The Esther-esque Escapade of a Swaggering Swashbuckler
Everybody must want to be a pirate at some point. When I reached the said point, it was rather late. I was already in my early twenties. Forgive me, I grew up in the middle of nowhere where the word ‘piracy’ was only associated with illegal practice of book production and distribution. Oh and where good books were hardly accessible, come to think of it.
I had been dreaming of playing a pirate role. I even gladly wore an eye patch to teach for the whole week (when it was only necessary for the first two days, for medical reason) once. Just so you know, the students loved it. One of them actually offered to paint it black so I could look more pirate-ish. When I attempted to speak the way Jack Sparrow did, they would all go crazy, calling me the coolest teacher ever. Those kids were so easy to satisfy, I tell you.
The only problem was, I never had the slightest insight into the pirate business. It remained a buried obsession, which later would emerge to take its revenge. What I thought was impossible to be fulfilled, were actually easy to do.
All it took was one word: Yes! And that simple word started my escapade to seven islands in just three days. Herewith, my boring account of the most venturesome weekend I’ve had yet. Yes, I always have this knack for turning the most exciting experience into the dullest piece of writing.
When I arrived at work, I was asked whether or not I was willing to go on a tour to five resort islands. Spending my weekend in Caribbean-like islands? I would be crazy to say no to that, especially when it was free of charge. So I thought.
What I didn’t know, it would be a hell of a story. I should’ve seen it coming. I really should‘ve read the sign. I mean, you didn’t get the information on where to meet until it was 20 minutes before the due time. You were told to be at the muster point at 5 pm but nobody was there until 7.30. They promised you to depart at 7 but the boat didn’t start the engine until it was 11. I should have changed my mind. Why the bloody hell did I not have a second thought? Why in the world could I not see the portentous omen? Because the aforementioned were only the beginning.
Next thing you knew, you were silently blaming yourself for being so naïve. You were supposed to arrive at the first destination 5 hours later but you ended up sleeping on the still boat not even halfway to the desired island. Because the boat captain said he was freaking sleepy. And then he decided to make port in an unexpected island. Not on our list, mate!
The boat crews offered what they called ‘meal’. I called it Indomie. For heaven’s sake, had I wanted Indomie, I could’ve been back at home fixing two packets for myself with half-cooked egg!
When he miraculously decided to get out on open water again, the wind blew against our direction, making it longer, way longer to reach the first island on our list. Yeah, we were screwed. To cap it all off, my photographers were heavy smokers. I hate the smoke so much I was plotting to push them off the boat. I was sweating a lot as the sun beat down. I began to dream of a wonderfully cold bath while the sun was relentlessly singing a different tune.
We somehow made it to the supposed-to be first island, at long last. The first thing I wanted to do was take a shower lest I exploded in a frothy, unkempt spew of molten lava, somewhat hot and sticky. But unsurprisingly the luxurious resort where you could find glamorous ferries and even a yacht coming ashore didn’t have toilets for one-day visitors. You were only allowed to use the facility if you were staying there. Perfect.
Apparently my body odour began to disturb them they finally let me use the staff bathroom where I spent more than one hour for God-knew-what. The very second I stepped out of the bathroom door, I felt better. Very much alive. I was even willing to interpret for some different foreign tourists. I had never known such small things could’ve done big wonders. And let’s not start on how my appetite got back. As the mock-Queen Elizabeth puts it, I may have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a concrete elephant.
*I’ll finish this later. Need to fix me dinner.*
[Of course I totally forgot to continue writing after dinner. You didn’t honestly think I would, did you?]
After proving what I said about the elephant’s stomach to be true (by devouring whatever they served), I was being exceptionally delightful to anyone around me, making the job so much easier to do. What with people being cooperative. My jovial mood really helped in one way or another.
I actually got to play on the beach with some children, building sand castles which quickly got swept out to the sea and disappeared under the foamy waves. And that was the good end to it. Nothing much to tell from the trip to the next island. Other than the scorching hot sun shining hard, I had no complaint. The wind was not being rude like before which I can only be grateful now. Too bad the swimmingly journey was the shortest trip in the entire series. Good things never last long indeed.
I began to suspect that it was impossible to have fun in this adventure without having a few drops of evil delight. That island was plain. Plain? I think I’m being nice here (oh yeah, I’m all politeness). I meant dull. Had we not moved on to the next island, I would’ve died of boredom. For a second, I thought the raging sea would be better than the uneventful stay in this island. For a second.
*Okay, the delay was not a good idea. This is getting less and less exciting every second. I should’ve finished it the other day. I should’ve done it before fixing the dinner in the first place. Oh well, I’ll finish this. Eventually. Sometime between now and death. My death. Unless you die first.*
We left the not-so-special island, and so the journey continued. And abandoned. The boat crews weren’t exactly being professional. Nor consistent. Nor cooperative. And many other nors (what?!). As I quite resolved that my life should not be in vain, I tried to feel good about it. And my positive attitude only lasted like one hour. The captain’s lack of expertise led us to another error. Wow.
What happened to us? We hit a pile of menacing reefs. And he refused to move an inch until the tide was high, which was 6 hours later. The guys started to smoke again. It remains a mystery to me how they could miss the fact that it was inappropriate to smoke in a lady’s presence. Yeah, on the boat there were only one girl and seven guys. I was outnumbered so I just had to get over it.
Six hours on the still boat. The boat crews kept chugging themselves with coffee and ginger drink. Well, at least it wasn’t anything alcoholic. The other four guys made it look like smoking was essential to their being, as if they would’ve died in an instant had they given it a break. I could’ve died of anxiety and bottled frustration.
At 1 am, the boat started to move. Just in time to keep the angry bitch in the bottle. I’m not kidding here. I was that frustrated.
We finally landed in another island where the lodging had already been prepared. The only problem was, it was three in the morning and our contact person could not be reached. His phone was off. I called the girl who arranged the whole thing. She didn’t pick up the call either so I sent her a text (went astray once, but hey, I was supposed to be sleeping then). I was so relieved she got the text and called me back. She didn’t help, surely enough but it was good to know that she was awake for whatever reason.
We asked a random person whether or not he knew our contact person. He said he did, and he took us to the lodging. The person in question was asleep when we got there. Unfortunately, either he was so desperate to fish for money out of our pockets or we were too tired to look for verification, we didn’t confirm whether or not he was the same person we were looking for. We didn’t find out until the morning came.
Not the best sort of accommodation but I could’ve used a bed. And bathroom. When we were fresh in the morning, we did what we were sent to do. We found the island more fulfilling. Like I’ve said, in this trip danger went hand in hand with fun. I sort of wished we could’ve gone straight home. After all, the trip was supposed to end on Sunday. That day. Alas, ‘twas not so. Two more islands on the list.
Just because there were two more on the list, it didn’t mean it had to be that way. Flexibility was the key word here. I didn’t know what we had done wrong but whatever it was, the sea was definitely unforgiving. We had to make a visit to the nearest island unless we would choose to say, “Goodbye, World! You’ve been a bitch.”
I would like to refrain from any attempt to bring me back to that awful moment. It is not a pleasant memory to keep and absolutely not a lovely thing to share. What happened next was when we finally came ashore, I still managed to stay calm. I walked tall, kept my composure together and found a place to sit.
Fast forward to about five minutes later. I took out my phone and burst in tears. I was choking, too. It was horrible. A stranded island. I didn’t quite fancy a Robinson Crusoe sort of adventure but if it was the only way to keep us safe, I didn’t really have any other choice, did I?
When the crazy sea seemed a bit eased out, we got out on open water again. Forget about the list. Our priority was to stay alive. So we made another unscheduled visit to another island as we all were quite paranoid. Lucky the chief of the island was a friendly fellow, he let us stay at his house for the night. I wouldn’t say no to proper food and bathroom. Never.
Apparently it was the best for us. The next day, we found the sea a little less scarier than before. At that point, I wouldn’t dare hope for a good time. I just wanted to get it done and over with. The guys seemed to notice that I was the least eager to be in the escapade even for another second, so they didn’t say anything about possible extension. Wise, indeed.
The rest of the time in those two islands was uneventful. Okay, maybe it was, but I’m too lazy to give you the complete account. Ranting is no easy task. But in fairness to anything, I’ve just found out that I picked the worst time of the year to travel by water. Next time, I’ll do more research. Keep a weather eye on the horizon.