Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Babes on the Rhapsody

Babes on the Rhapsody
2 October 2012
So, a few years ago, the Twisteds and I decided that we deserved a holiday.  And not just any holiday.  No, indeed, a holiday away from our families.  Because much as we love them, absence does make the heart grow fonder.   We wanted some undiluted girl time.  A rather appealing idea to be honest. 

And then, quite by chance we came across a charming opportunity.  A little bit of indulgence for us – surely we were entitled to it?  A two night boat cruise on the luxury ship, The Rhapsody.  Destiny came calling, so we jumped at the opportunity.  We decided on a cruise nine months away, giving all of us ample opportunity to save for the trip as well as a bit of spending money on the side.  The trip was really not costly at all, especially given the fact that we had quite a while to save up.  All meals and entertainment were included, so we would only need extra money for drinks.  Because it was a “quick” two night cruise out to sea and we didn’t actually dock at another port, the cruise was called “The Boat Cruise to Nowhere”.  Very aptly named.  We never saw land once we left Cape Town, but at night, on deck we saw twinkling lights in the distance – so we couldn’t have been that far from shore.

The Rhapsody comprised of a few levels.  There were the living quarters of the staff, the engine room and inner workings of the ship, various levels of accommodation – classed according to luxuriance.  We went with the budget choice.  We weren’t going to be spending lengths of time in our cabins at all.  For us it was going to be all about soaking up the whole experience on deck, in the various restaurants and clubs, on the pool deck, etc.  There were a few restaurants.  Quite a few pubs/clubs.  An entertainment area where they had nightly shows.  A little casino.  A small gym.  Upper decks with volley ball and a badminton table – good luck with playing that on a ship – especially as it was outdoors.  In fact lots to do.  Intermittently the crew put on events and little shows.  There was the fruit cutting and decorating – which entailed expert chefs cutting watermelons and the like into elaborate figurines.  Games around the pool deck.  Crew members teaching guests co-ordinated dance moves, with instructions like “roll the boat forward, roll the boat back, make a palm tree”, etc.  I am very camp as they say, so I just loved it and danced away with my two left feet.  Lots of fun and giggling.  Karaoke competitions, a dress-up dinner, clubbing, dancing and loads more.

My lingering memory of the trip is of laughing and laughing and laughing.  I never had to cook a meal, plan a meal or tidy up after a meal.  Nobody was thirsty, hungry, needed help with homework, needed to be dropped off somewhere or fetched somewhere.  What an extremely liberating feeling.  Complete and utter me time.  Indulgent, selfish and complete and utter fun.  And even better, was the fact that I was not contactable.  I know it sounds horrible that I loved it so much.  But for once, I was not glued to my cell phone.  The world did not come to a standstill without my presence (secretly much to my disgust).  My family coped marvellously and far from missing me, they loved all the treating done by Grant.  There were movies and DVD’s, Take-Away’s and trips to the Spur.  Clearly I symbolised vegetables, routine, homework and boring stability after my trip, whereas Grant was elevated to uber cool.  I think lots of spoiling will do that.  And well done to him.  I’m glad that they also had a good time in my absence as it helped with my guilt for leaving them.

I was a real pleb and absolutely loved every moment – soaking it all up.  I participated in everything – not willing to miss out on a thing.  I did however give the Karaoke thing a miss.  Happy to listen and enjoy, but not so happy to be a contestant.  Before we even left Cape Town Harbour, the entertainment crew had all the guests on deck and did their little show.  And with very little provocation, I was there in the thick of things dancing and singing away.  In fact I did lots and lots and lots of dancing.  Just a whole bunch of us gals together.  So unthreatening.  No one bothered us. 

We were 12 in total.  Cabins slept 4, so we decided to make up three of them.  It was us closest Twisteds, a much larger group before a few moved away, and then another friend or two to make up the numbers.  Sadly some were quite seasick, so for them the trip was a bit more challenging.  I was blessed in that I felt marvellous the entire time.  Not a single twinge of discomfort.  How lucky!

The food was fabulous, particularly as I didn’t have to cook it.  We sat down to breakfast, lunch and supper and enjoyed exotic cocktails at the bar.  During the day, we lounged around the pool, trying to soak up some rays.  We were quite disappointed as it was simply freezing on the pool deck.  And in the beginning we even covered ourselves with the towels that were provided to try and stay warm.  There was an ice cold sea breeze and it was overcast most of the time.  We sat around chatting, laughing, ordering drinks from the bar, eating ice-creams, playing backgammon and scrabble, doing a spot of people watching and just enjoying the whole experience of life in deck.  I don’t do public displays in my cozzie, so I lounged around the pool in a pair of long shorts and a strappy top.  But here’s the thing.  When you think you’re not burning when it’s overcast, you normally end up burning the most.  When we finally went inside after our lovely day outside, I was horrified to see that I resembled a lobster.  I have never, ever in my entire life been so sunburnt.  I think I even had a spot of sunstroke afterwards and was a most unbecoming red.  I had blisters on my legs and chest and I was extremely swollen.  I had bought a beautiful evening dress (my only evening dress) and borrowed a pair of high heeled shoes for the dress-up evening.  And then my whole look was ruined by my wavy tan line due to the top that I had been wearing.

Shortly after we had boarded the ship, guests were encouraged to go on deck, grab a drink and enjoy the show as we set sail so to speak.  It was not only due to the entertainment and sightseeing value, but it apparently also helped those that were prone to bouts of motion sickness.  We were all having a whale of a time, no pun intended.  And then we noted a very strange sight.  There was an elderly lady dressed most peculiarly.  Dressed at least 30 years younger than her actual age.  Very, very dolled up curly, bleached blonde hair, ridiculously short shorts, glamorous looking nonetheless.  We couldn’t help noticing her and commenting on it.  She clearly did the whole bling thing and was wearing a gold ensemble, so we quickly dubbed her “Goldie”. 

Now, picture this.  The following day, we were all lying about at the pool deck, when “Blondie” made yet another appearance.  This time, the outfit was indescribably.  The eensiest, teensiest, tinyest little strappy bikini I had ever seen.  And let’s face it – her body was good, particularly given her age, which must have been???  Hard to tell, because presumably she had spent quite a bit on her looks and took them quite seriously.    And tripling in her wake, was an odd looking man, sporting a very average looking camera (in fact my little mik-en-druk was way more high-tech than his).  And very soon, “Goldie” took to posing on deck, amidst all of the other passengers, as if the ship belonged to her, whilst odd-little-man snapped away.  The whole ship was quite amused, but thought how sweet.  And then after a few snappy shots, off they tootled again.  Well, that’s the end of that we thought.  Perhaps not.  Because within a very short period of time, “Goldie” was back again.  Once again with her odd-little-man with his camera in tow.  And if at all conceivable, her second bikini was even more risqué than the first.  A violent pink fur bikini, with matching stiletto’s of course.  At this point, us Twisteds renamed her “Pamela Koekemoer”.  And as if it was pre-decided, the whole ship settled down for a show of note.  She strutted her stuff up and down, posing for photos by the pool side.  All while odd-little-man did his camera thing.  We were spellbound.  There were even murmurs and questions as to whether she was part of the entertainment crew on the ship.  Surely she was part of our paid entertainment?  And not just another guest aboard?  It was too peculiar.  Some brave soul eventually approached the odd-little-man, who said that he was taking some photos for her modelling portfolio.  Truth be told, it looked a bit like they were making soft porn.  And probably bad soft porn at that.  And so the show continued.  She kept on appearing in more and more bizarre bikini’s.  Each looking smaller than the previous one.  Always accessorised with matching stiletto’s.  In hindsight it was quite sad, as she was the laughing stock.  People went from snickering politely to laughing out loud.  Personally, I found her behaviour very odd, but applaud her self-confidence and dedication.  Not long after, guests were posing with her for photos.  The show seemed to continue for hours on end.  With Pamela parading in increasingly crazy outfits while odd-little-man did his paparazzi thing.  Long will the memory of Pamela live on.

All in all, we had a once in a lifetime unique trip.  Never to be forgotten.  We had t-shirts printed for our little group – in the brightest pink of course.  Because there were 12 of us, our t-shirts were numbered.  And what the t-shirts said was “Babe # (1 – 12) – If lost, return to Captain’s Cabin”.  It was an unmitigated success and got us loads of attention from both the crew and fellow guests alike.  I will forever cherish my memories of a remarkable enjoyable and fun filled trip.  Never to be equalled – though I would like to very badly.  So how’s about it?  Should we do a little “Babes on the Rhapsody” reunion trip?  I’m game for sure.

At Cape Town Harbour - all packed up and ready to go
Great excitement by the kids on Mommy's behalf
The Rhapsody - before it got hit by "The Babes"
All 12 Babes lined up in number order - I was Babe #1 - just by accident
Settling into our cabins - hardly enough room to swing a cat in, but we weren't fazed at all
The lazy life lounging on deck before we set sail
Babes on deck chairs - this sure beats doing the school run
Our first sighting of Goldie/Pamela Koekemoer
I could get seriously used to this and we haven't even left the harbour yet!
The dancing girls strutting their stuff - getting the crowd going
The crew doing their little dancing welcome thing
Beautiful Thea having a ball
A wee bit of dancing on deck - Babes 9, 11 and 8
Singing and dancing along - getting into the groove
Going through the safety drill - Muster Station C - no Titanic for us, thank you very much!
Gail commented that the extreme splashing in the pool was surely due to one of the Twisted's taking a plunge - how rude! We were near hysterical at that point!
Sitting down to dinner
Karyn was extremely seasick as can be seen on this photo - she is a most unbecoming green and guzzled down ginger ale to try and help with the nausea
Supper time - Shari made a guest appearance before retiring to her cabin - feeling not too well either
My Gillie laughing madly - such a fun chick
Having a comfortable seat in the entertainment area before the start of the night's show
All dolled up waiting for the show to start
Someone made a clever chirp and the laughing began
And carried on
And on
Cowboy dancing girls - we also had a magician, hoola hoop girls, more dancing, comedian, etc
Gorgeous Gail - dancing, yes dancing - not something she does often
Looking into one of the clubs - big fat party on the go
Just chilling on deck
Breakfast at one of the restaurants
Breakfast done - ready for the day
About to hit the pool deck
Absolutely freezing at the pool deck
Playing games on the deck
Beautiful Rinette
Gail and Morne
Thea putting on a brave face - trying to doctor her nausea with a Coke
The lovely Shari
Wow! This dude's speedo was pretty out there!
Karyn and Gill, putting their feet in the water
I did not go further than ankle deep - words can not describe the numbing coldness of the water - pumped in fresh daily from the sea
View of the pool are from the running deck - prfft - the running deck!
Dear world - I present to you - Pamela Koekemoer (in ensemble one)
 Gill simply can't believe what she is seeing
Shari saw a gap and went and posed with Pamela for a pic
Fellow guests joining the posing fray
Ensemble two - pink fur bikini with matching stiletto's
The view from slightly behind with odd-little-man sporting his very ordinary camera
Pamela giving her adoring fans a good look
Games around the pool deck - Gail and Thea taking part in a biscuit eating competition - need I say more?
Ensemble number three - white fur bikini with all the trimmings
Just relaxing
Gill and Rinette - the Scrabble queens
A whole bunch of guys posing with Pamela for a pic - but check the cheeky photographer at the back, laughing her head off - she snuck up to the back and took a photo from behind
Gail and I
Odd-little-man helping Pamela into her little black number
And always the matching shoes
Really going overboard now
A match made in heaven - Pamela and pink speedo boy
All dolled up for our smart evening - so sunburnt I can barely move
The Karaoke evening. All was going "swimmingly" until a very, very Afrikaans, guy called Chris, stood up and proceeded to sing a very, very Afrikaans song. And then, completely out of the blue, Thea screamed very, very loudly "Chris, ek het jou lief!". We were completely hysterical. It was just so unexpected.
So poor Chris was still busy crooning his way through "Meisie, meisie" or some such song. We were still fallling around from Thea's "Chris ek het jou lief", when she piped up with "Chris ek wil jou baba he". Words can not describe how much we laughed. I very nearly peed in my pants.
Karyn and I enjoying the show
Rinette and Thea hamming it up for the camera
Thea and Gail looking ever so dashing
Check the wavy tan line
Windswept on deck
The whole ship having a blast - partying the night away
Lots of dancing on deck, and then Morne knocked some poor fellow's drink out of his hand
Just having sooo much fun
Thea and I dancing the night away
Without a doubt - one of my best holidays ever!

1 comment:

  1. Got to giggle Helene!
    These ous should pay you for advertising.
    I am so thrilled that you enjoyed it.
    Amber is going to love it!