TASTE OF HEALTH CRUISE REVIEW
I am writing this as a very personal account, as being so involved in the event I cannot be objective.
For me, the cruise started when Sandy Pukel picked me up in his bright orange forty something year old VW Beetle ragtop. With the warm Miami air blowing across my head we drove back his home.
There I met Tiziana, famous for her raw deserts book, Sweet Gratitude and Heidi, famous for her stunning, colourful and elegant dresses. A late night inspiring conversation about the evolution of macrobiotics with Tiziana left me feeling happily connected.
In the morning the three of us walked out to go to a café and were surprised to find Sandy pushing his car home. I was amazed that despite needing to get lots of last minute foods the day before the cruise, his car dies and Sandy was as cool as freshly grated daikon. I like to consider myself calm but I think that might have tipped me over the edge. A few phone calls later and he had delegated everything.
The background sound in Sandy?s home was the ringing of phones. Sometimes Sandy had a phone next to both ears, once giving directions to one person, whilst trying to get a last minute passenger a cabin with the other. More people arrived, Bob Carr and Wendy, Laura and then Amber. Heidi and I cooked dinner. Meeting Brodie again, a friend from my macrobiotic centre days in London, was another very pleasant surprise. It felt like the Magnificent Seven coming together for one more macrobiotic show down.
Boarding the ship was exciting. My anticipation built up as we went through the passport and luggage warehouse in the company of the humorous Wendy. There would be nearly 900 of us out of a total of 2800 passengers.
My cabin was large enough to do all my consultations and treatments. Then it was time for the official introductions. Jessica Porter weaved her stand up comedy into her description of each teacher. It was not quite as cringing as Ricki Gervais at the Golden Globes but I did find myself nervously wondering what I might have confided in, when Jessica and I used to meet up in London for our insightful chats.
Although I find the subjects I teach fascinating, if I am honest the main reason I do the work I do is because of the people. So for me being on the cruise was like being in heaven. We sat together for three amazing macro meals a day and then from about 9:30 in the evening we gathered on deck for dancing, macro ice cream/pizza/cookies, organic wine and socialising. We had our own incredible singer on board, Bridgette Kossor, who filled my heart with joy. Often the cooking team would emerge from the depths of the ship at this time, rubbing their eyes after 5am starts. I made a wonderful re-connection with head chef Mark Hanna who I had not seen since a macrobiotic camp in Switzerland in 1985.
Through all the socialising, my talks and individual sessions I was blessed with the pleasure of making many wonderful new friends. I also was able to spend a week with my adorable sister Melanie and re-connect with my dear friend Patrick Riley. As if this was not enough I felt an immediate bond with Christina and Robert Pirello. It was as though we had grown up together. I loved Christina?s amazing hugs. It was great to see Lino and Jane as well as Ginat and Sheldon again and finally meet Warren and Fatim. Our days were full of laughter, interesting conversations, hugs and genuine friendships. If you are looking for a social time with loving people, whilst eating delicious, healthy food, this cruise is the place to be.
My talks were in very interesting locations. The first on Face Reading was on a cabaret style stage with lounge chairs and a bar. I resisted the temptation to commit professional suicide and sing my way through my talk whist attempting some dance routines. My Chi Energy and Healing Talk was in the disco, which during the daytime had wonderful views across the sea. Acid and Alkaline was in a cold theatre, which ensured people stayed awake.
Freedom from stress was in a lounge furnished in black and white Zebra patterned carpets and I suspect designed to be a stimulating drinking hole. I was beginning to enjoy John and Sandy?s sense of irony.
Back in the disco for Feng Shui, however, at night the glass dance floor took on a shiny, hard, bright atmosphere that, if not particularly feng shui in terms of a home, helped us stay alert. Finally back to the cabaret to present my show on macrobiotics.
Although, sadly I could not sit in on the other lectures, the dinning room was buzzing with stories of wonderful talks and cooking classes. People seemed to be transforming themselves whilst having lots of fun. I also only had time to go onshore for two visits. The first being memorable for a lovely talk exploring life, reality and people with Heidi whilst sipping smoothies and sharing a key lime pie, under a tree surrounded by wooden slatted colonial houses, and round the corner from the Little White House.
Perhaps this is what macrobiotics is: conversations exploring life, sharing delicious natural foods, hugs, laughter, and lovingly supporting each other in our journeys through life. Why would we want any more?
People came back from their shore visits with incredible stories of swimming with dolphins, snorkelling, horse riding, swimming and lazing on beaches.
It is interesting that so much of human healing occurs with water. Whether with the sea, spas, teas, springs, wells, baths and so on, humans gravitate to water for health. I have always felt healthy when sailing in small boats and I noticed that whilst on the ship I felt very good. I was going to bed later but waking earlier than usual, and feeling really refreshed.
I felt sad when it came to an end. As we gave each other hugs and waved goodbye, I had to remind myself not to cry because it?s over but to smile because it happened.
Mark arranged for the cooking team, the heart and soul of any macro event, to go to South Beach in Miami to unwind and he kindly invited me along. It felt so good to relax and hang out with everyone. The sea was a beautiful temperature and Mark Berry and I relived our musical youths as we swam. Then Mark took us to a Thai restaurant for a celebration meal. The first dish was so spicy my mouth felt numb after the explosion of fire. Fortunately Mark Berry requested cooler options for the rest of our order.
After we drove back to Sandy?s house. There were so many of us staying over night it resembled a box full of puppies sleeping together. The next day, members of our temporary family started to leave, winding their ways back to their different lives. We vowed to keep in touch.
Being the ultimate host, both on the cruise and at home, Sandy took Mark and I to watch Miami Heat play Portland Trail Blazer?s. It was a great introduction to basketball. The next day it was finally my turn to leave and after a delicious meal cooked by Haije, Sandy took me to the airport and now I am writing this back in London.
A record five hundred plus passengers have signed up for next years cruise and if you have not been before I highly recommend you give it a try. It is infectious, with many lovely people coming year after year. It truly is a wonderful way to meet people, be exposed to new interesting ideas, learn how to cook with natural foods and get all your questions about macrobiotics and more, answered. For more information on the cruise click here