A Life on the Ocean Wave: Blogging

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The Achille Lauro

Hello. My name is Emma and I go on cruises. Mostly, so far on P&O ships out of Southampton, but other perfectly good cruise companies are available. ;-) When I can, I con my parents into paying for my ticket.

When I travel, I blog. If you would like to read it all, it can be found at my PS. The Post have asked me to proffer some edited highlights of my ramblings, which I shall now inflict on you forthwith. Enjoy.


Blogging, I'm blogging (to the tune of 'Jammin', obviously!). Probably my last or penultimate at best missive. From the Med. Somewhere north of Algeria. Apparently. We have been able to see land, in fact, most of the day. I waved, although I doubt anyone saw me! On our way to Lisbon, which is our last stop before home.

Yesterday was Tunisia. We moored at La Goulette, which I'm told by those who spent the day there, was disappointing, although I can't comment cos everyone's taste is different and it takes a pretty poor place to disappoint me! We hired a taxi, driven by Ahmad. Not the eldest son, because the first-born son is always named Muhamad, but with four children, two sons and two daughters. They are only allowed one wife here, even though 96% of the population is Muslim. They also have completely equal pay here for men and women. Much better enforced than in the UK, in fact. His eldest daughter is eighteen and pig-headed! He yelled at her down the phone in Arabic while he was driving us around! Some things are universal and demanding daughters are the same the world over!

We went first to Carthage, site of the great city built by the Phoenicians that warred with the Roman Empire for decades (the Punic Wars). Hannibal was from Carthage and set off across the Alps with his elephants to attack Rome, but the snow killed most of the soldiers and the elephants and by the time he got there, he was easily swatted aside. We saw massive Roman villas (the remains of), the theatre and the amphitheatre (one is semi-circular, the other is oval, in case you were about to ask)(the first for plays and the second for gladiators and lions and stuff)(and for those about to get clever, the circus was elsewhere and we didn't get to it)(which was where they did chariot racing). We saw the basements and pillars of the extremely large Roman baths and the view over the ocean was breathtaking. We ate lunch at the best hotel in Tunisia, apparently, which was delicious, although the portions were so huge, I only managed to eat about a third of the couscous they placed in front of me! The cheapest room is about £180 a night, in case you were wondering.

Then we went to the Bardo museum, where they have collected the most extraordinary collection of Roman mosaics, the largest collection in the world, most of which were almost complete. They were breathtaking. We then went to the Medina, the old town part of Tunis, which is a warren of small, covered streets. The tiny shops belie the huge houses behind them, with beautiful architecture and tiles and amazing rooftop terrace views across the city. Then back to the ship. It was hot and sunny and a thoroughly enjoyable day.

Today was the last Luncheon. It was the Gold Tier Round the World lunch, I think, which means the truly steadfast, who have been on the whole way round. It was very enjoyable and I had a good laugh. The pre-lunch drinks started at 12 and we finally left the dining room at just before 4. I may have made some new friends.

I'm mostly packed now. I calculated shampoo and stuff quite well, so there won't be much to take home, although I had to buy moisturiser and cotton wool on the way round, so I've got leftovers of those. And I overestimated the deodorant again. Oh well, better to have too much than too little!

I can't believe it's all nearly over already. It doesn't feel like the best part of three months. It feels like the blink of an eye. Although, by contrast, Christmas on board seems a VERY long time ago… how confusing! I can't decide whether I'm excited to be going home or not. I'd like to get a job, and a place to live. I'd like to see my friends, especially the nearly half dozen who have produced babies while I've been away! I've made some friends I'd like to keep in touch with, including, I'd like to think, Richard Digance and David Barby (although I don't know how they feel about it!). But I don't want to be cold. I LIKE warm places, deserts and so on. I don't want to go back to snow and slush and ice and rain and wind and rubbish like that! I know I'm a naturally warm person, but I suspect that I've rather lost my immunity over the past few months!

Of course, I'll be glad to get off of this bucket of bolts, sorry, ship, which has been a miserable place to be for large chunks of this trip. It's better now, and some of the more stroppy crew are gone, but we're getting off now! Some people are staying on, as it is going up the Amazon next. THAT would be nice. But not on this ship. No way. Never ever ever again! It's never met a wavelet it didn't say hello to and it bounces around like a cork. I'll be glad to get off, which is something I've never said before. But then again, I've never travelled on this particular ship before either…

All in all, an interesting voyage. Frustrating, quite often, particularly with regard to places we wanted to see but couldn't because they were shut. But almost all the ports were enjoyable and the majority of the sea days were good too. I think I've enjoyed myself despite the problems we encountered. They merely marred, rather than ruined, the holiday. But now it's time to go back to the real world. And catch up on three months of junk mail, bills and telly. Has anyone recorded Top Gear for me, by any chance?!

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