I’m sitting in a bar on deck eleven. Behind me, two women have a private dance class. They’re dancing to Footloose. I’m not even watching. I’m sitting, facing a full window. There’s a little patch of grass outside. I can’t determine if it’s real or fake. It looks real, but I cannot possibly see how the crew can maintain it, so it’s probably fake. But it’s the realest looking fake grass I have ever seen.
Past that is the sea, and off in the distance I can see land. (I think. I need binoculars to be certain.) Everyone is at lunch, so up here on the eleventh deck it’s blissfully peaceful.
We’re cruising, and life is relaxing.
The South China Sea is like a millpond. It’s funny to realise that although we’ve cruised before, we’ve always cruised on the ocean. This is our first sea, and the ship doesn’t roll much at all. (This ship is so smooth you can’t even tell when it moves away from port unless you’re actually watching.)
We’re into the last week of our overseas holiday. Next week we’ll be jet-lagged, but home.
It will be good for the blog, at least. On holiday, it’s hard to think of anything but holiday posts. 🙂
Every life experience is grist for the writing mill, writers are told. Write what you know.
Right now, we’re in Kampuchea (Cambodia). We’ve visited a number of places in the Angkor heritage area—Angkor Wat (temple), Banteay Srei (temple), Angkor Thom (village), Ta Prohm (temple).
So I decided to take some of our experiences of the last few days and use it as a writing exercise.
Not all of it, for otherwise this would turn into a homage on the engineer(s) who designed Angkor Wat—so heavy its foundations can’t support it, except for that fact they built a massive moat around it (190m wide and it forms a rectangle 1.5 km x 1.3 km) and the water mixes with the earth underneath so it acts like quicksand.
Mid-afternoon, Vianne made Stephan quicken his pace. “Gates close at sunset,” she reminded him. “Otherwise we’ll be stuck outside till morning.” With a hundred cutthroats eyeing their well-made linens, wondering just how fat the purses around their necks were. And another hundred touts trying to get them to stay at ‘their’ establishment. For a nominal cost, of course, and probably no longer any purse to pay with in the morning.
“It’s twenty years since I was last in a city that locks its gates.”
“You know your trouble, Stephan.”
“Peace has made me soft. I know.” But he quickened his pace. “If I go any faster even my sweat will be sweating.” He sighed, a long, heartfelt moment of anticipation. “I’ll be glad to get these boots off, at least. “
Vianne had changed to sandals two weeks ago. And long linens to cover her legs so they didn’t get burnt. She’d insisted on the linens for Stephan as well, but she’d let him keep his boots. There was only so much you could do for a southerner before they stopped listening.
A trickle of her own sweat obscured her vision. The sweat was rust-coloured. As was she, top to bottom. Her legs were red. Her feet were red. Her robe was red, and ready to stand up by itself.
She wiped the sweat away.
“And into some clean clothes,” Stephan said. “I’ve sweat so much I can’t even take a shit without fighting to get my pants back on.”
Vianne just wanted to wash her hair. Or shave it off. It was thick and heavy, and weighed her down.
They reached the gates with the last of the stragglers.
The guards—perhaps sensing strangers—crossed pikes in front of them. “You’re too late for tonight,” the darker woman on the left said. “Gate’s closed.”
Anyone care to take a guess at which bits were actual experience, and which bits were made up?
This holiday was supposed to be a combined writing/travel holiday. We planned to write the first draft of the second Uncharted Stars book (not yet confirmed as the book to be accepted, but we want to do a quick first draft to see how it goes).
Our tour—and we did book a tour, this being our first time in south-east Asia—supposedly had every two spare days out of five, and lots of spare time.
That hasn’t been the case. Today is the first day we’ve been able to sit down and write. Busy, busy, busy.
We’re having a great time, but definitely not writing much.
Still, I planned to write every day. So, I have. Even if it was only one sentence.