Off to Cape Town

It’s hot today, but inside of the ship I’m freezing. It’s a kind of that dry metallic cold that gets straight into your bones and leaves you shivering. My virus – or whatever it is – still not gone, and I’m already tired of not having my full voice and hearing as if through the pillow. And this feeling of drowsiness and tiredness all the time.

Today is time for malaria medication, but I made my decision: I’m not taking any more. My head is messed up enough without these pills. Maybe it’s because of them my immunity went down. In any case, I don’t want them anymore. I’m done. Will wear my bugproof suit all around.
There’s no sun out, but it still burns my forehead. Today is a bit more wavy, and the wake on the sides of the ship comes in bigger, whiter waves. The sun gets my eyes even from behind the clouds, but I don’t wanna move. Up and down, up and down.
I am constantly seeking occupation. I can’t bear to stay alone for a long time. It comes in tides, this urge to fill in the emptiness. I move from group to group, but my throat is still dry, and it’s hard to talk.
My muscles are sore from yesterday’s dancing, or, more precisely, jumping. I haven’t been swimming for a while, and it shows. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe today? Just jump into this pool and not get out until the rehearsal?
We’re rehearsing a play for our acting class, Playwriting 101: A Rooftop Lesson. I’m the Teacher. That snobby geek that tells the Jumper and the Good Samaritan what to do until it backfires. Quite a role for me, always trying to organize things and make them work my way, and always ending up poorly.
Today in both classes we talked about South Africa and the apartheid. At the film class we saw a few scenes from that movie with Juliette Binosch and Samuel L. Jackson, about Truth and Reconciliation program in SA. And then this movie that we watched at our Global Music class, I don’t even remember the title – the movie about the music that started a fight and arose from the fight for freedom. Learning the history makes you think, and these are sad thoughts. I feel this part of the voyage will give me plenty of food for thoughts.
If only thoughts started the engine.

24.10
Seals. Seals everywhere. I mean it. Seals – or sea lions – whatever these tiny adorable creatures jumping all around the ship are. The MV Explorer stayed in Namibia yesterday for refueling (of course we weren’t let out), and now we’re sailing Namibian waters, next stop being South Africa. Hard to believe we’re already more than halfway through the voyage, hard – and scary. But I’m excited for Cape Town, minding the effort it took me to get the goddamned visa.
In Morocco, camel trek was the trend; slave castles in Ghana; now everyone’s going on a safari. I mean, have you seen the prices? $500 for a two-day trip, how’d you like it? $180 being the cheapest for the one-day trip? So my guess is, if I’m not finding anything more reasonably-priced, I’m just not going on a safari. I can survive that!
The next trends are: shark cage diving, skydiving, and bunjee-jumping. Sounds fun, right? I don’t feel like doing any of it for some mysterious reason. I’d better go to a museum. They say there are awesome museums in Cape Town. Haven’t really visited one since Lisbon! Shame!
Honestly, I would’ve taken one more week at sea. Or maybe two. It’s hard to believe how small the world is nowadays. You can’t even spend three weeks at sea where it took months for the sailors of the past!
Two days ago we had a Halloween party in the evening. But Halloween is October 31st, you’ll say – well, logic is not applicable in this particular case, yet we still had fun. I haven’t ever been to a Halloween party, and my fantasy was off, so the only thing I came up with was painting a scar across my chest (with lipstick, brown eyeliner and red shades), putting on a little black dress and pretending I was the Queen of Hearts. Thanks to creative friends, who added carnivalish makeup and the Queen of Hearts playing card (it was even harder to remove the card’s paint from my chest than that damn scar which just didn’t want to go). I must confess that I know nothing about American parties, I know no songs or dance moves and all. So I was just jumping around, trying to note what other people were doing, and sort of fit in. I’m afraid I still failed. But imagine jumping up and down when the ship is rocking! That feeling of zero gravity. Boy, was it fun! I also noticed some time ago that my flats are quite slippery, and thus legit for sliding the ship’s carpets, especially that little slope when you exit the dining on deck 6. So when the party was over and most people left, I tried a different tack – the party was by the pool on deck 7, and the ship was rocking from left to right, right to left. So what I did was wait till the ship started bending to either side, follow the move real quick and slide the deck. It worked! I kept doing this for a while. People chilling by the bar knew me all too well to stare. Whatever.
Yesterday was the Founders Day, recognized by most students as Big Cake Day, I feel. Ashley did an awesome presentation on SAS history, and then people who also sailed on the other voyages took the mic to tell stories – of, say, how Fidel Castro threw a huge carnival/celebration for the entire day and night, just for Semester at Sea, and personally met the students and talked to them and answered their questions for a few hours. Or how SAS was the first to return to Vietnam. Or how it was to have Desmond Tutu aboard for the whole voyage. But the cakes (four huge anniversary cakes) were still the highlight, right?
So, it’s today, and here I am, alone by the window at the 6 deck dining, watching the seals jump out of the water and dive back, little dark pieces of shiny fur. Sometimes three may jump up at once, and you can hardly say “wow”, ’cause in a blink of an eye they’re gone.
WOW!!!
Sorry. They’re just adorable. Someone just saw a shark’s flipper in the distance, but I couldn’t see it. We definitely should start this mermaid gossip, you know, “we saw a mermaid”!
In any case, I’d better finish my lunch and go do something for the world. The pool’s still empty. John, the hotel director (and probably the biggest troll on the ship, can’t but love him) said they’ll fill the pool sometime if the seas will stay calm. Basically, they don’t fill it ’cause it’s cold. Rita, the Voice, started dubbing the Fahrenheit temperature in Celsius, and I figured out that yes, it’s pretty damn cold out there, +12. Although I don’t really care. I’m getting used to cold. But it’s quite a change from Ghana, I’d say.
Nevermind. Time to slide the slope and go do some work. Or play some ukulele… Oh wait, I haven’t told you? Hannah lent me her uke and a book “Ukulele for dummies”. I’m enjoying it way too much… My fingers aren’t even that sore anymore. And Rachel’s goal for now is to make me learn “I won’t give up” so that we could play a duo. I’m down!
Oh, and my virus is pretty much gone, thank heavens. So I’m back to business.

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