An old pommie guy once said that all of life is a stage, and we are but players. It’s Saturday, I think. We boarded the boat yesterday in Catalonia and now we’re in France. I call it a boat, but when you’re seventeen stories high and weigh a hundred and fifty thousand tonnes you probably get to be called a ship.
It’s pretty funny watching our fellow passengers as they struggle to orient themselves on the ship. We’re old hands (ah, so that’s where that saying came from) and generally end up more or less where we want to be. There was that brief awkward moment when we walked into the engine room, but the crew is always understanding. And then there was that other moment at the special Retreat pool. A nice lady from Ukraine is telling us how Nanette could have a nice massage while I relax beside the pool. Sure! How much? Oh -three hundred and fifty euros for the short treatment – smile, nod, smile some more and pretend to be allergic to massage oils.
… Time for our first shore excursion. We’ve decided to warm up slowly with a short excursion along the Cote d’Azure. Joy and rapture! As we board our bus we’re engulfed by ten members of the Didjabringabeeralong Bingo and Darts Club! They’re loud. They’re pushy. They’re Aussies. In unspoken agreement, Nanette and I both pretend to be Albanian.
Sanary and Bardol are lovely little villages reminiscent of Noosa. They were once fishing ports, but now it’s all about holidaymakers and tourists. We climb a hill path to get a view of the bay at Sanary and stumble across a little chapel. There’s singing. A small group of locals and some nuns have just finished a service. We nod. They nod. We all descend the path together and then our lives diverge again.
Bardol is even more popular than Sanary. It’s really hot and the pocket-sized beaches are crowded. Still, the water looks so inviting we take the opportunity to act like locals and paddle in the clear Mediterranean. It’s tempting to just stay here forever with the tepid water swirling around our ankles, but then we’d miss tonight’s concert at the ship. It features a guy who pretends to be Michael Buble.