My life has not changed at all. As in the last ten years, it is blessed by the stars and eschewed by the men. Be not afraid if time passes and there is no word from me, be not anxious by the tram-station nor blue when you're playing, because I have taken my destiny in my own hands. I have thought in light-years and I have suffered in seconds.
The following day is probably the most adventurous. We have decided to go and visit the Moon Springs, a set of small waterfalls lost within the pluvial jungle. The bus trip alone gives new meaning to the word ‘tight’ as I am crammed in a bus where I literally cannot move, since I am crushed between the wall, the abysmally low roof, and a woman the size of a shark from the Jurassic. I am cemented in a position which is almost comfortable what with the fact that I am bottled and curled up without having to stress any of my own muscles, until more or less halfway through the trip my left testicle sees just how much more fulfilling its existence will be if it starts itching like a maniac for as long as my bag is kept between my arms and my legs. Delightful. Thankfully the trip is not that long and I manage to extricate myself from the bus half an hour later (by which time the testicle has stopped itching, of course). I step down, so does the gigantic woman (to the driver’s relief – throughout the journey, he looked doubtful that his vehicle would make it up the mountain), and so does Calum.
We take a trip through the springs, and they are indeed beautiful, but also very hazardous. At one stage I’m climbing under a waterfall to reach a beautiful lake and my feet are trying for holds on the submerged rocks. ‘Watch out for the hole,’ Calum tells me from behind, and one second later I hear a sound as of a large animal crashing into the pond, and I turn to see Calum sitting down within two feet of water in the position of a Zen monk with the waterfall drumming on the back of his neck, looking strangely meditative as he tries to get the camera out of the water. I find the view hilarious, and I laugh protractedly and with gusto, so hard in fact that I end up losing grip from those bloody stones and my legs go wheeling under me as I slip nipples-first into that tadpole-bonanza. When me and Calum step out of the water, we get in an argument. I cannot remember what the reason was, but that’s some wrung underpants if I’ve ever known any.
We go back to the ship, change, and spend the rest of the day on the beach.
We repeat the latter process for a few more days. It seems that the best way of spending your time in whatever island of the Caribbeans you’re sojourning in, is to spread a towel on the sand, lay your back on it, and get roasted like a cod for six hours. Absolutely amazing. After the fourth day of this I’m feeling quite tired so I go to sleep early.
It is a silent, lovely night. Calum has gone to enjoy some air on the deck while the ship sails through the darkness. Stars are gleaming through the night and I doze off to sleep with the gentle message of the waves whispering in my ears. At around two a.m. I am woken with a start by the sound of a giant walrus vomiting in our toilet while banging its head on the walls, or something which sounds very much close to it. ‘What the hell?’, I think. The door to the bathroom opens, and Calum staggers out, looking three sheets to the wind. The fact that he has awakened me seems not be a cause of concern for him, the pecksniffian bastard..
Despite the bags under my eyes, the curiosity gets the best of me.
‘Well, what’s up with you?’ I enquire, slurring.
‘Those English girls are fitbirds of the prime category... Oh Christ, I’m dying...’ he says, beating me to the slurring competition.
‘You pulled?’ I can’t believe it.
‘With those English girls I was speaking with the other day?’
‘Yeah. The very ones.’
‘Well, I’m not surprised you vomited, then.’
‘Oh, that’s right, I forgot I was speaking with Erik Von Markovik.’
‘Bloody hell. You must have been drunk like an Irishman to snog one of those. Even the sea-gulls stay away from our ship when they’re taking a walk on deck.’
‘Bitter grapes, eh?’ he sneers. The son of a bitch. It’s true I wouldn’t have minded some salsa while on this cruise, but certainly not with those warthog-faced gals I met the other night. They looked like they had been pulled out of Warhammer. I’m about to tell him that when he reaches his bed and dozes off in the space of six seconds.
I am thinking of getting a proper eight-hour sleep now, especially as the next day we are expected to dock and reach home at last, so there should be no further reason to get up early and go exploring, yet at seven in the morning a bell goes off like a thermal nuclear alarm and everybody gets up and starts yapping. Me and Calum sort of stagger towards the bridge, and a sailor explains to us that it is a drill, selected for this day in a ‘clever move’ by the captain, who did not want to interfere with our holidays when we were coming to the new islands. We should wear the inflatable jackets, we are told, and wait by the rail. I turn down to work the fiddle, and when I look up I realise that my comrade is nowhere to be seen. ‘Hullo,’ I think. ‘I wonder where he is.’
I discover the answer five minutes later, when the same sailor drags him by the arm to my side, him looking very pale.
‘Where have you been?’ I ask.
‘I was vomiting,’ he says, almost out of breath, ‘off the other rail. Then this idiot came along and started ranting that I was supposed to stand on the opposite side of the ships. I almost threw him overboard when he grabbed my elbow. Never heard anything so absurd in my life.’
I tell him: ‘If the ship is sinking, you think they’d wait for you to finish vomiting?’
‘If the ship is sinking and I vomit in the safety boats, I’m going to be thrown to the fishes anyway. Might as well close in dignity.’
He has some logic himself, the poor lad. So that’s pretty much how we closed with our own cruise – high-flying our flags of dignity. Oi begorrah! Onward ye masses!