A rare moment

As I walked along a narrow street in Bundi during one of my journeys through India I heard a voice call out at me. “come, come in, you want photograph my family?” The young dark man in his early twenties standing at the doorway had obviously noticed the large camera hanging from my neck. As with most Indians he thought it would be a great privilege to have his family photos taken by a foreigner. As with most foreigners with a big camera I quickly realized that it would be a great privilege for me to enter this man’s house and photograph his family. The only issue I had was that I was supposed to meet my good friend and travel companion Jenzen and I was already running late. Well he was an easy going guy I thought and he would understand. So I followed the nice man through the small doorway and along a dark narrow corridor until we came to another small door to the left. he stood at the door and pointed into the room inviting me in. In the darkness I could just about make out his proud smile in anticipation. As I crouched through the small wooden door and looked in I saw his wife lying on their bed cuddling tenderly with their newly born baby. At once I realized that this was one of those rare moments that would stay with me forever. She had given birth on that same bed a few weeks earlier and now I was being asked to photograph them by the proud father. A real privilege. Once finished with the mother and child the happy father now insisted that I drunk some tea whilst photographing his elderly mother, his sister who had two completely different colored eyes and his down syndrome brother. All this provided me with great photographic material but what about Jenzen?
I arrived very late to meet my friend and I had my excuse all planned out when I saw him walking steadily towards me full of excuses himself. he explained how he had also been invited into a home and was given tea and biscuits. We both had lots to talk about that evening.

Spencer

Advertisements

Cruise baby!

Cruising is not for me. Or so I thought. I was convinced cruise ships were the equivalent of five star resorts on land. A place you go to be served and pampered – and equipped with blinkers for what goes on in the outside world. I also had vivid images of people stuffing themselves with too much food, drinking too much wine, and generally acting as ignorant as only a certain type of tourists do.

Much to my surprise, I was invited along on a press trip by the Azamara Cruise group. And even more surprisingly, I accepted. People that know me, had a hard time believing it when I said I was going on a cruise… but after all, you don’t turn down an invitation to cruise the Med for one week, all expenses paid, right?

To my relief, Azamara believes in a casual approach to cruising. There’s no formal dress code, and the staff are as delightful as they are top notch.

*********

Waitress: Would you like some more wine, ma’am?

Me: No thanks (it was lunch time and I was planning a run on the treadmill in the afternoon).

Waitress: Why? Are you going to drive?

Me: Ehhm… no.

Waitress: Go on then. Enjoy yourself!

Me: Alright then! (Needless to say, I never made it to the treadmill)

**********

I spent seven days aboard the Azamara Quest, and I can honestly say they were the most relaxing days of my life! No exaggeration. I did my fair bit of sightseeing when we were docked, and I did stop by their fitness room almost every day. But still, it was such a smooth, relaxing way to travel that I would easily do it again. In fact, I’m off on a journey with the Norwegian Epic this May. And who knows, maybe I will just have to become a travel writer specializing in cruises from now on!

Not a bad place to wake up!

I was proven wrong on three of my biggest misconceptions:

1 – Only pensioners go on cruises

The majority of my fellow cruisers were in fact pensioners, however, some couples in their early thirties were on honeymoon and quite a few couples in their 40’s were just enjoying time off.

2 – You end up in a great big line whenever you want to eat or get off the ship.

This very much depends on the size of your ship. The Quest only has 694 passengers, and consequently, I never had to line up for anything. The only time I found limitations in the offers on board, were the day we had scheduled at sea. I would’ve wanted to indulge in a deep tissue massage that day, but of course, so did most others. I had to settle for having my massage on another day. Life sure is hard, eh…

3 – You don’t get to see anything

As a traveler being used to exploring to my heart’s content, traveling on a cruise ship can quite easily let you down. You are always on a time limit, and you will have to settle for exploring the places dictated by the itinerary. In other words, don’t expect to unleash your inner adventurer. On the other hand, you are free to explore during the hours the ship is docked, and whether you decide to follow the footsteps of the masses, or go off on a mission of your own, is totally up to you.

I saw corners of Malta that left me in awe, I discovered the sweetest little shoe shop in Sorrento where they sell handmade sandals to DIE for, and I woke up one morning to see Mount Etna covered in snow. It took my breath away…

Valletta, a Mediterranean gem.

View from my stateroom...

The cutest little, Italian shoe shop.

Here is one of the articles written about how cruising is so me now!