Saturday, 30 April 2016

Cruise 3.1 German Waterways, part I. The murky waters.

Sitno >>233<<

I panicked there for a second, because I couldn't remember if I've posted the full page of my shipping memoirs on the blog yesterday, or did I remember to skip the fuck story I wrote for myself?.... (Don't judge - I won't see my husband naked until winter and the only porn I get is listening to the porn music they play in the background of the cruise DVDs ...) But I didn't. Phew. I got the free wifi sitting on a window sill of an Apple store just like any other seaman, but the iPad is so shocked it's finally online, it keeps getting stuck. So it was a bit of an impromptu post. Tried to find out how to tame the white ballance on the Mark, but as far as I can tell, the problem isn't in my white balance being orange balance, it's the studio's pre-set templates that only wish to be adorned with Nikon stuff. It's been recommended that if I plan to linger for a few contracts, investing into a Nikon might be a good idea. Not as a replacement, just as an alternative. Both are great, Nikon is better for the cruises. And a nice good fat reportage lens. Should I decide to linger. Right.
Anyway. Wrote a poem.

There is a dark fire within me
I have a burning darkness within
There is an ocean and a sinking island
Too quick the world won't be where I've been

There is a body with the heart void
There is a beating cavern within
I use it to store my whispers and secrets
And letters and ashes I feed to the wind

There's a red line down my arm
I hide my red hand in a fist
I've buried the glass in the sand of my gardens
And the rest won't be missed.

.. No, it isn't at all about murdering my instructor and stealing his gear, honest. I would never do that :D
On a more important note, I cannot seem to last until thursdays for off days - for some reason the world just wants to feed me goodies on wednesdays. It was a wednesday last night, wasn't it? By a freak coincidence I sampled - not gorged on, trully just sampled: rice pudding with coconut, caramel ice-cream, papaya hemisphere, tiny flan, a small strawberry rollade, and a little bit of brokoli lasagna and cranberry juice.

Sitno >>232<< or >>231<<, not sure, though probably >>232<<... Or it's >>231<<

These are LONG days. I am lucky if I get six hours of sleep, mostly because in the eve/early night I am too awake to force myself to clock out and the mornings start early. And there is always something. Yesterday I had to stay on ship again, because it was an hour's drive to the city and I would have to give my firstborn or a really good head or something to get in on the good tours, whereas the less good ones I am usually supposed to be doing something, like shooting gangway or chasing clients. None of the bookings panned out, financially, and I am yet to shoot a single one, though by now the lesson has gotten so pointless, boring and unimpressive, not even the Seascape expert extraordinare has any will to live left. Alas, he's paid good money for this, so he has to at least pretend. Like with most Slavs, when the weary kicks in, charm and humor are the first to go. I no longer care at all if I shoot anything or not, I just want to put the 'second formal' behind me. I've a shoot at 15:00 and another one at 17:00, maybe, and there are two more at six and seven, and at five thirty the sittings for the second formal evening begin and then the restaurant shots, once, twice, and am not sure about the gallery. I may just keel over when all that's done. The Seascape maestro is leaving us tomorrow. He was a good mentor, me thinks, at least in the beginning. Taught a lot. Also cheered us all up, for a few days at least ... It would have remained depressing until one of us quit or something. At least for as long as he was here, I wasn't treated like a dog.

They trained us, in school for cops, to inspire your employees to be able to take off the badge and become a civilian at the day's end, because for cops and the 'hero' kind of professions it is not possible until it becomes a problem and you start to drink or worse. I don't want to lose myself to all the thank yous and the smiles and the jolly goods and the how are yous, I'm grant!... I still want to be me. But once I put on something, some token or an item - my name tag in this case - I become an actress. My own self is locked safely away. We had diner with the Seascape guy, and by this I mean we had a break at the same time, ran up, ate in a hurry and ran back to work, so I asked him all sorts of personal questions and now know almost all there is to know about a man to know wher he'll end up. That was me asking and he was answering like a person would answer, not someone wearing a name tag. He said I come off like a preacher, someone you confess to, someone you just tell anything. I know he never saw Firefly. I know where a small bullet went through him when his army was bothering Kosovo. I know he believes in God and prayscto God to do the dirty work for him. I know why he is sad. I know that if he doesn't stop fucking around and hiding on ships - because life for you stands still when you're on a ship, like some odd spell - and stops dating women too young to hurt him and start making babies, he will end up alone. I told him as much. I doubt he listened. I was the same after divorce, but I got lucky with the hand dealt next.

Yestereve was old British queen's BD celebration and everyone dressed up in flag colours and sang hymns to Britain eternal, bless their naive little hearts, and they actually posed properly. Unlike the morning gangway, which was a fucking nightmare, NOBODY stopping. Today's majestic photoshoots should be fun, what with fog so dense Odin must be sleeping and the sea a colour of forgotten stuff. 

It's midday now, we have an Await orders Team class - what our duties are and what general duties even for us are, like Code Papa, which is a bomb search or a pirate invasion. (Not the fun kind, the Somali kind.) Beforehand I was in the gallery and tried to shuffle the shoot dates. Nobody cares anymore. 

I learned, though, that the ship can and will fire you if you insult a passanger, but that doesn't mean really insult them, like calling them a bad word to their face or somesuch, but sully their ears by uttering a curse word, even just by yourself (say, dropping a pen and saying Shit!.. Or hitting your toe and crying: Fuck me!...) if someone complains you were unlady like, you're gone. This goes also for applying humor that flies above them: saying something like: oooh, I love your silly little outfit, it's almost tasteful!... (When they're wearing something, like, say, english flag bunny years or something in sequins...) Or someone says something almost funny and you say something almost funny and they say something almost funny and you say something back and the next thing you know, you're packing - because although it was just a pleasant little banter, you somehow gave them reason to make their day by reporting you. You can never know what it's gonna be. I am almost certain that if I am fired from a ship, it will be for saying something wrong, something completely and utterly ridiculous. My favorite are the guests who don't want to buy anything, but want to tell you why that is, example: I would buy it, but that man who's behind me on the photo is funny looking... Or: I would like you to crop this part of the photo, but, oh, no, then the composition and qualities won't be good anymore, will they? That's a shame, I quite like it otherwise?
Mrs, the compositing and the quality of the photo once the size of what you got wouldn't improve if you painted Mona Lisa over it, so let's not get too technical.
I tried to compliment a man on his large wristwatch and said it looks good but only on a large man and he took it as an insult to his weight.
I'll get fired for thinking maroon is the same as brown. Mark my word. 

Any moment now the coffee will kick in and I will be up.
Any moment now the coffee will kick in and I will be able to be up... Gotsta run to the top of the ship where the piano is. Dunno why, doesn't matter. It's only 8 stories. Then the shoot. Then another shoot. Then formal, restaurant, formal, restaurant and then probably editing. It'll be two before I'm done. Seascape character is only here for one more night. That sounded a lot dirtier than I wanted to make it sound - fact it, after he leaves, we'll have to do all the editing for these pointless photos ourselves. Unlike him, who obvioustly confused this ship of 89% returning retired customers (for some it is the twentyseventh fucking cruise) for a perky carribean luxury liner, where people care you just spent the whole night replacing the background of gray shipping containers with an azure ocean as much as they care about last year's snow.

Which is what I will be doing tonight. But I don't know how. I am too slow with a Mac to edit seventy photos. I would have problems editing five. I've not the ambition to edit one. 
Thing is, with these shoots, I feel fake, I feel forced, I feel uninspired. That's okay. I am not paid for my skill, I am not paid at all. I just need to get faster and just learn by heart the settings and the poses - and to wear trousers - because it is what the company desires and, so we've been told, the customers expect. It just really isn't connecting. It has been a long time since I did something completely without the heart involved. And never to do something so without a heart and know I'll be doing this until I return to land..

Eh, my not-so-angel
Gabriel, I've no wish to
Take your glass eye.

Haikus aside, I reckon the fastest way to learn what is expected of me is to just the exact opposite of what my heart tells me. I am constantly reminded that the lack of quality in my work is utterly frustrating to SLSB, but the photos he prints out for the clients I would not show to another human being if my life depended on it. 'Course people eat them up. As they're glossy.

Sitno >>230<<

The dickbags collective forgot me again and so after six hours of service, I spent another better part of an hour just standing behind the counter, feeling stupid. It's not that they're mean, they just don't give a fuck enough to remember I exist. The whole Seascape chapter was a sham, it went so badly neither of us will want to book a single session ever again, and the Seascape character left the ship as fast as his feet would carry him; didn't bother to say goodbye. If we do meet target, it will be a miracle... Or so I'm told, although I think my superior, SLSB just really likes to come off as a tortured soul, slaving and giving life and limb each cruise to meet the required quota...  That way in the end he takes all the credit for suceeding. Unless he fails, in which case it's probably my fault for being an bad at everything, something I hear every day. I am improving too slowly and he is very upset for being forced to work with someone who clearly lied about doing photography before. Every day. 

The most fun part of SLSB, though also the most tragic, is watching him try and get it on with the ladies. Where I am from, the people from his country are the ones you see by the highways, carrying their possessions in plastic bags, looking for seasonal work and hustling cheap watches and hobby equipment. I know it's not his fault he is the size of a foot stool, but since he is cruel to me, I can watch him and enjoy. There are many pretty ladies working on this ship. He tries the 'friendly' approach, tried the 'naughty' approach, tries the flirty playful thing, little pinch here, little tug there, a squeaky laughter on his own joke if else fails ... Oh, how the lovely ladies tolerate him, their smiles kind, suspecting he's never satisfied a woman in bed. Not for his long eyelashes nor for his mouth is he desirable, certainly not for a butt the size of a single coconut. And definitely not for the aloof air of 'I am better than you are all here, without me you are all would fail..' His quickidy step in pointy formal shoes is not the least bit confident or erotic, his dismissive way of speaking to everyone is the least bit appealing. He's been here for far too long and still he is a complete nobody. But what throws him the worst is a presence of an alpha - the moment a bigger, handsomer or a more sucessful man appears beside him, he turns into an eager lap dog. The moment a higher rank closes in, he is the instant obedient servant, chauvinistic in an attempt to bond and resentfull in seeing that when a better man could have the pretty ladies and choses not to for there are better things to do with women than look at them as prize.. How difficult the women are, eh? How difficult the guests, the everyone else... I write this on a back of a void receipt. I would never bother to hide such writing from him, for he is not the kind to ever read a sentence longer than five words if it isn't about making him money. Sad little pigeon in the rain. And I apologise to pigeons.

We sailed well up Seine, though it's raining and it isn't as glamorous as it could be. So far I've seen two cities, two towns and four docks... Okay, so that's not quite so bad for a fortnight... Can't believe it's only been 14 days... It feels soooo much longer.

Biiiiiitch it's cold. The gangway gates were wide open for the day and the nine degrees above freezing just crept in until I had to put my stockings on for the first time. My shoes are now too big. No matter. I mostly just stand, do my Kegels and smile for the costumers. Ate a couple of small sweets today,p. We went out at night and I knew I'll need them to keep warm. Also think I may have gotten some fungi on one of my feet. Great. Just what I needed. More feet problems. 

Sitno >>229<<

Went out today (slept oddly, kept waking up to different songs, having confused, patched dreams of  real memories, only in odd context), first washed me socks, then went out and walked around the town from nine till two. Along the river, where Statue of Liberty was put on a boat and shipped to US; around some massive churckes and chatedrals, crazed as the French are about them; around a medieval looking downtown, preserved in it's pretty colours and forms; by some newer buidlings and a Sunday flea market. (Ye, is Sunday. G's off to lunch with his mum and da. Da had BDay.) It rained twice while I was out. The city reminds me too much of dead little girls - first of all every street is pronounced Rue and that's a killed little girl from Hunger Games and second, they really do feel bad about burning that poor schitzofrenic teenager on a stake, so now you can actually find the tower where she was kept and tortured, there's a Joan d'Arc avenue and there is an odd, very ugly and terrible looking church where she was executed. Made me, cry, looking a statue of her burning, her face mythically turned to God in serenity. Fucking hell. This world needs to stop killing little girls. 

Was thinking, what I really need, besides a coffee and a brownie, is something to meet my camera and my iPad and some very basic photoShop to just edit some cropping shit and then post some of this sightseeing material on the blog alonside the babble. I am fairly certain there has been a connector invented by now. Will look for it the next time we dock somewhere with an iStore.

Today we work until very late. Last day. I wonder if I really will get 30 bucks of the Seascape booking bonus that was mentioned to me or will SLSB just ignore that bit and keep all of the money for himself or, better yet, let the Bosses have it, so it'll seem like we made more in which case he will get credit for being a good boy. 
300 pounds, litmus litmus? 

Sitno >>228<<

Good gods there is so much food on this ship. I know I say this every day, but you don't understand: even with the number 85 drawn on my wrist, even with the line: JUST BECAUSE FREE FOOD, NAKED MEN OR GOOD BOOKS ARE WITHIN REACH, IT DOESN'T MEAN YOU HAVE TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT constantly in my brain, I cannot always resist. I had a brownie with ice-cream, a tiny donut, half a blueberry pie and some foamy cream today. Yes, they were really small portions, and I did spend and hour in the gym cycling, jogging and lifting weights, but really. They were pushing trolleys and trolleys and trolleys of these amazing pastry set-ups pass me all day. All fucking day. They have Toblerone in the shop window OPPOSITE of me, as if I was being taunted. FOUR different kinds! That I haven't tried before! Come ON!

I tried to watch more One Piece while working out, but the files were corrupted and the iPad crashed and I didn't know how to restart it, though it's okay now, I think, I hope. I made a couple of clerical errors yesterday, like walking into the mess while there was a meeting underway (did not know that's where they have meetings damnit), I grabbed a bagel and offed away, but did not wash my hands, which is a freaking no-no, and later the Hotel Manager reminded me I am not to wear my keys and tags around the neck, visably. Okay. I'm new. I'm still being forgiven. SLSB and FPP are kind of talking to me, kind of cheerful and I can see they were told that at least in some sense they should be nicer to costumers - they should try to take a page from my book, no less, and actually give a shit about the passangers, or at least attempt to fake it. Problem is, I am not faking it, I honestly do think their outfits are gorgeous, their stories interesting and their faces appealing. They think it's just a pitch, but I got ('twas last day) a hug today, a handshake, a compliment that I am the only of the three ever smiling and two comments that being so talkative and engaging is wonderful. I have the Seascape character to thank for this, because he put it very well for me: these people are old and some are lonely and it is quite possible that nobody cares what they think and feel. Well, I care what they think and feel. Obviously some are dicks, some try to cheat us for one more photo, some whine how costly we are and some demand special treatment and never show up in the end to actually buy anything. But most are lovely. I hope I never grow out of this attitude. Fuck Thompson if everyone on it is going to be like SLSB.

All aboard. Another horde of 800 plus pax and we are about to raise anchor and get the heck out of D. New faces, new challenges. It's amazing how distracted some are; they have no idea what you want from them when you are trying to take their photo. I thought I was the only person like that. They are very different from one another, these elderly. I wonder what handicap or mental feature I will have when my time comes. I wonder if some day, in fifty or so years, it will be the tall bald General and the short fat me posing for a cruise photo ...
Half the day is done. On the minus side, I stood in the cold for five hours and was frozen stiff. I probably got a cold. On the plus side they let me take all the photos today and I can now fit in size 18 clothes. Not related. Am just saying.

The land manager came and went. He assured me I am not getting fired and should I ever need anything, do not hessitate to ask. Two thoughts occured to me. One, that I genuinely do not require a single thing on this whole entire planet. There is not a single thing I'm missing, that could be bought. Second, when I prepared to lie and say I'm feeling happy now, even though I did not have the name tag on - it wasn't a lie. I am actually starting to get happy. I don't need bandaids for blisters anymore, I don't get lost on the ship anymore. I walked out today and did not have the urge to keep on walking. Supposedly the Seascape guy spoke well of me, said I am very sociable with the passangers and that I take better photos than he did when he first got here.. Really? I am told everyone knew instantly how to do photos of people while they're eating or hurrying to a bus...  SLSB sent some of my worst to the Land Manager to prove a point, but Seascape guy sent some of the latest. Manager said I am almost there. So, it was not a lie. Funny, that. I know they keep SLSB around despite his lack of appeal because he makes money and supposedly isn't a bad manager. I am really worried of what IS a bad manager. And what IS bad money? How much do these people think one deserves to get, working without a day off for eleven hours a day?  

Gallery from four thirty to elevenish tonight, I think. Then two sea days. First formal tomorrow. Shitty weather. Am taking a pill as a precaution. I've never been to any of the cities we are going to, so no idea what to expect. Though I regret not being able to visit Monet's crib back in Rouen, French cities began to look all the same. Everyone is looking forward to the mystery cruise. This one will last ten days. 

Sitno >>227<<

If you want to see how slow you can make time go, take two anti sickness pills and stand in a hallway for five hours, smilling at passers-by. 
This weather does NOT agree with me. The ship is dancing in every direction and I've taken so many seasickness pills I feel like I'm still asleep. I dare not eat, only an apple. Not even coffee. Which I direly need. For some reason our toilet is not flushing and more and more water is coming up, splashing around the bathroom... I kept waking up at night, thinking the room is already flooded.. I was cold, even with the thermostat on 25’C, so I put the quilt back. Today is not going to be an easy day. 

I was too sick to function, falling in and out of unhappy sleep until three pm, then barely managing to get myself enough together for the first formal. I thought it went well, but now that we are alone again SLSB never stops putting me down, stressing how dissapointing my lack of quality or progress is, stressing how he questions my credencials entirely ”for this is not what your quality would be if you took photography before.." and constantly hinting it is my fault we are making so little money. Minimum quality is all he asks. He has to do everything himself. I never reach even minimum quality. 

I've written a letter of resignation to the land manager twice by now, telling him that making less than a grand a month, living in a windowless cell like an animal, under constant threat of vominting and diarhea and being told day in and day out how badly you perform, is nowhere near as fun as it sounds. I asked SLSB why he hates me so much and he said it's not personal, he only hates that I've been imposed on him and I know nothing. 

Because, you know, he was born with perfect and extended knowlege of ship photography. Of course he would never actually tell me what I am doing wrong. Just that I am too bad. And too slow. 

And the best moment of this miserable day (I have to stop myself from writing to G, because just thinking about him makes me cry silent crocodile tears. I miss him so fucking much. And for what?) was me, taking a cracker I wasn't supposed to take. OH NO!! The photographer took a cracker from the guests's buffet table! With her HAND! Stop her! Kill her! Stop the ship and throw her off!! oh, no!...
Five people jumped on me and told me off and then went and told SLSB, who told me off and then I was threatened with being told off by the Hotel manager and fired. Am I not allowed enough time to eat my meals? Well, of course, master, only I haven't yet had a meal today what on account of being sick as fuck and I needed to put something in my stomach to settle down the acid. I did not think half the restaurant will suffer a stroke from witnessing someone putting a cracker in their beak. When I asked the waiter for a glass of water to take down the pill, they took me in the back, gave me a dirty old glass and made me take water from a sink. So compassionate they are, so kind.

I'm gonna sleep with the light on, because I am having nightmares again. But I want to think about the good stuff while I doze off and today's good stuff were the outfits. Some people are naturally elegant and glamorous and most of these formal sitters have such good taste. They match posh gowns with minimal jewelry, or minimal gowns of velvet or lace, with extravagant, unique and handmade pieces. I cannot get enough of them - I want to just photograph them head to toe. They are so handsome. Timeless, really. A lady with a touch of Melissa Leo wore a deep, dark violet plush gown, had violet tinted hair and an ametist pendant. Truly splendid lady. 

If only I was not too retarded to take her picture.

Sitno >>226<<

Yup. Hermes and Triton ARE looking out for me. You know those nightmares about my bathroom flooding and the room drowning and in real life the toilet overflowing in the middle of the night? Two days ago I put all my things off the floor and into a suitcase and the suitcase up on the chest because of those dreams and leakages... And today so much water came out of the drain on the bottom of our bathroom it flooded the entire area - the hallways and the rooms, all five inches deep in an indoor pool, originating from our room. They are still vacuuming up the water now and cleaning up sewer sand.

Wednesday, off day, because food. We've already established that I cannot seem to last till thursday, because food always finds me on wednesdays and today was Asian lunch, meaning (and I also didn't notice there were two buffets, so ...) I sampled a little bit of any food I saw, mainly noodles and rice. I used to be the only person around that finished her plate clean every time, because I always know exactly how much and of what I wish to ingest. Now I just load my plate with everything, take a bite of each and eat only what's good. It's shameful, but nobody notices my shame. So, for deserts, I tried an asian version of flan, a rice jelly with sweet corn and cream, rice pudding with cardamom, cinnamon and raisins and Chinese ginger cheesecake, which was the best of all. I also began what I planned to do all along: each week sample three of the offered chocolates in the cafe near the library. (I am not reading enough, godsdamnit.) 

An odd wave of homesickness came in and lingered for about half a day. I can always feel it coming, because I get very sensitive. For example, even though our company pays for us to be allowed to eat at a particular restaurant, the waitors there treat me like I'm stealing the food. They just tell me: we are budy now, come back in two hours. Well, I don't have my lunch break in two hours. And I am not asking for charity. To rebel, I take stuff, like biscuits or dry pastry, and take it to my friends, who are not allowed to go in. I am sure everyone sees. Let them.

We passed under a big Danish bridge just after sunset and I remember going over it for our honeymoon. I began to miss G too much. Much too much. Enough to think I've had it with this meager earning, sickness every third day at sea and standing for eleven hours, smiling at people who, no matter how much they buy, is never enough. A ship officer who likes to hang around young ladies came by and wanted to talk naughty things, but we, the girls, just talked about bingo and types of shops and ships and caraoke nights. Did I mention my room got flooded? My room got fucking flooded. He told me a funny dirty joke :D I told it to the General and he said it's a dangerous joke, because sooner or later it will be told in this form: "Do you know what sound your girlfriend makes when she sees a really big one? I do." Like I said, dirty jokes.
I should probably go to the gym, but I don't want to. I want to read. In bed. And sleeeeep. 
Here's the sad short poem for today:

So, these tears of giants,
This too big, restless sea,
Are there any animals in it
Or just the monsters be?

Sitno >>225<<

HAHAHA. Scolding session of today (11pm, after six and a half hours of working in the galle(r)y and being told I am not attentive enough): there have been online complains about a lady photographer being too aggressive in her approach to costumers................
.............HAHAHA. Are you telling me that after two weeks of being trained how to be pushy, insistent, tricky, sneaky, manipulative and  - I clown you not - aggressive in taking people's photos, and then countless times crying myself to sleep in the cabin from shame of having to interrupt people while they eat or to swindle and sell one more, one more, one more photo to old ladies, being called ”This is the lady that takes pictures nobody wants.", I have somehow misunderstood all those instructions? "Don't be so hysterically friendly!" Oh, you mean, be more like you? Who spits a dirty word in a language they can't understand after every pax that says No, thank you...? Do you seriously think they don't know what you're calling them? The Seascape guy said never to take no for an answer and always take a photo even if they say no, convincing them they really want it. Take more! Take everything! You are paid for the ones you take, the ones you sell! Learn how to get the people to want them! .. He told me lines to speak, such as: 'somebody requested the photos be taken and as I do not know who I have to take everybody's' ... After standing in the lobby outside the dining room, preying on people on their way to dine, with an only task of getting people to pose for a formal studio, I somehow misunderstood my task for those evenings? I should get the most people to pose by NOT TALKING to them? Or what? Do everything you can to meet target and more, but by HOPING they would like a neece foddo? (Oh, yeah, you are likelier to get them to pose if you have an eastern european accent. My English is too good.) Because you can bet your freaking ass that when my sweet boss is ”justifying" this complaint to the management (and strawman all the other complaints along under it), he will repeat one phrase over and over and over again, until it sticks: she is new and not very good. She is new. The new girl. It is the new girl. She is trying too hard. She doesn't know ahything. It's the new girl. IT WAS THE NEW GIRL.

I did my best to look concerned when SLSB repeated fifteen times that if they ever mention you by name, complaint-wise, you are in serious trouble. No, honey. YOU are in serious trouble, because I can justify my actions five times better than you and not even lie ONCE. Unlike you. And unlike you, if I am to be punished for doing EXACTLY what you told me, possibly by being fired, which would be the nicest present to you EVER I imagine and it will be the first time you smile at me, it simply means that I will be - FREE. Free from your constant urge to belittle me. I will get my dignity back. I will get my honesty back. I will get my temper back. I will get my gentle skin and soft hair back. I will get my peace of mind back. I will get my home back. Unlike you, there IS a home for me, with a lover and a dog and friends. I will get my quiet anonimity back. I will get strangers to stop touching my camera back. I will get sleeping in a room that hasn't flooded twice in two weeks back. I will be free of old men and their innuendo. I will get this big ugly stinking rock off my chest of doing everything and all the time wrong and wrong and wrong. There was a complaint over the lady photographer being too aggressive in taking the photos??!
... When I was coming here, they told me that SLSB was a nice guy, a good manager... I am genuinely curious what kind of people work for this agency, if this is their creme of the crops... 

You know, watching the ramp being assembled once the ship docks is a very dangerous thing. It means the land is nigh. It means a bridge is being built. It means that the doors are going to be opened. That is not an easy thing to watch. It makes you want to eat the land or let yourself be eaten by it. Dark thoughts.

Sitno >>224<<

Here's another bad, sad poem: 
(Though je suis sick of this depressing shit and need to cheer up soon.)

*this applies to magic, love, humanity or any other fickle human candor, but I'm choosing grace.

Grace, ladies and gentlemen,
Grace will give up.
Put your hands together for grace,
Grace, ladies and gentlemen, has left the stage.
Grace has lost a bet to a deep, dark, dirty sadness.
And was asked, politely, to leave town.
There was no method to it's madness.
Garce has returned to it's cage.

Alright? Enough now?
I am the traveling auntie Max for fuck's sakes. Enough of this depression shit, seriously.
There were plenty cool things happening last night. Was too stunned by irony to talk about Bingo and Flensburg and Denmark and how I tried to send the General my pay via Western Union - still not sure I suceeded, am awaiting confirmation... (Alright, ye, I suceeded. Yay.) But the reconoissance of Flensburg, a German city heavily influenced by Flandria, that was nice. Some hail fell. Supposedly there's actual snow back home. There was a fire in a city, albeit I only was black smoke. Havoc wherever I go, eh? But mostly there were nice heavy churches, gothic and German as can be, some quaint little buildings and pretty sailboats with ducks on 'em. 

So, in short :D
Denmark is very flat. Really flat. Their tallest bump is 150 or so meters and they have a very tall, very long bridge. This also mean cellphone reception is amazing even in the middle of the sea. The weather's cleared, so it was just deep ocean, brilliant green line of land with (modern) windmills on it and bays full of reed-like sail bunches, and puffy white clouds above it. 

Flensburg was three hours of feeling good, hail and sun, a beautiful long street, tiny picturesque yards and passages, old buildings made of red brick in the heavyset, very big but very functional, hardly decorated German fashion. I found some basic postcards and then some pretty ones, but had no money left.. . As it turns out, when you're sending via WU, you pay extra AFTER you send, say, if you're sending 500 eur, you pay 5% plus. I first though they just deduce, but no, you have to pay extra 25 eur. I was gonna keep those 25, alas. Keep trying to find wi-fi. I also keep trying to get to museums or galleries, but it isn't happening. My tasks are always very neatly organized to be smack in the middle. Wanna bet I will miss Guggenheim? Mm? Wanna bet?

... No wifi in Trevemunde either. And of course no visit to Lubeck; just a quick look aroun the town and back to boat. In love with the church there. Though I always feel sorry for that guy hanging on a cross. That's just so sad. Will have a better chance at Hamburg, I hope, at least regarding WiFi... Scary, seeing DMs, though. Drogerie Markets. All DMs are arranged the same and I would get that frightful dejanvu moment again, when I close my eyes and try to teleport to my hometown's one... I cried on the phone with G today, and he was trying really hard to not to say 'just come home', I could tell. 

My friends on shop try to cheer me up, saying no matter how hard you try, with a bad boss, you are always gonna be told you are bad, so just fuck it, just try to enjoy it and when he yells, just think of something fun. I am used to being told to improve by the General, whose words are sacred to me. Switch that off.

I wonder if this ship is a magnet for assholes or is just how the real world is like and I've forgotten? I gestured at a shopkeeper today, that she has a customer, as there are more shops and one was being left unattended and a customer was asking me about it. The shopkeeper came to me, upset, and said: Please never call for me like that again, I am not a puppy, and you will get a very negative reaction from me...
What the...

I remember I spent about an hour afterwards thinking what kind of a human being talks like that to another human being? For trying to HELP. I must try it sometimes, but who would I ever want to talk down to like that? It would have to be a pope or some tzar or something. Never in a million years would I say something like that to somebody... Maybe I should tell her to get the fuck off her high horse and never speak to me AGAIN? Oh, but it is too easy to make enemies. A happy thought is that these people, the dicks, will never be in my life and after I am done here, will never have to see them again.
Thing is, a ship like this, even though in my old age I am more comfortable eating in the officers' lounge than the crew mess, more comfortable using a knife and fork than a spoon, more comfortable with a salad bar than a rice-and-fishheads stew, you don't see rank or dept. or function or colour of skin, you just see kind people or dicks. And among the higher ranking, you see either nice or usefull. A captain, say, can be all nice and more, but if you ever need him, is he usefull? Will he stall the ship when you are late and running after it? Or will he forget you in a blink? Some people are like that. Others just leave me stunned.

SLSB update - he has a new leg to hump... Our Hotel Manager. Let's call him Hots - as if Hotel, not because he would ever be called hot otherwise... SLSB is trying to be Hots's BFF. He will ask Hotes if I can wear trousers, because, you know, my tattoo. Ye. Today my tattoos are a problem. (I have a Brian Froud pixie tattooed on the low down of my calf.)
I know. It's just ...
Also, I am not clocking in properly, SLSB does not know how he will explain that to Hots. Dude, same as always: say I'm new and dumb as shit. 

Whatever. Gym, shower, sleep. We're sliding down the Kiel Kanal, which is pitch black, so...
And a good thing, too, because this is TOO familiar, long rivers, TOO tempting... Roads too loudly beckoning me, fields too wide to be ignored... Land is too tempting. Must look away. 

But fuck, Hamburg is one big steaming pile of brick, glass and shipyards!