Painting and wining, whining and painting

It has been a while since I have been able to write. There are a few reasons for this. One is that I work crazy hours, broken up by breaks not long enough to sit down, and so anytime off not spent sleeping or eating is usually spent …no that’s it, that’s all my time. On this run, the only time we get good port time off is on Tuesdays in St. Thomas - although lately, even that hasn’t happened. On top of that, I actually have friends now (it’s taken me a while but I made some) and sometimes I like to talk to them. 

The absence of port days lately, apart from the usual Port Manning and safety-drill related stuff, can also be attributed to a video shoot the Cruise Staff were involved in last week (more about that in my next blog …if I find time to write it) and then, this cruise, we were required to do training. - Not anything safety related (as would be assumed for someone who lives on a ship) but Art training. I kid you not. Let’s call it “Painting by numbers without the numbers” …or maybe even just “Painting”.

You know how upper-class moms have those evenings where they pay a lot of money to get together and drink wine and paint a picture and continue drinking until their art looks good? Well, we’re doing that on ships now. Yes, they’re rolling out a new programme starting on our ship (because its the newest in the fleet) and this week someone came on board to teach us how to teach people how to paint. It’s a great idea if you have loads of time on your hands and if you are that way inclined, but considering we would be losing even more of our precious port time, at first the inspiration to create a masterpiece was somewhat lacking. 

To be honest, the only image I really want in my life right now is a selfie with a turtle. I keep hearing stories of people who have gone snorkelling and seen turtles up close -  I want to be one of those people! And I want my underwater camera to be present at the time so that other people can be jealous of me and so the next time I’m exhausted (and sick - I’ve been sick) and I’m waking up early to do one of the more mundane aspects of my job and I ask myself why I work 70 hours a week and never get 8 hours sleep in a row I can look at my turtle selfie and say “That’s why!”. But I’m getting off topic… And it was actually quite pleasant.

A very nice lady named Stacy came onboard from a company called “Canvas by u”, and if you have to be stuck indoors in the Caribbean working, then being paid to paint canvasses is a pretty good job to have. I admit when it came to painting the beach scene it felt a little bit like rubbing salt in the wound, but it was a nice reminder - I’d almost forgotten what they look like. 

There was another slight apprehension that I had to this class. You see, back in the days of my youth I studied art in high school and I was totally emo before emo was a thing. ...Although, back then we just called it “depressed”. (I know what you’re thinking: “Shoes with flashy lights? Flamingos? And now the Emo movement too? Sharon is always so ahead of her time.” Well, if any trend-spotters are reading this blog, I foresee Keytars making a comeback, just so you know.) Anyway, back in the day when I was an emo teenager, I really enjoyed painting landscapes in monochrome blue. My teacher, however, hated anything surreal and felt that everyone should only paint realism from photos in the colours that they were supposed to be.  He also banned people from painting foetuses and aliens which in the late 90s / early 2000s was actually a really good move because all that kids wanted to paint back then was foetuses and aliens. Then, because I mentioned I did ballet, he “suggested” (forced) me to paint ballerinas …which only made me more emo. 

It’s probably all of the above that explains not just my passion for bright colours and flashy lights in my adult years after my monochrome teens, but also why I have a massive aversion to telling people how to express themselves creatively. - Except if it’s through dance: If you want to express yourself through dance I recommend the Macarena or Gangnam Style. I guess this type of painting is to art what line dancing is to dance. And if I look at it that way I won't be putting myself in the same box as my art teacher. So, if anyone reading this decides to come to my class and paints that beach scene or the tree, or the vase of Tulips or anything in monochrome blue, I promise I won't force you to paint ballerinas as punishment.

At least (if I have enough magnets), my cabin walls are about to get quite interesting. - Not that anyone will even notice it if it’s hanging next to my turtle selfie. 

My favourite painting from the class - Also the bluest 

[Note to self: Delete the Keytar part in a few months if they don’t make a comeback.]

In other news:

I’m half way

Today I am exactly half way through my contract. It feels like it has gone quickly but it also feels like I’m halfway through a marathon and it’s not going to get easier. -Not that I would really know, who would want to run a marathon?

I went to Coki Beach

One of my previous ships went to St. Thomas but I only once had time to go to the beach. Since this itinerary allows us a little more time there I have been spending it at the Morning Star beach. It was a while ago, but if I can think that far back, I finally went to a different beach called Coki beach. It is a little crowded and has a distinct smell of marijuana to it, but other than that it is really beautiful. It’s also great for snorkelling. There’s generally just a lot of people with different types of pipes in their mouths having a good time.

Coki Beach, US Virgin Islands

I came fourth in the Ultimate Dance Clash

Yeah, on this ship everyone is really experienced and have spent years developing the gimmicks that get them the laughs to win the competition. I sound like a sore loser and actually, I am a little. I try so hard! But one week I made it almost but not quite all the way to the finals and four whole couples were eliminated before me. Four! The first Cruise Staff voted out always has to host karaoke afterwards in a different venue (they overlap). I host a lot of karaoke. 

My Macarena revival is picking up momentum

Yes, I’ve been doing it for my Welcome Aboard Party intro as my signature dance move, and so now, if there are any people left on the dance floor after we've done every line dance in the book (and it’s a big book), then they play the Macarena and bring me on the stage to lead it. Recently, one of my readers (it was very nice to meet you, Kris) came to cruise and after we had done the Macarena she said that now that she had accomplished that she didn’t know what else she was going to do that cruise. The answer is obviously Gangnam style. 

I'm revisiting the art of trespassing at hotels

I went trespassing at a new hotel in St. Thomas. I won't say which one but it might just start with an "M" and end with an "arriott". They’ll kick you off their beach chairs on the beach outside their hotel, but they won't stop you from stealing their wifi or using their bathrooms inside. Next time I might even take a dip in the hotel pool. At some point, I’ll probably buy an overpriced guilt cocktail.


We had a “Well done you passed US Public Health inspection party”

Yeah, that sums it up. We also had a “Well done you passed Coast Guard Inspection Party” but I didn’t make it to that one because I was sick. 

188 drunk people in costume came to my trivia

You know those organisations that “Party for a Purpose” and basically spread the problem of alcoholism and it’s very underrated damaging effects on society but appease their consciences by raising money for a good cause at the same time? As if the good cancels out the bad? (Do I sound judgey? Probably, I am judging.) Anyway, we had 450 of these people on board with a country band for their own private concert and 188 of them decided to participate in a pub crawl (on the very first day of the cruise) and happened to be at the atrium bar at the same time as one of my trivias in the same area. The conservative sober trivia players were very good sports and between the competitiveness of the drunk people and the ability to actually think of the sober people, it certainly made for an interesting afternoon. 

That's about it. Hopefully, things will calm down a bit and I'll have more time to write more soon.

13 cruises down, 13 to go 
Days since I last left the ship: 18
Stabbing victims in light of the above: 0 (Miraculously)




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Sharon Waugh

Sharon is a writer, cruise ship entertainment host and freelance unicorn wrangler. She is currently taking a break from her seafaring adventures to explore some more landlocked locations from her homebase in Johannesburg, South Africa. She likes to photograph a plastic lawn flamingo 'Rodrigo' on her travels because it seemed like a good idea ten years ago and 53 countries later, it’s probably too late to turn back now.

 Sharon greatly dislikes reading 'travel blogs' by people who are just rephrasing press releases or composing lists like '15 ways to travel the world for cheap', specifically formulated for SEO, with absolutely no evidence that the writers have ever left their bedrooms. (This is not one of those blogs.) Sharon also dislikes bigotry and referring to herself in first person, apparently.

To find out more about Sharon and Rodrigo’s travel aspirations read this.

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Practical travel tips and destination guides for anyone visiting any of the places I have been.

My thoughts on travel mascots, photographing your butt in exotic locations and the addictive nature of cruise ship employment, among other things.

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Tips for cruisers and crew members, as well as anecdotes from a variety of experiences at sea.