Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Butterfly Goes On Cruise

I’ve always had a positive memory of cruises. There was the endless buffet spreads, the sanctuary of the video games room, the labyrinth like corridors of endless running and of course the in-ship theatre, which somehow seemed like the coolest thing since Transformers.

Of course, I was young then. Too young to even be allowed to hold a mug of beer or even appreciate mini-skirts and cleavages for that matter. And the cruise was just an extended session of being in a video game arcade.

15 years on, with more zest for life, a larger appetite for entertainment and probably not as much maturity, I sat by the balcony of my cabin and wondered, “what the fuck am I going to do for three days if I’m allergic to dice and cards?”

I figured. Cruises are great for two kinds of people; gamblers and Whales. It is paradise if you are trying to fight anorexia or have a new found embracement for obesity. Cruises are basically catered for people who want to gamble, have a buffet in-between and pretend that they can engage in other recreational activities outside the casino.

Let’s face it. There is nothing to do besides gambling or standing in a buffet line that has the same selection of food every day, that is worth your time or can justify your time away from proper bars and clubs in Singapore. And there isn’t even a proper cabaret show on board that has periodic wardrobe malfunctions.

It all started good. The champagne reception, the spacious balcony class rooms complete with, well, a balcony if you haven’t guessed it and a promising dinner with lots of wine. Then 2 hours later, having toured the entire boat enough to be qualified to re-write their fire escape routes, Poca and I were so bored, I would have paid $5 to watch re-runs of Under One Roof – which would normally be my choice of suicide reasons.

There was the arcade, which was fun for about the first $10 we spent, beyond that it was like putting a eunuch in an orgy. A decade ago, this place might have given me an erection, but these days, anything without a keyboard or internet services just doesn’t seem enough – unless I get to redeem a bottle of vodka with my games coupons.

Then there was the theatre, but unfortunately for them, we discovered Vuze and we have been religious bit torrent fans since, so there probably isn’t a movie we’ve not seen. So in a way, I’m actually socially responsible for refusing to buy pirated DVDs. Why buy, when you can download.

It was great that they had supper. The only problem was that it was the same food that was going to be served for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well. It’s like walking into McDonalds, you know you are going to be having McShit; the only difference is if we are having it with fries or nuggets or up-sized.

And then there was the casino. The familiar green felt tables, the buzzing jackpots that have been programmed to con all your money, the neon jackpot signs and the expressionless croupiers that doesn’t give a shit about you as much as you try to be friendly.

It was great for all of the 15 minutes that we were by the VIP baccarat tables, and the time when I was walking out with 3 x $100 chips in my left breast pocket. That was the last fond memory I had of the place, until we decided that going back to fuck at the balcony was going to be the highlight of the trip instead. I love Baccarat, it’s the best game ever.

It was just a wreck for the insipid attempt of creating alternative entertainments that are peripheral to the casino. The bars were either empty with lounge singers performing to an audience that looked like they would have more fun going for a kidney dialysis or choice of 60’s songs that suspiciously sounded as if the cruise was heading to Vietnam to join the war.

The next morning, we forcibly dragged ourselves out of bed at 6.45am to try to catch the sun rise. It was cloudy, we were still battling fatigue and phosphene and all we got to witness, was a glaring stream of light that outlined the clouds. It was at this point of time that I learnt never to wake up for anything unless it is breakfast, because it is going to be a fucking waste of time.

The ship docked at Port Klang and because I was convinced that there was nothing that could beat the potential hazard of dying of boredom on board the cruise liner, we decided to head into town to do some shopping and what better place than Port Klang’s very own mega mall; Jusco.

The place was massive. Imagine Vivocity, now multiply it by 2, remove all the decent clothes store, good looking people and restaurants and then add in an immeasurable quotient of boredom and suckiness. That’s Jusco.

The only great thing was the fish spa, because this was the first time I’ve actually had anything shown this much interest in sucking my feet. It was overwhelming in all honesty, because for the initial couple of seconds, witnessing a school of fish engulfing your feet takes quite a bit of digesting and a whole new level of tolerance.

Poca was freaking out and backed out entirely on doing the fish spa. I was 15 minutes into my treatment and convinced that I was not going to last another 15 minutes of tickling insanity and my mind was beginning to prance at the weirdest thoughts. What if they chew off my toenails? Do they know when to stop? Will I kill the fishes if I have foot rot? Are they going to charge the fishes to me if do kill them?

When we got back on the ship, I made the one mistake of not cashing out my chips. For one, I’m not an avid gambler, nor will I make a good one because I have an impulse for placing bets on wayward odds. I made three $100 bets on a tie with a 1-8 payout odds, and I lost them all. I hate Baccarat, it’s the fucking dumbest game invented ever.

We then hooked up with ManjaRockStar, D and VD for drinks, which was in part a pre-celebration for MRS’s birthday and in truth, another validated excuse to knock back tequila shots like nuns to communion.

There really wasn’t much to choose from when it came to drinking holes on board. It was about finding the least sucky place with decently priced alcohol and a crowd that preferably didn’t live through World War II. The place we settled for was so bad, it sucked more than a horde of prostitutes giving a blowjob.

It was pretty much a subdued session, even though we did run through nearly the entire bottle of crap tequila that tasted like it was made from cheapness – we could probably have enjoyed kerosene more. There were the intermittent dares of licking a plate of salt, a foiled lap dance attempt that was surrender to shyness and petty inhibitions, but nothing too gregarious like a bar top dance.

And that was the weekend. Gone as quickly as it came, poorer than when I started and more sober than usual. My mum should be so proud of me.

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