Friday, December 04, 2009

Our Boat Trip...

A friend of mine called me up one day and said "Mo, how about we go fishing?" to which I replied with a definite "I'm in". That set the wheel in motion for this trip. My friend called the tourism company that rents out the dow's (i.e. the big old traditional Arab boats) and we each called all of our friends to join. We managed to get 31 people to join us in a relatively short period. My friend accredited this feat to the great invention of facebook. I, on the other hand, accredit it to the great invention of the telephone (without which there would have been no facebook). Anyway, it was an interesting group of people with diverse backgrounds. We had people from the US, Croatia, UK, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar (obviously), India, Bosnia, and others I can't remember. It was interesting having that many nationalities in one boat. It was even more interesting to note that we all made it back alive.

The agreed day arrived. I remember it was a Saturday. We all woke up early and drove to the port at the Corniche and there it was, our boat; ported and waiting for us to board it. It was large and had chairs on its roof. When I got there, my friend who arranged this trip with me, took me to one side and whispered: "it's shark season... they told me" signaling with his eyes at the direction of the people working on the boat. "They want me to sign something about waiving their liability in case someone gets hurt". I laughed at that, then asked if he actually signed anything yet. He said he didn't. I said "good, don't!".

Anyway, I walked back to the group of friends who already made it on time. We exchanged pleasantries and then I mischievously proclaimed to the group that it is shark season and that everyone should be careful. The reactions were priceless. Some gasped, others laughed but the funniest one was from a guy who recently came from the UK and was uh, how shall I say this without offending anyone... Really fat! Upon hearing what I said, he literally took a step back, his face changed from a relaxed just woke up expression to one that looked like he just saw a ghost, and then said with a classic London accent (and remember these are his words): "fuckin... and NOW you tell us!?" which made a few of us (including me) laugh hysterically. That made him furious and shout "who the fuck do you think the sharks would bite off you skinny bastard!" as he moved his arms up and down as if to emphasize the seriousness of the matter. I almost died laughing at that moment. In between my laughter and my attempts to breathe, I heard him shout "...LOOK AT THESE!" as he pointed at his legs. I think I blacked out from laughter upon hearing that. I'm laughing just remembering it. That guy has a great sense of humor about his weight. And boy does he eat.

When everyone arrived, we got aboard the ship and we set sails. We all almost automatically spread out on the boat. Each sub-group took an edge and sat there playing cards with each other. I played a few times in a team till we beat the opposing team, then I moved on. Sat with a few of the people I met there and got to know them better as I waited for our boat to reach the fishing spot. As we got deeper and deeper into the sea, the waves got bigger and bigger, and I felt myself getting sicker and sicker. Motion sickness sucks... I never had that before. Not on a boat at least (I had it once in a theme park ride when I was 13). I therefore decided to stand up and move around the boat in order to distract myself from the motion sickness that I was feeling. So I thought I'd check out the roof and see what was going on over there. Went up the ladder slowly, in order not to upset my stomach, got high enough to the point where my head sprung out on to the roof area and got a full feet-level view of what was going on there. I remember this clearly, I turned my head slowly and saw someone on the suntanning chair ... tanning. Nothing strange there. Turned my head further, and saw something... well, strange. I saw two other guys up there, both shirtless (still don't know why) and one was holding the other guy's hand that was closed into a fist and was slowly guiding it to his body while saying: "...and if someone comes and does this...". That's all I needed to see and hear to know that I would have a better chance of not getting sick if I was to go back down the ladder. Turned my head to the suntanning person and said: "I'm not even going to ask..." and climbed back down and just sat in a corner by myself. I realized I felt sicker now that I have seen the 'wild' stuff happening on the roof than I was just moments before. The boat kept rocking backwards and forwards, which made me feel too ill to even think. A friend of mine noticed the pain I was feeling and asked if I would like to take some motion sickness pills, I looked up at him and said "thank you for offering me those pills now... moments before I'm about to die, especially since the pills take 30 minutes to actually start its effect!" He offered them anyway and I was desperate, so I took the box from him and began reading the side-effects. There was a long list, but what caught my eyes was that the side effects included nausea. I thought that was perfect, the pill can literally cause the very effect it is suppose to be healing. This reminded me of the time I bought milk in the UK and the allergy information box on the carton actually stated in red that 'this product may contain milk!'

Anyway, I was desperate as I said so I took the pills. It unfortunately did not help. In fact, I felt so ill after taking them I actually had to lie down. That same friend recommended I go on the roof and lie down there as, according to him, I wont feel the waves as much up there. I was too ill to argue (or think it through) so I just let him help me walk up to the ladder, and I mustered all the energy I got to climb the ladder by myself and from there he helped me get to the side bench on the roof. I lied down there on my back and opened my eyes only to find the suns rays shinning so bright, it actually hurt my eyes to open them. So I turned my head away only to lay my sights on an even more painful image. The two shirtless guys were still doing whatever the hell they were doing, except this time, one of them got the other pinned down on the floor, I could hear the guy on top saying "... and that's how you pin him down when he's coming at you..." I actually turned my head away and just stared directly at the sun. I thought screw this, I don't care if I go blind at least I won't have to see that sight ever again.

I just covered my eyes after that. Unfortunately though, I couldn't cover my ears. I could still hear them and I guess the good thing that came out of that, is my subsequent deduction that they were actually practicing some fighting moves. I still don't get why they had to be shirtless though... Whatever floats their boat I guess, but I really did not want to be anywhere near them while they were doing that. I was feeling too ill to move . I just lied there, eyes covered with my hands, and kept hearing them talk about how they would handle a bad guy lunging at them like this or like that.
I honestly don't know what hell is like. But lying there hearing them and being unable to move or speak, felt to me like I was in hell. At a certain point I was compelled to sit up as I was having difficulty breathing. I sat up, leaned forward and just put my head down. I felt awful and I knew I was going to throw up soon. I knew I had a choice too. I could either, throw up outside the boat in the sea, or I could just throw up on the roof and stink up the whole roof area. As I was about to turn to throw up outside, I heard one of the shirtless two say "what if someone does this...", that's when I decided I'd rather throw up on the roof instead. And I did just that. Twice. I never felt more proud of myself for throwing up, than I did that day. It was fantastic. I threw up all over the roof, and stunk up the whole place. I washed my face with a water bottle my friends got me and just went back down.
The shirtless two were still showing off their 'fight' moves to one another even after I threw up there. As I went down the ladder and heard the noise coming from them getting lower and lower till it became almost inaudible, I felt miraculously much better. I felt great in fact. Which made me wonder whether it was indeed motion sickness that was making feel ill all along. I don't really know.

We didn't actually reach the fishing spot because it was too windy so we just stopped next to an island and swam around. It was fun. No shark attacks thankfully. We all got back on the boat, ate lunch and sailed back home.