Letters from the sea- final boat moments

One would think that after a week of being on the boat, we would completely relish being on land, especially the mainland. But here with are, back in Volos– and sitting here on the boat.

It’s a bittersweet moment, having the group back sharing the last few moments together.

There’s P&E, the warmest Greek couple living 11 hours outside Greece. The love they have for each other touches me profoundly– the quiet touches, the way they share a private joke, they are so attuned to each other, They call each other Agape. When Denn and I grow up we want to be E&P.

There is D&E, who live close to Paris. Funny and smart and totally hilarious to be with. My mental snapshot of them, is of them gently snoozing against each other with the rocking of the boat, with their hands entwined around each other’s. They take such good care of each other. E loves to swim, and is always the first off and the last back on; D is the unofficial chef-on-board, whipping up tomato-and-cucumber-yoghurt salads and keeping track of our food and fluid inventory.

there’s J–who really is the pulse of the team. He knows the best places to dine, club and drink– and an absolute hoot to be around. He does the bulk of the sailing, our tireless anchor-man. Charming and witty and very quick minded, J will be missed much. We are looking forward to hosting him in Sg since he will be moving closer geographically, to us! J’s laughter is a sound I’d not forget.

Then there’s A– quietly confident and secured, our skipper and friend. I enjoy the comfortable silence sitting with A, and reading. He was the first one on the boat I truly felt comfortable with, simply because of his quiet nature. He smokes his little rollies endlessly. his patience and calmness settles me, greatly, even in turbulent seas.

It has been a wonderful week, and I will remember it, always. Complete strangers — to close friends; it’s amazing how shared experiences of sharing boat, cabins, and stories bond us. Over too soon, but lifelong friendships have surely been forged.

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Letters from the sea- skopelos

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Nightfall in Skopelos, Greece. This is the view from my seat in this little Internet cafe that we’ve found. Denn is clocking some billable hours and I am still reading the Alex Cross series, by James Patterson.

Had a large part of the day to ourselves, on this pretty island. It’s my favourite so far. Surreptitiously, due to bad weather, we’ve been somewhat stuck in this island and I could not ask for more.

This is also known as the mama Mia island, where it was filmed. The white-walled red-roofed homes staggered on the cliff side, the beautiful sea of the prettiest deep blue. Literally glittering in the sunlight, like a million little stars.

It is our second last night on the boat and I know, with surety that I will miss life on our little boat home. the soft cradling of the sea rocking you to sleep, the tiny bathroom that we had to learn to make do with, the awesome people we have found ourselves with. The smell of suntanning oil. The laughter of each of our friends. The insatiable desire for coffee. The ropes that run everywhere around the deck.

If you had told me a week ago I’ll be enjoying being stuck with a bunch of strangers, sharing a tiny space and being in the summer-sun, I’d have laughed my head off. I need my personal space, obviously. I’ve never quite been known to be the easiest person to be with, much less live with. But here I am, feeling a little pang of reluctance that I have only 2 nights left of this.

Skopelos is beautiful. There is something sensual about its slate streets and soft spoken waiters. Fell in love with Greek yoghurt. I can stare forever at the tidy rows of boats along the pier, with their naked masts and ropes. I wish I had a better night camera to capture this moment, but since I don’t, I shut my eyes and try to imprint it in my memory.

A friend on the other boat says to me, a week of sailing holiday feels like two weeks, and it is true. We have officially only reached a week of our trip, but I feel like its been eons. I (not so) secretly covert the skipper’s life. What an awesome job he has. He reports only to his boss, Sea, gets help from his secretary, Wind and gives instructions to his underling, Sails.

Skopelos. I’ll be back.

Letters from the sea- in the middle of nowhere

So this is our real Greek Holiday. We stay on a boat that sleeps 8, in really tight quarters. Thrown into such circumstances, we become quick chums since well, there’s no where to escape to if you don’t like them (and we like the people on our boat very much), and bowel movements are part of everyday conversations. There is clearly such a thing as group-poop-anxieties.

Nonetheless, this is our room:

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The boat is a beautiful 40 ft boat, with lovely white and blue sails. We have to admit though, we only sail about 30 percent of the time, often leaving the work to the motors. Our skipper Alex, is exactly what I imagine a Greek man would look like with the scruffy face, curly hair, silent type. Looks like he just walked off the set of 300. I haven’t taken a picture with him yet, although he constantly laughs at me being so slow to move.

Pictures of life on a boat:-

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Letters from the sea – Volos busride

We are travelling with a completely international motley crew of lawyers, computer scientists, bankers, historians, a 3-masters-1-phd student, and boy it’s been a riot. And this is only one-third of the whole sailing crew. They are all a very intellectual bunch, and discussions have ranged from inertia not being a force (ask Denn, I don’t understand this one), to bathing suits, to museums, histories of our country, the fact that our country banned chewing gum.

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On the bus on the way to Volos, the port where we will take the boat out on our sailing adventure. There is wifi on the bus!! Not much pictures so far as I try not to take out my phone too much. One of our friends already got pick pocketed on the prev public bus on the way to the bus station. He kept his blackberry in the cargo pants pocket near his knees. Naturally he is a bit bummed out but reports have been filed. Thank God everything else was safe. I look like an absolutely crazy bag lady, but I pack everything real tight.

Since this bus we are on is a private bus, Denn is, again working. We head off on a 9 day sailing trip where we will be island hopping the Greek Islands! Excited much! Keeping fingers crossed that everything is ok back home!

Letters from the sea – Doha transit

It’s been a harrowing day with both Denn and I working till the last possible minute before we had to leave for the airport. My darling nephews came to the airport to see us off. In Singapore, our airport is considered much like a fancy shopping mall, with locals thronging to the airport to have meals etc.

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After a rushed (and messy for Evan) dinner, and a very long goodbye to everyone (Q requested to be “smothered in kisses” — I’m glad I am expanding his vocabulary) we finally made it to the gate.

I love being in planes. That complete “switch off” of the mind and the prospect of doing absolutely nothing but read and sleep for the next few hours sounded real good to me.

I’m writing this while in transit in Doha. Denn has crashed out, completely. 7 hours in Doha, halfway there. Bought us travel pillows (might as well) so he sleeps better. He doesnt know i covered him with my shawl, so dont mention this to him! (Note to self:- next time bring boy-friendly shawls)

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My dad sends me stickers on this app called “line” as i type this. funny man.

This is a Denn-planned trip; I’m actually excited to be the non-planner for the first time. I have to admit, I get a bit queasy about the logistics (ahem!) but we figured we are travelling with locals so it should be fine.

We will spend the next 9 days on board a boat, island-hopping. Planned completely by his NYU friend! Then the last few days are still unplanned, but we will figure it out as we go. High on the list is Santorini. we will make some friends on the trip and maybe they will go with us!

Till then, my exciting Alex Cross series by James Patterson keeps me wide awake and completely immersed.

Adventure awaits!

hello data-break!

i have to admit. i am an awful holiday-er. the first thing i do when i touch down from a plane is to frantically search for a local pre-paid card, preferably with data. then i check to see if the business is okay; did any earth shattering, bottom-line threatening, principal frustrating, authority upset happen when i was in the air and uncontactable? then the mass sms to give out my now new local number to my family, my in-laws, my team one, then i finally take a break and breathe in foreign air.

Denn and i are off to Greece for 2 weeks. perfect summer heat, without the need to pack the heavy-duty coats. time to work on a tan. (pun totally intended, since my husb’s surname is tan)

technology

travelling with my sister, the perfectionist, to Japan showed me the merit of having one of those data roaming deals. unlimited for ten-odd dollars a day. that makes sense.. until you do the math and think whaaa?! but she was travelling with children, and she knew she would definately get connection to her telcomm and she runs like a ker-billion projects at the same time. so i was tempted. tempted. still am. to get on that plan. Denn says we may not even get connection while we are out at sea. *cue wide eyed, hyperventilating panic* so it might end up with money wasted. 

so we are going data free. which means that we will rely on free wifi from cafes etc. no data. unless something drastic happens or if any one of you readers think it is a must have. 

i’m totally not psyched. but i dont have a pressing reason to. 

considering that we are packing 1 x Kindle, 2 x work lap tops, 1 x alienwear-super-heavy-gaming-laptop, 1 x i-pad, 2 x iphones5, 1x iphone3, 2 x mouse & mousepad (seriously, all games know you must have your super cool mouse & a hard surfaced mousepad! didn’t you know? *sarcasm, because my Denn is, completely OCD about his electronics, and since he is packing for himself, he packed for me too). so much for a data-break huh? 

1 year!

A year flew by (and we still haven’t reviewed the wedding pictures…), and here we are, in Bintan, a little island off Singapore. It’s the Forev boyf’s first trip to Bintan, And he likes it much. He says “this is excellent, all the amenities of Singapore, set in rustic surroundings.”

We are in in the royal ocean villa, the last unit ao we have our very own rocks on the side. at all times of the day, you can hear the waves crashing against the rocks, and i like that. since i brought my own oil diffuser, we can more or less leave the balcony door open, so i can hear it. and honestly there arent that many flyers (mozzies or flies) near our room. Some snaps of my own:-

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These following images are from the Bintan Spa Villa website, but the place really does look as good as the pictures. I haven’t been really carrying my phone around to take photos with.

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Dennis loves “being on the beach, but being squeaky clean”. He loves the food (we’ve only been on the resort), and the massages; but did not enjoy the mask/wrap (says he in a stage whisper just as I was falling asleep under the talented hands of my masseuse, “it’s cold and icky; I don’t want to ever do this mask thing again” I think it was largely due to the fact that he had an itch he couldn’t scratch because he was all masked up. Did not help that he saw his body being painted (a very lovely smelling green tea and lily mask) bright green; so there was a mild panic.

600 mins of spa time to share between us, and that was an extra special treat.
We even went kayaking. 1 hr of vicious paddling left me with sore muscles; but we made it to the little island across our villa. Actually it’s walkable, since the water only reaches waist height, but too shallow to swim. We voted for kayaking over a dredging walk through seawater. And I don’t like being in the sea barefooted. (Glass, people! Glass!!) over at the little island, I got bitten by a sandfly (I hope it’s a sandfly) on my back, and a huge ant on my thigh. That should teach us not to sunbathe on uninhibited islands. Denn, thankfully came through unscathed. The sandfly bite is causing me some discomfort, to say the least, but I (as usual) have everything to treat it with in my travel medicine case. Itchy itchy and swollen.

We had the karaoke bar all to ourselves a couple of nights ago; I think Denn has drunk his weight in beer + piña coladas, made with freshly blended pineapple juice.

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Tonight we have a private candlelit dinner on our balcony (we opted to use our own balcony rather than the gazebo), set off our own fireworks then a wishing lantern. Neither of us have ever set off a wishing lantern; so I hope it flies nicely.

Tomorrow we have half an idyllic day before we head back to Singapore; and really it’s been a good 4 days!

Sanity break for me, but Denn has been working. He is pleased as punch that he can work while having the sea in his ears. I dunno whether I should laugh or cry at that statement. I guess we are thankful he has a job which allows us to pay for all this; and that he loves his work so he doesn’t mind.

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