petra which is the most famous site in Jordan. It was about 2 hours away from the harbor and we drove through the desert for quite a while. Everything is very dry and there's little water in that area, so no trees or other green. It's hard to explain how beautiful this city Petra was, so you'll have to watch the pictures.
At the entrance of Petra, you can take a horse and go to the 2nd entrance which we did. From there you start walking in this route between the rocks. You've got big high mountain rocks on both sides of you and you walk this little road in between. On your way you sometimes see these carved windows in the rocks and it already looks amazing. But than you go around a corner and you suddenly see this amazing building in the distance, between the rocks. You walk further and there's this big open space where one of the mountains has been carved into this beautiful facade of a temple/church. So perfect and precise! It's really breathtaking when you arrive at that point. It looks impossible and it's so hard to imagine how they did that more than two thousand years ago. We just stood there looking at it with our mouths open. I couldn't stop taking pictures even though I had to delete some later because they were all the same. It was just perfect!
They had a little Indiana Jones souvenir shop there, because this Petra city was used in one of the Indiana Jones movies: The Last Crusade. They showed it on our televisions on the ship, so it was cool for the passengers to see that the place where they've been was also used in a movie.
It wasn't just that one amazing building, but everything there. People were still living in the rocks there. They carved out their houses and lived there with their animals. Some of them just making coins or jewelry to sell and make a living. One of the bedoeins (no idea how you write this, but I mean the people that still live in the mountains there without houses and just tents or the rocks) said he would give 5 camels for Sara. It was very funny! Only 5 because Camels are worth a lot he said. Sara was disappointed, she thought she'd be worth more, but obviously not.
We tried to shoot our own little Indiana Jones movie but it didn't work so well, but we had fun trying! If you ever get the chance to see this, you should really do it! Amazing!
Next day we arrived in Sharm El Sheikh (26th of April) but I had IPM so had to stay on board. We all had to help with check-in anyway because the new passengers arrived that day, and I had to do 'helping hand' at check-in. It took quite a while, but because we missed lunch we were allowed to have lunch in the passengers restaurant which was quite an experience. So much food to choose from! Not like our own Crew Mess food… but I'm not complaining. We get enough.
And then… Cairo (27th of April)! There was a full crew-excursion organized to go see the Pyramids! I had no IPM so I signed up to go there. We were about 40 people crew in a bus, and we left early in the morning. When I woke up I had a little cough but I thought it was fine. The bus was very cold though because of the air-conditioning and I was wrapped in my scarf and thick sweater.
The view outside was desert, desert, desert. When we entered Cairo we saw these ugly flats everywhere. They were just cubes of stones and cement that all looked the same, none of them finished. It was very poor everywhere and sad to see. However, whilst looking out over the city like this, you suddenly saw 2 points in the distance towering above the city, and I realized it was the Pyramids. You were able to see them from so far away! Crazy to see them for the first time, because they are so insanely famous! You can't help staring at it the whole time.
When we left the bus, the Egyptians started coming up to us immediately, putting all these goodies and little toy pyramids in our hands, saying they were gifts. It was all bull s*** of course because they wanted your money. They were very hard to get rid of though, i ended up putting everything on the floor and left. It was crazy and very annoying! Me and some others had paid extra to enter the 2nd pyramid (the only one you're allowed to enter) and we went to the entrance. It was very small hole of 1 by 1 meter to enter the pyramid. It was a 2 way road, because people were coming out as well, and it was all very claustrophobic. I didn't have much problems with it, but I could image others would. You kept walking down, and down, and down… then up, up, up and then you arrived in this room with a open grave in it. It wasn't very impressive, but the fact you were inside of the Pyramid was cool enough. It just felt surreal to be there! To actually touch and walk the pyramids.
We went back outside and on the 1st pyramid you were allowed to go up a little on the outside. Went up some blocks and it was super! It's incredible how they build these huge things. The biggest one was almost 150 meters high.
Hello guys! (30th of April, in Marmaris - Turkey)
I'm in Marmaris at the moment and I'm ONLINE! I'm not feeling very well so I'm gonna post my blog and go back to the ship! I'm also posting a lot of pictures on facebook that I'm gonna import to this blog after that, but it might take a while! Hang on!
Big kiss from Turkey!!!