I didn’t sleep well last night – too excited about the forthcoming trip and wondering what I’ve forgotten this time. Sometimes I think I’d forget my own head if it wasn’t firmly attached to my body. I mentally replayed my packing list – digital camera, laptop – things have changed these days as we enter a more technologically orientated era – my magic books of words (dictionary and thesaurus which can be consulted in any language/medium the seeker requires), sketch pad and paints, Enchanteur’s magic pouch, my travelling swansdown cape and the complete works of Shakespeare – just in case I get bored – not much chance of that if previous trips with E are anything to go by. I had no idea what to pack in the way of clothes; I could have filled a bottomless trunk if I’d packed all my theatrical costumes, my Imelda Marcos collection of shoes, and a couple of musical instruments. Eventually I settled on a couple of glamorous outfits for special occasions, some sensible clothes for exploring on land, and a variety of herbal teas.
I must have fallen into a fitful sleep and woke to see the sun creeping over my windowsill. This hotel was well named indeed. I showered quickly, nibbled on breakfast, paid my bill and set off for the main port area where the SS Vulcania was berthed. The ship towered above me and I thought that I would be overwhelmed if there were lots of passengers. I don’t like crowds very much. There seemed to be quite a commotion going on at the foot of the gang plank so I kept my distance and watched a curious procession mount ahead of me. There was a tall Chinese woman, and a red-head of diminutive stature particularly attracted my attention. When peace had returned I boarded the ship and made my way to the Purser’s office and was duly shown my cabin.
Someone has read my mind and got there before me for the cabin is all I could possibly have wished for although my love for oriental art seems to have been taken to extremes as the walls are a riot of colour. My bed is a 4 poster with curtains threaded with glass beads. The huge wall mirror is in an intricately carved and decorated frame. There is a writing desk with a chair on wheels so that I can glide across the floor to look out through my porthole. The carpet has intricate design featuring the tree of life. There is a huge walk-in wardrobe, easily large enough for the contents of my trunk. The bathroom is a bather’s delight – huge, fluffy towels, a large bath and lots of lovely scented goodies to put in it. At the moment though, there are a couple of inches of water in the bottom with a lotus flower floating on the surface and some rose petals – pretty as a picture.
I hastily unpack and then make my way up to deck to see what is happening. From the passenger information board I can see that there is to be a gala evening and that passengers are expected to make a presentation. Oh Lord, how I hate presentations, I suffer from such terrible nerves that my heart tries to leap out of my chest, just like one those cartoon characters. My throat constricts and I can hardly say a word let alone sing. Perhaps I’ll just creep in, sit at the back and hope no one notices me.