Can’t help but feel a bit sorry for ‘Dave and Lisa’s Sunday BBQ’ photos wedged next to my ‘Snorkelling in French Polynesia’ pics on the news feed on Facebook...
However, today was a thirteen hour sea day...
...good day in jewellery though, Mr and Mrs Wong come in for a chat and she ends up buying an H.Stern necklace for $15,000 – Mr Wong goes a bit quiet but he was outnumbered and she’ll be wearing it tonight – along with the matching earrings. Have to go into the office and jump up and down a little bit after they left. Nothing beats the buzz of a great sale to lovely guests.
Although I’m tired it’s a Toga party tonight, crew officer looking slightly worried and asking us not to do anything ‘too silly’ with the bed sheets. Don’t know what she could be thinking. Transform myself and my cabin-mate into Roman goddesses with the use of ribbon, lots of eyeliner and ingenious use of safety pins in 15 minutes flat after work.
A guest asked me today if we will see whales tomorrow. Unfortunately my Crystal ball was broken so had to tell them I couldn’t be sure. Working on a ship means sometimes I am expected to be not only a jeweller, but a tour guide, weatherman and general fountain of knowledge to our guests!
Not long now till Sydney overnight - I’m so excited!! Get to meet up with some old friends who worked on the ship – it seems I have friends all over the world now. Today seemed like a long day – I am tired, my face aches from having to look permanently perky and approachable and my feet are hurting by the time I finish, but knowing Aussie is just around the corner makes it all worthwhile. Quiet day as it was the Grand Gala Buffet and the guests were all indulging in their fave pastime of eating instead of shopping!!
‘Croatian Illumination’ tonight in the crew bar – with over 70 different nationalities on the ship we always seem to be celebrating someone’s public holiday...
Sydney gorgeous Sydney!! Managed to surprise even myself and get up for the 5am sail in – a sight that takes some beating. Had a great day yesterday, met up with my friends – we sat out and had a bottle of wine overlooking the Harbour Bridge and the ship – it was lovely to reminisce about our adventures – from Safari in Tanzania, to... scuba diving in the Caribbean, to crazy nights out in Mumbai – no one understands quite like another shoppie!
Decided it would be great fun to go out on a Jet boat in the harbour, where we spun 360 degrees numerous times outside the Opera House (*note* the red ponchos they hand out do not keep you dry. And it’s not a good idea to go into the Circular Quay Ice Bar with wet hair. Achooo).
Afterwards we took a much more sedate ferry to Manly and admired all the surfers (for their technical prowess of course)... We naturally sampled the famous Sydney nightlife but my lips are sealed on those events!
Missed home a bit this evening though – it’s my best mates birthday and they are all going out... send a text but can’t help but feel a bit out of touch. But then again I know they are all jealous of me and don’t really understand that sometimes I am jealous of them spending their Saturdays trawling Topshop.
A busy evening on board, guests in and out all night. About to close when a group of Mexican guests come in – they stay until well after midnight when they head off to the casino, hopefully to win some cash to spend with me! Late night means I miss the crew spinning class, which I convince myself I would have gone to if I hadn’t been stuck talking about the merits of Tanzanite...
Had crew drill this morning...Orange is so not my colour. Good opportunity to check out any new crew (A girls got to keep her options open hasn’t she?!) A late sail tonight so no work, yippee...
After drill we jump into a hire car and head out of Melbourne to Philip Island here we see 1,000 fairy penguins run up onto the beach, I love days like these.
Boo hoo! Get rudely awoken this morning – the ship is going to get in very late to Perth due to stormy weather so the shops are opening up. Regretting staying up late at the Band Night on Deck 5 now, ugh. The ship is rocking and rollin’ a bit so decide to stay away from the impersonation of scrambled eggs in the crew mess, funnily enough...
Morning was spent securing my stock down with sellotape and string. This does not look very glamorous. The Captain keeps giving announcements about wind speed but the guests come in to quiz me on arrival times, suspecting I have insider knowledge. The sundry shop is doing a roaring trade in sea sickness tablets but I feel surprisingly OK and therefore a little bit smug, although walking down the corridor without looking like you’ve had one too many vodka and sodas is tricky.
When we eventually dock everyone feels the need to set foot on terra firma and we head into Freemantle and have a shoppie dinner, during which we discuss the upcoming Crew Olympics. Have decided I am more cheer leader than champion but we all get roped into the tug–of–war by our manager (no pun intended).
In paradise and stuck on board for ‘In Port Manning’ duty – although I pretend to be very annoyed and huff about a lot, secretly this is a great time to do boring but necessary things like laundry, tidy my cabin, think about going to the gym and phone home. Have a lovely chat with family and friends.
Miss them lots, but think they get a bit annoyed when I describe Bora Bora as overrated. Hmm. Glad to hear it’s raining in Blighty too. I’m off to crew deck to get a few hours sunbathing in before work...
Rotate some stock in the shop tonight so the guests have new things to spy in the windows – a couple come in to buy his and hers Rado watches. Mrs Wong comes back in to look at the ring to match her Stern pieces... fingers crossed...
Wow. Saw Komodo dragons today on tour organized for the crew. Amazing. Fantastic. Was a bit scared when the Ranger said they can smell blood from a mile away, but after a quickly checking a) my 2 week old paper cut b) any tastier looking crew members I could push in front of me should the need arise, I was fine.
Tonight stay late after work to help out the other shoppies change their stock over in the clothing store and merchandise window displays – somehow also manage to persuade myself I need some lovely new makeup and a pair of designer sunglasses. My bank balance is much safer when I stay out of here...
The portside around Bali is a bit like a Sunday market on steroids. Colours, cloths and cottons fly everywhere. Bracelets are wound around wrists, stories are weaved and Kylie buys a unique one-of-a-kind wooden chess set, only to find out so did 300 other crew members.
Five of us decide to catch a jeep – our taxi driver for the day doesn’t speak much English, but he smiles and nods a lot, which we take as an encouraging sign, and soon we are headed off around the island.
Peace only descends once we push up into the mountains and we all begin to grin like buffoons at the sights around every corner.
Being covered in monkeys isn’t usually my idea of a good afternoon, but the big scary one had obviously told all his mates that at some point earlier in the day I had had a banana in my bag and they were checking this information out. Alas, when the bananas were unforthcoming, they decided to turn their attention to Tim’s crisps. Sensible monkeys.
Back on board, sans monkeys, we have a champagne evening outside the shop. Two of the girls model jewellery and mingle with the guests. It creates a buzz and the Jewellery store is busy all night. I sell some beautiful tanzanite pieces, which is great as it is to some guests who came to my earlier lecture ... after work it’s a pizza in the crew bar, then to bed.
Another sea day as we physically and mentally prepare for a new round of guests – the disembarking passengers visit the boutiques to say their goodbyes. We have an arrival of a big delivery in Singapore. It means an early start and we may not get off the ship until the evening but I’m sure we’ll find the energy to go explore later!
During my break I go out on deck to get some fresh air, see if I can spy land, and reflect. You can have the very worst of times on a ship. You will probably get your heart broken, be so tired you can hardly stand up –but be expected to put on a great performance - and get stuck on IPM duty in the one port you came on this contract to see. But you will also be guaranteed to have the very best of times. Whilst it is hard being away from family and friends (and Tesco’s – seriously, work on a ship for 6 months, go home, and I challenge you not to be amazed by your local supermarket), I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything. You need to be reasonably tough, but life at sea will reward you with not only an endless social life, but sounds, sights and experiences you will never forget.