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March 17, 2012. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

It was a lazy Saturday morning. I found myself with nothing to do.  I usually need to work on Saturdays when I am on business trips out of the country. That day was different.

I got an invitation from Steve and Kwang Yi. They want to check out the ongoing travel fair in the city. With no better alternative to consider, I counted myself in.

I went to the fair just to snoop around and grab as much freebies as I can get. Take for instance this pic.

I saw this kangaroo mascot approaching me carrying cute give away fans. I LOVE FREEBIES and I got several plus a pic with the mascot to boot.

I didn’t realize that it could be a premonition to my surprise trip to Australia 2 months later. Or maybe I was just overanalyzing. Anyway, I digress. These two guys came to the fair with a mission. They want to book a cruise.

It has been Steve’s lifelong dream to be in a Star Cruise. And now that he found the perfect person to finally fulfil that dream, there they went ready to get listed.

And there I was too. I was enjoying listening as the salesperson explains to Steve what are included in the cruise. I sat there patiently. Neat stuff. Malaysia and Thailand. 4 days 3 nights. Unlimited food. Superb ship performances. Shore excursions to Phuket and Krabi. Sand and sea. Good life.

And then I heard Steve closing the deal. He is booking for three. Wait… I was like… “What the hell?! Who is this third person joining you on your special trip?! Who the hell is this third person joining and intruding your time together?” Steve gave me a weird look. “You’re joining laaaaa.”

My jaw dropped. I was like… What?!!! Are you crazy?! I did not sign up for this. One, I find the trip too pricey. And two, I don’t want to be a third wheel!

Arguing with Steve is pointless. Too pointless that he even managed to convince me to book for two persons, just in case I find a boyfriend before the cruise. He was a little too optimistic. After paying right there and then for the trip (which I must say I was totally unprepared), I have to rake my brain to figure out who that 4th person will be.

Actually, after everything has sank in, thinking for that fourth person was a no-brainer. That spot belonged to my sister. Who else? My sparring partner and forever partner in crime.

And when I did manage to inform her a few days later that I booked her a cruise, there were no hurling of accusations of who the hell am I arranging her life thinking she would want to join me in the cruise. After asking me for the date and marking it in her calendar she started daydreaming on what clothes to bring.

October 14-17, 2012

I chose the date for the cruise. With my weird schedule of not knowing where I will be one week from now, it is so difficult to forecast the future. But since those dates were closest to my birthday, I can always beg and plea to my boss to let me go on those days. It is my birthday after all. And I think the omens are up. It is Super Star Libra. My sign is Libra. Yeah right, self-serving bias. Everything is about me.

Anyway, I was so scared that my sister won’t be able to make the trip. She is still recovering from her spinal fusion surgery and I am not so sure if she is up for it. Guess what?! I learned that an upcoming cruise hastens recovery. She was up and about ready to get in that ship.

We were the only Filipino cruisers in Super Star Libra. It didn’t mean we felt left out. Most of the staff are Filipinos! And you can just imagine the joy they feel everytime they overhear us talking in Filipino. “Pilipino kayo?!” And then they would welcome us so warmly. Haaaaaaaa! We felt special.

We were in deck 7. The salesperson managed to convince us to book a room with seaview. I couldn’t care less. I won’t be spending time in the ship looking out the window anyway.

If there is one thing my sister and I realized while in the cruise, it is that we can come up with a million excuses not to get up from bed and leave our room unless necessary, necessary being eating and going on shore excursions. Steve and Kwang Yi were telling us we paid so much and we were just in the room all the time. They were saying, “Why don’t you use the jacuzzi? Why not take a dip in the pool? Why not go to the gym and sweat some pounds? Why not wake up early to see the sunrise?” Are they crazy? We were perfectly fine. This is the life. Lying in bed is the life. 🙂

Food is overflowing. My sister is giving me that nasty look everytime I will get up and refill my plates. I was just unstoppable. We have breakfast, lunch, tea break, dinner and supper everyday. Look who never missed a meal? I will drag my lazy butt to the different restaurants to eat even when I am full. And I would literally get angry with my sister everytime it takes her an awful lot of time to prepare and get dressed because I was counting the time left for me to try all the dishes. She was wondering what the hell is wrong with me. Well, I am hungry. That’s what’s wrong.

The upper deck is where most of the activities are happening. The pool looks very inviting but because of one “snooty” reason that is too snooty to reveal, my sister and I decided to pass.

Performances at night in the ship’s lounge were also very entertaining. Some ala broadway show, magic show, adult show (that my sister and I promised to attend but we slept our butt out and missed it) and a cruise staff performance whiled the night. Taking photos was prohibited except for the cruise staff performance.

My most favorite show was that of the cruise staff, though. Not because it was perfect but because my heart was swelling with pride. Most of the performers are Filipinos. Haaaaaaaa!

To say that I enjoyed the trip is an understatement though I am not really sure if I will do it again. I realized that walking on real streets and seeing people in “real” action is more of my cup of tea. The shore excursions made up for it though I must say it was a tad too short.

But no complaints. It was a grand trip. It was a grand gift. It was a grand welcome to my third decade in this world. It deserves a grand gratefulness.

So thirty, it is official. Welcome aboard.

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