It’s quite surprising, when I think about my travels, how much time, or how many times, I’ve found myself on the water.
I can’t swim. Whilst a 12 metre school certificate from about 1976 may hint otherwise I can assure the reader that was a simple error of judgement on my part in that yes, I actually managed some coordination to reach the other side of the swimming pool. It was certainly never repeated again.
So I’m not a fan of water.
But I am attracted to it. Sometimes.
Egypt is famous for its almost obligatory Nile cruise and indeed, what can be finer than basking in the sun upon your return from some excellent sightseeing, drifting along the magnificent river; or watching the sun set over the ancient land.
The sky seems perpetually blue and, on your floating hotel, your needs are met by helpful staff. Cruise boats are also, comparatively speaking, of a manageable size so you never feel crowded or hassled.
I did a short river cruise in Burma. The boat was much smaller and far less grand and the water much closer. In fact I could lean over the side and run my fingers through the wash. It was a memorable trip when one of my companions fell off the gangway whilst going ashore and received sodden trousers for his troubles. Such japes!
Cambodia saw me on another boat trip down the Sangker river. An interesting, if painful experience due to the fact that I have no bottom so sat upon a pile of life jackets for comfort. I’m quite sure that’s not their intended use but needs must..
That same trip saw me crossing into Vietnam by boat, travelling the mighty Mekong. I recall Chris, a fellow traveller, listening to Bruce Springsteen’s “The River” on his iPod as we wended our way down and how apt his choice of music was.
That’s the boat I was on there.
And in India, whilst I’ve yet to sail the Ganges, the Hooghly or the Brahmaputra, I’ve enjoyed the waters of Lake Pichola in Udaipur on a sunset cruise.
I really couldn’t do a cruise.
The prospect of a week or more on a huge boat, crammed with thousands of people just fills me with dread. The enforced jollity and the like brings me out in the shivers. I have a friend who cruises regularly but they are far more sociable and extrovert so, perhaps, a cruise with it’s enforced socialisation, it’s ideal for them.
But not me.
Yet there is that appeal, in certain circumstances, to interact with water, to feel its motion beneath you and hear the gentle slosh and slap as it washes against your vessel.
I can’t swim. I don’t see the appeal of cruising but..