Cocktails, magicians and Broadway Shows
Kerry and I love a cruise holiday… storming across the high seas from one stunning city to the next, sampling fine dining and delighting in fabulous entertainment. The perfect recipe for a relaxing holiday combining glimpses of captivating cultures with copious cheeky cocktails. We usually choose an American Company, called Norwegian Cruise Lines. They’re huge ocean liners with varied itineraries, including full theatre performances, duelling pianos, magicians, a circus and “The Beatles” in a replica Cavern Club. We’ve sailed around the Mediterranean, to the Baltics and most recently traversed across the Atlantic from Barcelona to Miami. We’ve also cruised to Alaska, from Vancouver with Disney. An amazing experience, phenomenal shows and to describe it as “All singing, all dancing,” would be an understatement! Disney, in our experience, do everything brilliantly!
In the Spotlight
So, as you can imagine, on our latest trip to China, it came as a bit of a shock when we learnt that the entertainment, on our Yangtze River Cruise, was in fact, us… Yes, you read correctly, “us” the passengers, were invited to “do a turn” (as Kerry’s dad puts it. ) It was announced, during our safety briefing (during which no safety instructions were given…) that the “cruisers” would have the opportunity to show off their talents, in a “Show” for the other guests. We were travelling with a group of 30 from the U.K. The majority of the rest of the passengers were American & Canadian, notoriously confident in their ability to showcase their abilities!
There was much murmuring amongst our group. The menfolk were generally despondent, none committal and far from enthusiastic. As was I. Dancing was mentioned, “everyone” would be joining in, the wise kept quiet, I didn’t. I have had far from positive experiences of “dancing.” I lack coordination and don’t like people looking at me. Miserable memories of disastrous dance classes in “The Topaz,” age 8, flooded back. Me, I loved the ballroom dancing component. I was in my elements cha cha charring & waltzing to a classical repertoire in my red corduroy dungaree dress. Hearing Michael Jacksons “Eye of the Tiger” on the other hand, still stresses me out! Complicated manoeuvres, flying ponytails, eyelashes and sparkly sequins – not really me!
Are you dancing?
So… what was I to do about the situation? Well, I could dig my heels in and refuse point blank to join in. I am, after all, my mother’s daughter. She and her friend held up a Viking River Cruise, following their decision to “opt out” of attending the compulsory safety briefing. I thought about the numerous occasions I have decided that I’m just not doing something, based predominantly on a gut reaction to an old memory or experience. It struck me that our new “lifestyle” was supposed to be about harnessing new opportunities and trying different things. But what to do about it?
It felt like I’d been transported back to secondary school where I had been known to take umbrage with the “in-crowd.” I knew it would have been easier to agree, to conform to fit in – but it’s something I still struggle to do! Following my “tiff” with the instigator of the proposed “dance”, I considered how I could turn things around. How I could get involved with “The Turn” without re-creating a Topaz or sulky, stubborn “outsider” situation.
Probably not if the Queen was asking…
Our fabulous tour leader, “Mr Lee” inadvertently provided me with a flash of inspiration, he along with “Ginny” mentioning the possibility of a “song.” Mr Lee had a unique take on the English language, including the use of the phrase “You will Survive.” So, how about I rewrite the words to Gloria Gaynor’s, “I will survive” to be performed, by the group, in honour of Mr Lee, using all his little sayings?
I suggested it to a few people, everyone liked the idea. I think the fact It was 1 am and the drinks were flowing probably contributed to their enthusiastic response. So, I “collected” Mr Lee’s phrases from the group and set to. No google but lots of helpful gals assisted me in writing up the original words, with a pen… I then spent a hilarious 20 minutes, in the “DJ” hub of the boat, replaying the song to make sure I had the gist of the tune. The staff were lovely… I couldn’t imagine any other company allowing an impromptu take over of their tunes!
I left my wife in the bar and retired to our cabin, where until 4 am I faffed about trying to get a song together. As I sat, with umpteen bits of paper, trying to concentrate while we scraped and screeched our way through enormous locks I wondered why on earth I was putting myself through it! We were on holiday, if I didn’t want to do a dance, I shouldn’t feel coerced into doing it. But upon consideration, it probably would have been easier to just get over myself on the dance front than initiate and take on the pressure of re-writing a song… (Oh and rehearse and conduct it…)
But “I survived” and so did “bus 1” … I am delighted to report that we performed brilliantly. Everyone took part, we sang our hearts out and sounded fabulous. We rose to the occasion, gave it plenty of welly and gave the Americans a run for their money. Best of all, Mr Lee was truly delighted. I don’t suppose he had ever had a whole tour group perform a song in his honour before…
As for me, I was quite proud of myself. Not because of the song but that I’d managed to turn things around and enjoy being part of something. (Albeit on my terms…) Will 2018 will be the year I try a dance? I’m, after all, not 8 and will not be forced to wear Lycra! Although it definitely won’t be happening to ‘Eye of the Tiger…” or probably not if someone tells me I’ve got to do it. We’re off to Mexico, Costa Rica and Cuba next, maybe the Cubans will inspire me to take a turn or two.
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If you are heading to China check out our Top Tips guide.
If you need help in planning your trip to China check out Lonely Planet China (Travel Guide)