So, last night I met with a woman on the ship who shaved her head a little over a year ago. She has developed and interest in the stories and journeys of people who make the move and chose me as one of three girls she would interview as they went through the process of shaving our heads. The two other girls and I sat down with Stephanie, the woman who wanted to interview us and had a long talk about women empowerment. About how we shouldn’t be so reliant on something that is so materialistic, and that the real story of a woman doesn’t come from the length of her hair but rather what lies within. It was a great talk and lasted way past all of the tables and buffet areas being cleared, and we were the last ones to head down from the dining room in the evening.
We were not told anything about this morning. Part of me doesn’t want to write it all down for all the “pollywogs” who may one day go on this voyage, but the bigger part of me wants to share my experience. Not knowing what time we would be woken up this morning was rough, and I woke up every 45 minutes for almost 4 hours with the anticipation of hearing drums come down the hallway. At about 7:30, a crowd of drummers, symbolists and singers paraded through the hallways of every deck of the ship. They were dressed in white robes, some of them drawn on in elaborate and colorful designs. Some wore wigs, some crowns and all had excessive and gaudy make-up. This group consisted of the “shellbacks,” who are the people that have gone through this experience before and was mostly composed of the crew and cabin stewards.
Alexa and I excited changed into bathingsuits as there had been rumors of fish guts and jumping in the pool, and went upstairs to grab some grub. After that, we went upstairs and followed the sound of the drums and soon enough almost all of the ship had convened on the 7th (top) deck. Our Executive Dean, Sue White, and Academic Dean, Dean David Gies, led us all in our ceremony as King Neptune and the Queen of the Sea.
We had to chant in unison following a leader, reassuring Neptune that we were worthy of passage into the southern hemisphere! He joked and questioned our loyalty as we were called Land-Lubbers, but soon after confirmed our safe passage and the festivities began.
There were 5 chairs lined up, a lady with buzzers behind each one. Probably about 100 people shaved or buzzed their heads or got some sort of crazy Mohawk design. I decided I’d rather do it alone in my bathroom, and Alexa and I went downstairs to study for our exam tonight while the festivities continued.
Two hours later I woke up from a great nap. :) We went back upstairs to get showered in fish guts and kiss the fish after having waited for the crowd to clear, but they had run out of fish guts and closed off the pool. Sad. I went over to Stephanie, my interviewer, who was buzzing her last head and asked her to do mine since the crowd had dispersed. So she, Alexa and I sat on the top deck with a pair of clippers and a buzzer and did the deed.
It feels great (kind of like a helmet)!! I’m posting a picture because I think it suits the post. I feel refreshed and amazing and am so happy I did it. Hiking will be so much easier now too, I think, because my hair was driving me NUTS in the rainforest since it was too short to pull back. We took a group photo and came downstairs to study.
Alexa then asked me to cut her hair. She’s never had it professionally cut, so I figured she wouldn’t have too much to compare it to, so I had at it. She looks great and isn’t used to it either, and both of us are now finding it hard to focus. But, the Global Studies exam is tonight so it would be wise to stop procrastinating and start putting my reading day to good use. I’ve gotten all sorts of compliments and a lot of “I’m proud of you”’s so that’s been a neat feeling too. It's great to be an Emerald Shellback! Alright… more about Ghana next time.