What No One Tells You About Being A Travelling Mermaid
My name is Clara and I am a mermaid in Singapore. No, that isn’t a euphemism, and yes, it means big tail, shell top, shiny highlighter, the works. However, my aquatic adventures have mostly been confined to swimming pools and the occasional aquarium.
But are you a real mermaid if you haven’t posted glamorous pictures of yourself on the beach, flukes and fins up? I put it down on my bucket list to head to a watery situation that wasn’t Sentosa or East Coast Park, break out the camera, and take some photos that I can prove to my grandchildren that ah ma used to have it in her.
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The problem: I am the laziest travel planner. I loathe combing sites and comparing information, and distilling lots of details just isn’t my thing (how many beaches can one look at?). Having already once been on an Anywhr trip, I decided to could call upon the good folks once again to help a mermaid (and her travelling companion) out to make my siren dreams a reality.
If you must know, this is what we indicated in our Anywhr travel preferences form – and I quote, verbatim:
“Clara is a mermaid and would like to go to a place where she can use her fins/tails (and Amanda would like to take pretentious mermaid pictures too). It would be great if we went to some chio [pretty] body of water.”
After what I’m sure was utter consternation with the Anywhr team, we received an email affirming that they were rising to the challenge – the mermaid tails were good to go.
It looked like all my Instagrammable dreams were coming true.
If you didn’t post it, did your holiday actually happen?
Some agonising months later, we turned up at the airport to find out that we were off to Destination X. It took us four hours to drive to our accommodation from the airport, and once we checked in, it was off to the beach – just a ten minute walk away.
I’m going to let you in on some mer-trade secrets. There is a whole lot of work behind being a mermaid, especially if you want to travel. A tail can be so large/heavy that it doesn’t fit into a traditional suitcase. You’ll need to pack fins, tops, and accessories and cart them to your chosen location. And once you get there, you’ll need to brave the stares of everyone around you to wriggle into your tail (this isn’t something you can hurry yourself into), flop ungainly on land until you reach the water, and then strike a pose like the above sentences did not happen.
Here’s how we would describe the vibe of the town – the people are so chill, they’re practically horizontal. But even the most unflappable of locals did a double take when Amanda and I turned up at the beach with our enormous backpack and transformed from innocuous tourists to washed up sea creatures. One woman actually approached us to touch the tail tentatively. “Is it real?” she asked in wonder. “Yes, we swam from Singapore,” we deadpanned. Bless her heart, she almost believed us.
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Well, we got what we came for – the experience of rolling around a beach in a tail, feeling the saltwater on our fins and gazing out into a pink-streaked skyline as the sun set. And of course, these pictures.
Pro tip: Lose all sense of shame. When your friend is waving her phone at you, yelling “Look into the light! Serve me face! Part your lips! YAAAAS!!!!” in front of a crowd of bystanders, you do as you’re told.
Swapping fins for legs
Beach shenanigans aside, the Anywhr team hooked us up with an amazing apartment with a beautiful pool which we paid a visit to almost every day. We took some hideously embarrassing GoPro footage that’s hidden in the recesses of my computer, and we provided entertainment to the tourists lounging by the poolside.
When we were in human form, we paid a visit to a waterfall recommended in our personalised travel catalogue, and on the way befriended our driver who took us there. Swopping our fins for legs meant we could spend an entire morning hiking through a national park to get to a hidden cave and waterfall. It looked straight out of an Indiana Jones movie.
“This could be the best trip I’ve ever had,” sighed my friend as she stretched out on the bed on our last night. “It hit the sweet spot between activity and relaxation.” We selected the Getaway option when we booked our trip, and Destination X did provide the escapism that we were looking for – including a brief respite from being human.
Our fins might be packed, but we’re already dreaming of our next trip. The next time, we’ll have bigger fish to fry.