Hello from Istanbul. I've just flown in from Barcelona and am killing time at the airport before my long flight back to Asia after my Mediterranean cruise, so I thought I'd write a little bit about my wonderful week on board Silversea's Silver Spirit, the luxury cruise liner's newest ship, as it sailed from Lisbon to Barcelona.
Last week I boarded the Silver Spirit in Lisbon and at 6 PM, we sailed out of the harbour towards Spain, with the sun slowly going down over this picturesque and yet crumbling city of old glories and past memories. We were all on the top decks of the ship, drinking champagne and having caviar with blinis as we sailed away with chill music in the background, excited to be on a new adventure that would take us to amazing places. The beautiful scene certainly inspired many of us to think about our lives and our good fortune -- we were all lucky to be exactly where we were, on perhaps the world's must luxurious cruise ship as it sailed out of one of the world's most beautiful cities.
IPOD FOR COMPANY
I had my iPod with me, and interestingly, I was playing some songs that had accompanied me the last time I had sailed on this very ship, which was about three months ago, when I’d boarded the Silver Spirit in Bali and sailed with it through Malaysia until Manila. That was just after the Tokyo earthquake, and I'd survived the earthquake and slept on an airport floor and then flown through four cities in two days to get to Bali in time to board the Silver Spirit. Listening to these songs again on board this very ship brought back lots of different memories.
The songs were “Do It For Love” by Hall & Oates and “It’s Over” by Level 42. I’d never heard these songs before but they’d found their way into my iPod and I’d discovered them on my last Silversea cruise, and listened to them over and over again as I walked the decks for a bit of exercise, as the ship made its way through the middle of nowhere somewhere between Malaysia and the Philippines.
SURREAL BUT NICE
By the way, if you want to know what surreal is, it's walking the decks of the Silver Spirit with your iPod as the ship crosses the ocean with nothing but blue sea and blue sky around you, three days after almost falling off the Tokyo Bay Bridge during the Tokyo earthquake. Then you get into your evening gown and and head down for a five-course dinner and champagne, followed by all-night dancing under the stars.
But last week, I was sailing out of one of the most charming cities in the world with champagne and the works, and a wonderful dinner to look forward to. It's truly a Travelife, and I kept thinking how lucky I am to be living the Travelife I want. I never take this luck for granted, and there's not one single morning that I wake up not feeling happy about this good fortune to be constantly visiting amazing places, doing interesting things and spending time with pretty wonderful people.
RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME
Lots of my friends in Manila have begun taking Silversea cruises, but on the cruises I've been on so far, I've never been fortunate enough to have another Filipino passenger on board (although I heard through the grapevine that a Filipino family is boarding this same ship in Barcelona, on the same day that I'm getting off the ship to make my long way home back to Asia). And, in fact, on some cruises, I've been the only Asian. I once boarded Silversea's Silver Whisper in Istanbul to join its maiden voyage to the Ukraine. I was the only Asian and, boy, was it easy to make friends with everyone.
So I get terribly spoiled by the staff, who save me good tables, keep my glasses filled with champagne and my favorite vegetable juices, and basically bend over backwards to get my requests done. When I'm on Silversea, I always order apple-carrot-cucumber juice at 8 AM everyday and then cucumber juice before dinner. In fact, on this particular cruise, a couple of waiters came up to me and said: "Ma'am, I remember you from your cruise in March. You kept ordering cucumber juice."
The Filipino staff onboard Silversea are all so professional and hardworking, and kind.
OVER 850 DAYS ON A SHIP
Back to that cruise on auction. The auction price went a bit higher than what I would've paid on the market, but it went to a very good cause anyway -- and I had a fabulous time. So all in all, it was a great win-win situation. And just another wonderful week in a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful, TRAVELIFE.
Good night from Istanbul. When I wake up, I'll be in Hong Kong and on my way to my home away from home in this former Crown Colony for a Peking duck dinner with friends.