Keyring light thingies and Monkeys on a Totem Pole

Some people call it a key chain but they are wrong! It is a keyring light thingy. Say it with me “keyring-light-thingy”. - That’s how I always start my spiel (I used to think ‘spiel’ was an Afrikaans word. It’s not - That’s how bad my Afrikaans is). Whenever I host game shows and especially trivia to help people get more into it, I ask the audience if they want to see what they’re playing for. When they respond with a ‘yes’ I have a speech prepared. I usually only ask this question after they’ve already answered all the trivia questions and before we’ve started going through the answers. The suspense of not knowing what the prize is is always better than the prize. Second to that is my spiel. 


Other Cruise Staff have their own things. Some say something along the lines of “you can win this prize pack worth well under a hundred dollars”. Others say something along the lines of “prizes so valuable it costs more to ship them than to make them”. I instead believe that that which is cheap and made in China is often awesome and I try to reveal the value it could add to one’s life. While my attempts to hype up the super-exciting cruise line branded plastic water bottle, or frisbee, or playing cards is is often perceived as sarcasm, when it comes to the awesomeness of the keyring light thingy, I am especially serious. Everyone needs one in their life! 

Apart from getting the audience to “oooh” when I turn it on, I explain the many other uses of the keyring light thingy:


  • You can use it to find a key hole in the dark (the most obvious use, I know).
  • You can use it to entertain your cat.  - It’s not just human beings who have exhibited huge appreciation for keyring light thingies. 
  • The third and final reason I give them for needing a keyring light thingy is so that they can be the envy of everyone on the dance floor at whatever party is coming up that evening (as I may have explained, on this ship there’s one every night). I then demonstrate a very specific dance move that I will refer to only as the “1990’s-techno-bunny-deprived-of-a-whistle-armed-with-a-keyring-light-thingy-hip-swinging-arm-rotating-raver-jiggle”. It’s awesome, but you kinda have to see it.  
It works every time and teams get very competitive after this. So competitive in fact, that ties have resulted in angry dance-offs. 

Last cruise, one guest approached me after trivia and told me he had won one on a cruise he took 10 years ago and has been using it to find his way to the bathroom in the middle of the night without waking his wife ever since. Not only is this yet another use for the amazing keyring light thingy but it demonstrates it’s resilience. 10 years? The average cellphone barely survives two. The couple will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary next year. I’m not saying that the keyring light thingy could save your marriage, I’m just saying… -actually, that is what I’m saying. I just haven't worked that into my spiel yet. 

As anyone who has ever been to a wedding with me will know, my mad skills on the dance floor can be intimidating which is probably why, although I have given away many many keyring light thingies, no one has dared to attempt the 1990’s-techno-bunny-deprived-of-a-whistle-armed-with-a-keyring-light-thingy-hip-swinging-arm-rotating-raver-jiggle at any of our dance parties even though I offer free lessons with the prize. - That is, until last cruise anyway! 

Cool team names are mandatory at all my trivias and one team that did not disappoint me in this regard was “the Monkeys on a Totem Pole”. They were awesome and they came to a number of my trivias and then one night, they even came to a dance party armed with their keyring light thingies and attempted the 1990’s-techno-bunny-deprived-of-a-whistle-armed-with-a-keyring-light-thingy-hip-swinging-arm-rotating-raver-jiggle. It was one of the most beautiful things I have witnessed in all my months as Cruise Staff. Sure enough, they were in fact the envy of everyone on the dance floor - two little kids in particular, and they were nice enough to give them their keyring light thingies. Then, since we couldn’t do the 1990’s-techno-bunny-deprived-of-a-whistle-armed-with-a-keyring-light-thingy-hip-swinging-arm-rotating-raver-jiggle they taught me to do “the dolphin” instead which sounds misleadingly less complicated. Best trivia team ever!!! 

I made sure they didn’t leave the ship before I had replaced their keyring light thingies which was tricky because by then the stocks were running dangerously low and now we are tragically all out of them. (I’m so much less entertaining this week.) So if you’re thinking of taking one of those last minute cruise deals I recommend holding off another week or two.

I’d like to take this opportunity to send a shout out to the Monkeys on a Totem Pole. Thanks for being awesome! And cruise staff, if you’re reading this, don't steal my thing! 

   

In other news:


I survived the ‘early in your contract cold / flu’
I know it’s freezing back home in Johannesburg so if you’re reading this from there please try not be a hater when I tell you that it’s 30 degrees here in St. Maarten with about 77% humidity - outside anyway. If you go out on the pool deck you’re pretty much dripping five minutes into whatever activity you’re running and you can feel the heat rising off the decks right through your shoes. Inside however, it’s air-conditioned. I think that’s why everyone gets a cold sometime in the first month of their contract. I conveniently managed to time my cold to coincide with my Assistant Cruise Director’s cold and my Cruise Directors cold during peek season (4700+ people on board) while we’ve been understaffed (only 4 cruise staff when we should have 6/7). I’m feeling better now. 


I’ve been exploring new ports
St Maarten / St Martin is an island country but also sort of two countries in one island. I need to google this because I’m not really sure and the people I’ve asked are also confused. The other side of the island is French (St. Martin) and is apparently very clean and known for their restaurants. The side where we dock (St. Maarten) is dutch and known for their hotels. I’m not going to lie, the combination of dutchness and black people reminds me of home.


The other Oranje

I haven't been to the French side yet but it’s really pretty. 

Rodrigo and I in St. Maarten

St. Thomas is cool too. Last week Rodrigo and I wondered downtown. It’s part of the US Virgin Islands and mostly considered part of the U.S. but they drive on the left. Downtown there’s some really old buildings with these tiny alleyways full of quaint little restaurants and art shops and ice-cream parlours. 



Rodrigo and I in St. Thomas


My gay boyfriend arrives today
Evan from my last ship is signing on today. I’m really happy about that. He’s probably here already. Now there may be even more Evan more adventures. Welcome Evan!
And Jane the Entertainment Admin from this ship and my last ship went home on vacation. Bye again, Jane! 


5.5 Cruises down, 25.5 to go
Mentions of “Keyring light thingy” in this blog = 27


               
               



            

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About the Sharonicles

The Sharonicles is a travel humour blog about an ex-cruise ship crew member who is trying to adjust to life on land with itchy feet. Sharon is currently taking a break from her seafaring adventures to explore some more landlocked locations from her home base 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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