First before the next.... Part I

There is always a first one, before the next one. And so it was the last thursday, 1 Apr 2010. I was chatting with a friend of mine and told him, "post may 2, I would be quitting boozing..." He was so entertained by my words and replies back.. "What a resolution to take on an Apr 1st.". I wasn't stunned by his reply, but for sure was giving more way to my stupidity.

Come 12pm, My roomie Mr. BagyaRaj (He was neither lucky, nor he was a king) came hurrying to the kitchen in stint of making semia (vermicelli) upma, packing apples and bread with jam and butter. " Where are we going? " i asked him "Dumbass... Our Cruise to Denmark is at 5pm and the boarding starts at 3.30pm.." Oh Yea.., the cruise.. for the first time. Wish a Titanic to happen on board. If not the crash, atleast the car scenes.... I was interrupted off my dreams with the words yelling " Could you cut those onions for the upma ??" This bloody upmaavu doesn't even let me dream for myself... but Bagyarajan ko koi dosh nahi diya coz, he was cooking for me as well.

Hurrying up., I packed my bag.., It looked nothing big., just a normal office bag, with few clothes and some food and i was off to Oslo port, set for cruising with DFDS seaways to Copenhagen, Denmark. The easiest way to get to the port was by bus, but i always do a little extra, in a hope of shedding my weight. Hence decided to walk a little from the bus station. The fact is, i was trying to save some money (40 Kroners, i.e 40 x 8 INR). I wonder, why the indian in us, always calculates (money x 8) or (x 45 when in sam uncle's land). Whatever, we got there just in time and on the way to ship, we found few norwegians, few Danes (Danish ppl) and few Indians too. I could not bifercate the rest as all of them seemed to be speaking the same language., But could distinguish goltis and tamilians and mallus between Indians. Look at the difference., between indians itself, there was sub distinction, whereas norwegians and danes were simply classified.

1 hour more for the cruise to leave and we had almost settled in our cabin, which looked like a lodge room with many similiar ones beside us.. I did not like the environment as everything near the cabin area was coloured PINK.. and i was sharing the room with a guy.., eeekss. Thankfully, it wasn't a queen or king size single bed to be shared by 2., but individual beds for both. Threw our bags, so that the vermicelli upma is tossed & turned & mixed well.. ;) and left the pinkies physically & out of mind, straight away marched to the common area.

We were on Deck 7 and thats where all the fun would have taken place. Basically, the whole of deck 7 had shopping mall & coffee bar and few apparel shops. It also had a kids play area and the best of all was, there was tom and jerry played for the entire tour, which kept many kids glued to the TV screen. The first time that you are upto something, you wanna finish it at the earliest.., and in that thrill, we went to all happening place in the next 35 mins... Even before half an hour for the ship to leave, we'd almost finished seeing the entire ship. The coffee bar, apparel showroom and few others had opened, but otherwise, the restaurants were just being prepared to recieve the guest.., All that you could do was, reserve your table at the reception for these restaurants.

Tell me, how many times in india have you reserved a table before going for lunch and dinner. Moreover, at Shanti Sagar and Sai Saagar, You've to "Stand N Deliver" and i believe no banglorean would be new to it... Huh., for that matter, no mumbaikar would be new to stand n delivering vada paavs. So, We quit the reservation, thats more likely because of Noks to INR conversion and also coz of the little fact that my collegue was a veggie.

In few minutes, we went to the deck and stood posing in the ship posing infront of Opera House in the background and finally stood in the cold winter to see the ship move and take off the dock! With much difficult, like a fat lady's ass., it moved slowly and took off from Oslo heading towards Denmark. My only ambition now remains to see the place where Kate Winslet was thinking of jumping from the cruise and i, Dinesh, (read Di Caprio) trying to bid her a good bye... ;). I found it and now was in search of the car deck, but wasn't allowed entry as the ship had already moved.. :'( (dhust, paapi...., scene bante bante reh gaya yaar... )

After all these, posed infront of all important part of the ship.., and then came to a fact file, which read the specification of the ship, with the max no of people allowed onboard to the engine make and made and the speed that it travelled.., It was moving at 21 Knots for almost 17 hours. The calculative me got to analysis and discovered that i was on a slow pace and cruising for 642 kms in 17 hours, where as i would have reached Thrissur from Bangalore in 10 hours....

As the day light started fading, the cruise started getting brighter., The Columbus live band had opened and for the first time, live band seemed so unlively with norwegian and danish nos.. The discos had kids playing initially and Heavens 11 disco seemed like Rakhi sawant wearing a Salwar Kameez. :'(. I was waiting for gods to restore his blessings upon me with something extra ordinary.... but he's forgotten the people in sea, Why would he remember me also? it was a monty thursday and was busy attending to people, who on the shore were yelling to listen to them. I forgive him for today.

By 10.30pm, i went back to my cabin and like a good boy, went to sleep and set the alarm on the radio phone to wake me up 2 hours before arrival. Just a little into the sleep, i was woken up my a little noise.., I thought the big waves must have hit the ship and hence the noise.., but it was my roomie rubbing his leg together. No bad thoughts.., his rubbing of legs had also been a disturbance when we were on the shore.! He snores n rubbs his legs in sleep. The little jerks in the ship used to wake me up in between and each time, i used to think that the Titanic scene has finally taken place... The crash of course ;)

Shoot..., I typed so much.... and you read so much..., Take a break and come back to read Part II.

First before the next.... PART 2

Each time, I woke up, I felt like going to Havens 11, But was just lazy to dress up in the night and walk up to the 9th Dec for only a glimpse of Heavens 11. As it always was, Dhinu had 2 straight legs, (Dhinu can't dance saala). The best thing about walking in those area was the smell the STEAKHOUSE EXPLORER produced. If not the taste of steak, the view and smell was killer ones. There was a restaurant beside steak house and called 7 Seas. The only 2 times that i hated fish was at Hogenekkal and now at 7 Seas. The smell.., oops stink of 7 Seas was really terrible.

Was somehow managing to sleep between the jerks that the cruise had in between when something unusual happend. There were cries from the room next door., was pacified when i got to know that there were cries, but the emergency alarm had not gone off... The fact is., The malls at the ship sold liquor at almost 1/4th the price and most of them who travel by these cruise only come to booze to glory. The howling that i heard was proptional to the selling that the cruise mall had made.. :)

Knowingly or Unknowingly, the ship had managed to sail through the ocean and as instructed, before 2 hours the cruise's alarm system woke us up and no sooner than later, we got ready, had breakfast and made way to the deck to see some morning scenary that copenhagen had to provide.. I had mythically fell in love with the place where Kate Winslet tried to jump off the ship the previous night of the crash. I went there to see that i was surrounded by water all 4 sides. Water Water everywhere, not a drop to drink. All that i could see behind me was, another bunker ship following the same path that we followed. I did not understand the engineering mind behind it., but for sure, there was some logic to it :-).

Copenhagen came, the lady took time to park her fat ass into the dock., We all got down and into the shore. Now, this moron is really adventerous, I'd not planned about what to see at Denmark, that is because, we would have reached there on good friday and not sure what would be open and closed on a good friday in a christian dominated country. Thought of seeking local help and deciding things upon reaching there. As soon as i got out of the ship, I bumped into an indian, giving a half smile... Why wudn't he ? we had the same color tone., This guy was from Pune and had about another 6 of them gearing up for a trip. He, for a formality have asked me if we wanted to join them. Even before he ending his invitation, I'd already accepted it..., YES, Why not ?

We got to the city hall square and when they went for quick bite, i took time to gather what site seeing tickets they were carrying and decided to purchase the same one over the counter on the shores of Copenhagen. In a bit, we were on the roof top of a bus and we'd a guide in the form of a 60-70 yrs old man. By the way he started explaining things, we for sure felt that he was a vetran from a war. The sight seeing at one point looked an encyclopedia tour. He spoke about various creations of King Christian the IV and his kaale kaarnama and also about how romantic he was to have a wife and 2 maid servants and have kids with them... :-)

We were shown how the guards change duty and the way they are taught to be stood still inspite of any reaction from the local public who came to see them. For a moment, i felt pity for them, How long can one try to provoke you and you stand still ?? However, during the guard duty change, there was a ritual of checking the jacket of the soldiers. They were checking if they've hidden an gal inside their coat, which would have kept them warm the previous night. I think some people love to remain old.., isn't it ? We seen a lot of copenhagen, but it was first sight seeing trip for me and hence, i never liked the way it was.. I love to be there, right in the centre than someone telling me the history and encyclopedia behind it.

The tour was over within 4 hours of the alloted 6 hours on the shores of Denmark... The lesson learnt is.., Never come to Denmark thinking that you'll earn enough to take back home. The reason being so simple., The government charges around 52% tax excluding the church tax. Also, If you wanna purchase a vechile there., the tax for the vechile is 200%, so its as good as paying for 3 vechiles and having only 1 at home. With a tired body, half filled heart and a lousy evening ahead, we drove and then walked back to DFDS seaways...., pleading and praying to be reaching Oslo a little earlier than before.

If you want to know what did i do on return in the cruise.., You'll hv to scroll up and read the same with less excitement. On the way back home, We'd been to a punjabi dhaba, where i and my collegue and the waiter cum cook was only present. There was no crowd on a holy saturday., which looked more like a day before easter even otherwise. On the way back, I met a conductor who may have been working with BMTC, Bangalore. How did i guess ? He gave me an old used ticket for 30 Kroners and an additional 10 Kroners ticket, which makes it 40 Kroners. He put the 30 Kroners in his pockets silently. Isn't that what our bangalore conductors do too ??

Alls well that ends well... Isn't it ? so what was special when i came back ? I made way to the Ship Mall, brought a Smirnoff, which was almost 4 times cheap the price of what it was on the shore. Also brought some beer! April quota had been purchased from the ship, thats because Post May 2, I was quitting boosing..... God bless me with the resolution that i took on April 1.

Till Smirnoff bids a byee to me.,.