April 13, 2011
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Guest Stories
Yesterday we had a great guest blog from Eric Flounders during Queen Elizabeth’s maiden transit of the Suez Canal. Here he is with with part 2 and the mystery of the missing photo…
As we progress at good speed northwards up the Red Sea towards Aqaba, I’m reminded – as a former geography teacher – how useful cruising is for basic geography. How else can you more easily come to realise that what looks like an insignificant ink blot on an atlas is in fact a substantial body of water which will take two full days to traverse?
On our starboard side we have had occasional glimpses of Yemen, which gave way to Saudi Arabia, and on our port side – but out of sight – Eritrea and Sudan, both well-known names but largely unvisited by comfort travellers like ourselves.
We have escaped unscathed from pirate alley and have left behind the plodding convoys of huge tankers and container ships, under naval protection, so evident during yesterday’s passage.
The Red Sea is giving us a stiff breeze and white horses on the waves – a breeze which lures the sunbathers into a false sense of security and they totter blinking indoors looking even pinker than usual. A breeze which I also thought would serve to dry my socks, but which blew them overboard to be found, no doubt, by an Eritrean herd of goats on the beach.
On our first formal night en route to meet the Captain at his cocktail party for Dubai arrivals, we dutifully queued to pose for a group photo in front of a canvas Queen Elizabeth. Trying to look suave and sophisticated in our formal garb, we succeeded only in grinning maniacally.
And so began the big mystery of the voyage so far; where has our photo gone? Everyone else had their carefully posed portraits on display in the gallery to be snapped up as a permanent memento. But not us. ours was nowhere to be seen.
Naturally we have assumed that we are such an outstandingly handsome group of sublime sexiness that some unknown hand has snaffled our portrait for their own pleasure.
Another theory, which we entirely reject, is that the ship’s photographer took the view that no-one – not even the subjects- would want to buy a portrait of such a grotesque collection of specimens and that he has consigned it to the attic.
It did finally turn up and I noticed the photographer’s assistant wore sunglasses as she handed over our copies.
To recover her self esteem one of the group went off to the Spa for a massage with George, and came back floating six inches off the floor burbling incoherently about his French accent. But I assume his fingers did most of the talking – and they will be busy now as our colleague has been stopping strangers in the corridor to extol the virtues of George.
Last night we were unable to resist karaoke in the Golden Lion with Thomas. And I discovered a truth of great worth to those of us who can’t sing but who are dragooned by cries of ‘Spoilsport!’ into participating in Tom Jones’ ‘Delilah’. Within nanoseconds of the music starting everybody is clanking glasses and bellowing away at the tops of their voices. They don’t even notice you abandoning the microphone and slinking quietly back to your seat.
Tonight we are visiting the Verandah – a much anticipating a night out. But we will need to be in bed early as tomorrow is a big day – the visit to Petra. While the journey may be long and the start early, it will be worth it. And at least we go in the comfort of coaches and not on camels like earlier travellers. Except for those who have been to see George; they will just float there