My Adventure Crossing from Belfast to England
A word of caution: there is a difference between booking a seat on a ferry, and booking a ticket for passage by way of a ferry. Behind one door is a reserved dining area where you mingle with an elite circle (the frequent sailors club, if you will) over cocktails and roast beef, before retiring to a memory foam mattress in your private cabin. You sleep comfortably, give or take a few Dramamine (perhaps the one discomfort that the frequent sailors are not exempt from — the one that money can not buy you out of.) Upon waking to the smell of bacon, you gather your sea legs and make your way back to the mahogany doors of the elite dining area, where croissants and eggs await you and your socialite sea friends. You sip coffee and chit chat until the ship makes port, where you step onto the land, the sea breeze in your hair, feeling refreshed to continue about your business.
Or so I assume, as that was not the door that I chose.
We all looked like equals at the port in Belfast. Minus the facts that I did not have a fru-fru dog in my bag, a Rolex, or monogrammed luggage. No one else had a North Face Backpack full of Eurail itineraries and protein bars. Besides that, we were comrades going on a fantastic sea-crossing adventure. We would have great fun. My troup and l followed our noses to the smell of roast beef upon boarding the ferry, where or relationship met it’s demise in the form of Charles — the door guard. Charles asked to see my member’s card. I assumed he meant my ticket. He did not. He closed the door behind my friends, where I assume they spent their evening fashioning a rope out of tablecloths to help me climb over the divider when Charles wasn’t looking. It was in vain — for all of my personal grievances against Charles at this point, I must admire his vigilance. There was no luring him away from his post, and I retreated to a bench in the hallway, where I remained just out of my enemy’s sight.
Weeks, or maybe hours later, Charles let my friends out of the mahogany cage. i assume they tried to smuggle me some roast in their napkins, but Charles must have confiscated the food as a part of his plan to starve me into the ocean. (He clearly underestimated the size of my protein bar rations.) I had hoped that this meant that we would be ushered into a room of open seating for evening conversation. Alas, my friends disappeared into their cabins (Charles must have mind controlled them!) “Its ok guys, I’ll take first watch!” I called after them, as I realized that the bench was my “cabin.” Logistically, that would have been fantastic, if I were a small child capable of stretching to full length in 3 feet of bench space. Failing to will myself to shrink, I lay over my backpack, cable locked to it in case Charles was plotting to steal my passport and steal my glamorous identity. I slept peacefully for the 20 minutes that I stopped shivering, and acquired a debilitating crook in my neck as battle damage. The boat rocked over the waves, which was not nearly as soothing as it sounds.
Breakfast came at an ungodly hour, as we were due for an early arrival in Liverpool. Paralyzed, or maybe just exhausted, I lay there on my bag as the frequent sailors stepped over my crooked body on their way to their morning bacon. I finally willed my body upright to catch the end of the sunrise of the sea, which was my reward for staying watch all night. I stepped onto the deck on the Promenade Deck to get a little closer to the healing salt water and the cascading color change. The bottomless English breakfast behind the wall surely paled in comparison to the orange and red that bounced off of the crystal water around me. When my moment in my own secret club had ended, I went back to the lobby, where I paused to nod to Charles as if to say “good game.” (The crook in my neck somewhat limited this gesture.) I rejoined the entourage as we walked off the ferry together, the union jack flying triumphantly over the shore.