Our ship just happened to be in Kusadasi on Thanksgiving Day. Despite being far away from the USA and not even American, I was in a festive mood. We even had a Thanksgiving dinner in the crew mess, which was certainly a novelty after three months of a diet consisting of sodium, rice and meat which looks suspiciously like mass-produced roadkill.
For Thanksgiving, we had turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top, mashed potatoes, gravy and cornbread. I have no idea how authentic it was but it was delicious and the Americans in the crew gave their seal of approval.
This was a perfect way to end yet another productive day drinking more magical, freshly squeezed Pomegranate juice. It’s like drinking liquid happiness. I’ve now realized that I much prefer the Kusadasi treatment as opposed to partying in Istanbul. Kusadasi is a beautiful coastal resort town making it lovely to relax in and close to the ancient city of Ephesus, whereas Istanbul is a burgeoning metropolis with over 13 million people. Once you’ve seen the sites like the Blue Mosque, you are just left with crowds, over-priced clubs and Taksim burger.
We had also another crew party scheduled for Thanksgiving night and somehow I got “volun-told” to organize it. I was reluctant, but not because I didn’t think I’d be able to do a good job. Whenever I’ve organized house parties on land, things had just gotten a little crazy. We had a Bollywood Christmas party in Toronto one year and the neighbors threatened to call the police at 5 a.m because of the 13-person drum circle in our living room. For New Year’s Eve, we had a Rastarian New Year’s (I love the idea of “fusion themes”) but made the mistake of making it an open-event and posting our house address on Facebook. It turned out to be an awesome party with close to 200 people (it was a big house), half of whom we had never met before and many we never met again.
Anyway, I couldn’t get out of it organizing this party. So going with the fusion idea again, I called it Pilgrims On The Beach, in honor of Thanksgiving and our upcoming reposition to the Caribbean. I set up a volleyball net in the bar, along with beach balls and hula hoops. And we had leis for everyone (which I know is Hawaiian, but whatever). But best of all we had Ring of Fire.
Ring of Fire, also known as Kings or Kings Cup or Circle of Death is quite possibly the best drinking game known to man (and my best-developed skill from university). Simply put, you get a deck of cards and spread it into a circle, and every card means something involving you or someone else drinking. But with so many crew on-board, one deck wouldn’t be enough. So I invented Gigantic Ring Of Fire – with 7 decks of cards!
Needless to say, I don’t think it would ever be safe to put me in charge of a work party again. Apparently hula hoping while drinking is a bad idea, and I decided to quit after my hoop took flight and landed on a senior officer. The beach volleyball was a big success however, especially after we invented drinking beach volleyball, where your drink has to be in your right hand while you play. Best of all was of course, Gigantic Ring Of Fire. So much for being on a detox!