When I cruise I tend to look for markets or stores that sell things I can’t get back home. As I have previously mentioned I seem to be fond of wall masks at the moment and have quite an interesting collection of African ones and Elephants, one being the Hindu Elephant God, Ganesh, also known as Ganesha.
The only problem with searching for these kinds of authentic items is that sometimes you get a little more than you bargained for.
During the Grand Event cruise I came across a shop in Vigo called Africa. Everything was handmade on the West Coast of Africa and then shipped across to Spain. I fell in love with everything and decided I must purchase some of the wall masks. I bought 2 that I would say are relatively new and modern but then I also went back and purchased another which seems to be considerably older.
As soon as I set eyes upon it I fell in love with it, it has a few imperfections but when it comes to things like these I really think it makes the item all that more interesting. The lady in the store told me it came from the Ivory Coast, delicately wrapped it in bubble wrap, placed it in a nice paper bag and off I went back to the ship.
I left the bag in the cabin and made my way out on deck for a little while. After about an hour or so I set off on my Olympic marathon back to the cabin and, overcome with the need to check out my purchase a little more closely I carefully un-wrapped the oldest mask and placed it on the bed.
It was so very strange, as soon as I un-wrapped it and looked at it I was overcome with a creepy feeling. The kind of feeling you would get if you had heard a noise in the middle of the night and could not identify it.
I looked at the front, and then turned it over. As I said it is handmade so you could see all the tool marks on the inside of what is the face, along with some spider’s webs. Well this instantly un-nerved me. I am TERRIFIED of spiders and amongst my friends it is no secret. As I turned the mask back over something moved, I jumped back about 25,000 feet into someone else’s cabin on an entirely different ship. Eventually I composed myself then slowly edged back towards the end of the bed. I grabbed the nearest thing which was a wet wipe and began to blot the mask in a desperate attempt to rid myself of this creepy crawly, which by now had probably set up home under my duvet.
Now in order to not portray myself as a wimp I could say this spider was the size of my hand, it had fangs as long as my fingers and it chased me round my cabin, however, that is so far from the truth. In fact this spider was no bigger than a pea, it had skinny little legs and no fangs but it was more than big enough to send me into melt down.
I couldn’t decide if I had got it or not so tried to call my friend. I tried and tried but I could not get any signal on my mobile phone so, being the pathetic excuse for a grown woman that I am, I rang reception and asked them to put me through to the Terrace Bar where I knew my friend was sitting. Eventually after describing my friend and the bar staff finding her she came to the phone, she by now was pretty concerned, thinking that something was seriously wrong. Well for me it was! I had a spider in my cabin!! I excitedly squealed down the phone “please Kym, you need to come to my cabin there’s a spider and I don’t know where it went, if I don’t find it I can’t sleep in here tonight”.
A few moments later my rescue was here, I had waited outside the cabin, yes, OUTSIDE the cabin, and then explained what had happened. She went in and brought the mask out into the corridor. She stood for a few moments holding it at the top and banging it against the floor, she said this way anything living in it would be disturbed and obviously try and get out. Nothing fell out so we went back in and laid it back on the bed.
I told her it was tiny but, what if it grows into a monster, I didn’t know what kind of spider it was, the mask had come from a foreign country and as soon as I had unpacked it I was overcome with the strangest feeling. I think the fact I believe in the weird and wonderful added to my hyperactivity, what if it was cursed!?
After finally composing myself and wrapping the mask back up I accepted that it had been simply a common house spider. The mask was old, clearly had been there sometime so something decided to set up home. That’s all it was.
For the final few days of the cruise I propped the bag the mask was in up against the back of the cabin door, as far away from my bed as possible. I know it sounds pathetic but hey, I care not. I do not like spiders at all and would far rather have an infestation of cockroaches in my cabin than that one teeny tiny little spider.
Today’s point, just be careful what weird and wonderful “stuff” you buy ashore, ok, it was hardly an exotic beast but still, it gave me a run for my money!
P.S. No spiders were harmed in the writing of this story……….the spider in my cabin however, I think I may have squashed it!!! Sorry!