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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Last night in Split

Most of the boys grabbed a quick kip on the bus back to Split whilst Ryan, Lisa and I chatted boobs and bodies. Back onboard Sarah showed me her wares from shopping (including a pretty little friendship bracelet for me) as I lolled on the bed, needing a nap but knowing I had no time. A shower pepped me up and we had a quick vodka before leaving - already late for the restaurant.
We headed to a pretty courtyard in Split where Louise had booked us in for dinner. Even though we were late - once again they hadn't the table ready (did they just not believe 18 of us would turn up?). We all got seated, ordered wine and beer and set about perusing the menu. Lisa and I were both looking for a bit of seafood and after tasting Lucie's delicious octopus salad starter we knew we had made a good decision. As one can probably imagine, being so coastal - seafood everywhere in Croatia is pretty much delicious. They do like to make it in pies and quiches though which isn't really my style. I prefer it on the grill with a bit of garlic and salt - and straight to my plate. More food and wine arrived, laughs were being had around the table. We tried to get Allan and Lisa to wear their new ti-shirts - Allan's was "Nude Lifeguard"! No one was thinking about the fact that it was our last night. We discussed future group activities - a ski/snowboard trip to Lebanon, the boys doing a triathlon, my solo trips to various places next year. The restaurant rustled up a kind of birthday cake (there seemed to be alot of cream or ice cream and not alot of cake) for Allan and it was time to make our way to the end of cruise party at a nearby bar.

Chloe and I after dinner.

I had to bid a sweet goodbye to Lisa as she was ill and flying very early and then Chloe and I went on our own little tour to find the bar, and perhaps a tattoo parlour on the way. We had decided on our first night to get tattoo's together but we couldn't decide on designs etc. There had been some joking at dinner that I would get the line from "Braveheart" - "This is my island" inked somewhere on my body but I thought that might be a future regret! I was contemplating some musical notes, a melody or riff - somewhere inconspicuous but there was no tattoo parlour in sight so we settled on some shots in a side street bar before finally reaching Cocktail Bar Paradiso for the Sail Croatia farewell party. There we hooked up with our super rep Janice and had a few drinks with her before the Jager train to top them all. In our usual tradition, it had to be bigger, better and longer than anyone else's. You'd know we lived in Dubai! I don't know how the number came about - I believe it was something to do with beating other boat's tallies but 62 was decided on. It took an hour and a half to set up (mainly because some muppet stood on the bench where it was being set up and knocked half the red bulls down).
Even in the photo we can spot some of our new friends!
After we'd all had a few and mingled with the strangers, it was time to embarrass Allan (It was difficult to know whether he was embarrassed or not as he was so sunburned! You can see him at the top of the picture there - darker than anyone else). Lauren (my friend in Dubai, dating Allan) had sent gifts from Dubai for Allan to open on the night and Gareth felt it only right to give the birthday boy a snog. I've never seen Allan snog a man before and to be honest I'm not sure it will happen again! I fitted in some time to kiss Sarah (She begged) and have a little dance around. I don't even remember the music. There may not have been music!

We walked back to the boat through picturesque rain-washed streets and decided to get our party on back onboard. Drink was acquired from various places, music was set-up on the top deck and deck-chairs were dragged around. Perfect for more dancing. Our fun didn't last long, the Captain came up and asked us to not to party. A little deflated but aware that he was being perfectly fair (He did have to get up every day and cook for us) Doug mentioned a beach nearby so we decided to bring the party there. Gary even let us borrow his speakers. The beach was a bit of a walk away so many got lost along the way and there was a weird crowd there (outsiders!) when we arrived. After a vodka I decided I would head back to the boat. I was a little disorientated and seemed to have lost alot of people so I thought it would be better to go back and find them.

I met Chloe as I got on deck and we sat down with Katie and Elliot just inside the hallway on a little sofa where they'd perched many nights of the trip. There were people running around the boat and from room to room as dawn broke and all I could think of was how I had to leave so many amazing people in a few hours - including my old (and new friends) from Dubai. I was exhausted, 7 nights of drinking was taking it's toll and I was all too aware that I had to be up in about 3 hours. It wasn't the best feeling.
Suffice to say, it only got worse before I left. I managed to only get about an hours sleep, and ended up packing in the most uncoordinated, horrible mindset I've ever been in. I wasn't quite hungover but I was definitely dehydrated, I wasn't quite sober but not happy drunk. It was dreadful. Meanwhile Sarah was singing around the cabin, still drunk and completely oblivious to the fact that we had to get up and out.
As I sat on a bench beside the boat (and found my pashmina tied around it?!) in the blazing morning sunlight watching Katie spew into the port I was hit by bags of rubbish as some of the crew removed them from the boat. That was pretty much how it felt - from top deck luxury to the gutter - all in a few hours.

It was a strange last night but an amazing trip that I'm sure none of us will ever forget...
Hvala na sjećanjima Hrvatskoj.

Friday, August 16, 2013

A quick aside - some theatre...

For those of you who are interested in my blog - you may also be interested in my theatre work. This will be streaming this evening 8pm GMT
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/connecting-creativity

An interesting project involving actors and writers from Ireland and the U.S.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

White-water Rafting - Omis

We were already in motion as breakfast took place on Friday morning. I was in great spirits after a good night sleep and was dancing around our cabin. Sarah was just laughing at me, particularly when I managed to stub my toe off the end of the bed and yowled in pain. I wasn't excited it was the last day but I was definitely going to make the most of it.

After our morning swim we all congregated on deck to chat about our plans for the day and night. Most of us had signed up for white water rafting which we would reach by bus from our next stop in Omis. Some of the girls had opted to stay behind for some shopping and Louise said she would organise dinner and drinks for Allan's birthday that evening.

So we boarded a couple of buses to take us to our start point and I got to catch up with Katie and the goings-on with some of our other passengers and accompanying Sail Croatia boats. It seemed there was no end of scandal and the final night was sure to bring some more! Put it this way, there'd been lots of secrecy about who was with who and as a result some egos had been hurt and others had been doing things as revenge. Possibly a little childish, but what does anyone expect with boatful's of single people?


All of our group couldn't fit in the one boat, which was a little disappointing but we kitted up and got ready to go. I'd never tried it before and was very excited, if a little nervous that I might get flung off over some rocks! Gary and Gareth took up the front, Cahal and Pearce behind them, Lucie and I were opposite eachother with Doug and Lisa beside the instructor(whose name escapes me right now). Doug had chosen to ride with us for some good photo ops.

Our instructor was brilliant and it seemed pretty clear. There was also something very sexy about him in a real rugged, outdoorsy way :)
We could row forward or back and Boomba! meant get your oars flat on the side of the raft as quick as possible and duck! It started off rather gently but we were in hot pursuit of the other boats and enjoyed a bit of splashing them with our oars, particularly one of the other boats who were rowing around in circles. We seemed to get a good rhythm going between us, but I think I may have poked Lisa or Lucie on the knee once or twice with my oar. I'm not hopelessly uncoordinated but nor am I a natural! It was much better fun whenever the instructor shouted "Boomba!" as the trees came in low and we all had to scramble low in the boat. Once I managed to miss this and got walloped by a branch but I thought it was quite funny.


We also rowed hard up against some rocks to get right up and over having a proper splash down and emptying our helmets of water over ourselves and other boats to cool down (It was utterly freezing water) and have some water fights. The scenery was absolutely spectacular. We made our way slowly through these towering rocks (which people have been known to base jump off) and it was like a scene from Lord of the Rings. Once again, Croatia was taking my breath away and I've no idea why it's such an under-rated place for holidays.

We stopped at a little place to climb to our next part as apparently the rafting was too advanced and dangerous in one part of the river. That was a little disappointing but a stroll through the hills in the sunshine was lovely and Lisa tried to convince Phil that a tumble in the jungle might be some fun - unfortunately there was no time for that!

Back in our boats we had some more fun, picking up speed to make the drops more exciting. There was plenty of laughter on our boat and the girls had pushed through the pain barrier (It really hurts your arms at the start then it doesn't seem to matter so much anymore) so we all had a good rhythm going again. We rowed in under a freezing waterfall and got some great photos of Lucie and Gareth enjoying splashing around in a cave (I swear both must have been dogs in a former life - and I mean that in a good way) and then onto a rest stop where the boys took turns in jumping off some of the rocks. Plenty of belly flops there! Cahal seems to have jumping off things down to a fine art as he can back flip and move in mid-air - very graceful!!!

We were sad when it came to an end but it meant celebratory beers and chips after an exhilarating day. I'll definitely be trying that again, absolutely loved it!

Thanks again to Doug for the photos - none of our cameras were waterproof!