Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Second round - west French rivers

Sitno >>238<<

Holy mother of Moses I got seasick. And I mean siiiiiiick. Am the only newbie, so not many others did and it's official: CLSB and FPP, my manager and my roomie, don't really care much about me at all. Never a kind word, never 'how are you feeling?'... Not many to the customers yet alone to me. It's just them and their money and they did't like the fact that I got in the way of their revenue, barfing when I should have been trying to squeeze the last dimes out of disembarking guests. As if I just decided uii, now would be an excellent time to find out what bulimics are thinking. It's payday today, so we'll see how that turns out. Litmus litmus. Will have a long walk along the bay of Dover to stop my tummy from spinning. I am still sick a bit even if I am on land. The mind knows it's the ship that's swaying, but the body doesn't. There was so much projectile vomiting and later just foamy acid vomiting done on my part, the nurse had to come down to my cabin and stick a needle in my bum. I mostly just passed out afterwards. They worry about that sort of thing, because if there's more to it than just wobbly ship, it means it's a gastro virus and then all shitstorm can break lose, and you don't want to know how literal I'm being. But it wasn't, it was just me being a newbie. I took the sickness pill too late and then wasted four more, trying to keep them down, which didn't work. And let me tell you. When you wipe your nose afterwards and it's full of rice from dinner, you know you've hit pro level at seasickness. 

Sitno >>237<<

Litmus passed, we did well enough, even a coin or two better than expected, but well, well, things just keep getting better and better. I hope this mess hits the lid soon and it either stays there or something gives, but my gut was right all along and CLSB, which I've re-christened into SLSB, my manager here on the ship, not only doesn't allow me to do anything, he wrote to our land mAnager that he requests me replaced for I am entirely unskilled. So the dude that they sent to teach us the fancy Seascape program, some hot Serbian number, also came to check in on what the fuck is going on. Now it all stands on a tip of a knife - will I prove to be a useless weeping idiot or will I be calm and prove to be unusually good for a beginner? As per usual, the photos are not a problem. My acting like an ignorant bitch is. Their words, not mine.

Evening. AvirginPinaColada later. 
Am sure now that Hermes and Triton are looking out for me at least a little bit. The Seascape guy could be a total dick and he's not, not totally. Like the General, he's clever enough to know that when I begin to step out of line, you have to attack me. It's interesting that I respond a lot better to being commanded as I do to being babied, when there's drama. Perhaps because I get turned on by aggresive authority and when I'm horny I'm happy? No wonder I married the General, then. Anyhoo. My time here could be over before it even began, but it isn't today. He likes to talk. He wants results and he dislikes it the least when people have potencial but refuse to cash it in. He said that I can play with my artsy quality back home in my own time, but now the only things I am here to do is to make money. I'm sure he gives this speech to everyone. There is a fleet where good photies go to heaven if they prove they deserve it, but to get there I will have to do the one thing I disdain the most - really sell. He gave us a task - to woe as many customers as we can to pose for a full package of private portraiture and I got a dozen to book right away, then just stopped asking, because I wasn't sure if I can fit them any more. It's real easy, as he taught us a great pick-up pitch. In fact everything he had to say about how to do photos properly, he was spot on. I mean about sea photography, other stuff is not that impressive. He added that a woman from the Balcans should not cry every time she gets upset. Well, I cry because I can't get angry. If I could get angry, trust me, as a Balcan woman it wouldn't be crying what I would do. It would be more of a smoething like Code Oscar. (Man overboard.)

We talked for hours, writing down exactly what setting for what sitting and how to change things as quickly as possible when situations tilt. How to learn in advance to adapt to tricky light. He gave me all the numbers and the guildelines regarding restaurant and some for the studio. He tried to show me some Seascape stuff, but when he opened his laptop the porn he was watching in his room was still on, it had drained the battery and he was at least embarassed enough to go get the cables so he could charge there in the sitting room of the library. Ahhh, people played with puzzles behind us! It was so hard to concentrate on being scolded when people were doing puzzles!! ... And chess! Uu, a gentleman opened with a fully flanked advance of the knight and bishop!...Good strategy. Anyhoo, ADD begone, Seascape is almost exactly the same as the shoots I used to do back home, only it involves a ship, soft gleamy shots that make everyone look like they're posing for a box of chocolates or a cover of a steamy romance novel, and rich people. I know they want us to compete for the spot on The Photographer'sPromisedLand fleet. I wonder if I care enough about proving myself to bother. Or if I care about the money enough. I do, but I also hate almost everything there is about it. Every person I meet tells a different story about where is fun and where the cash is good. The last thing I want to do is be the one in the team that's best at booking the sessions. I am the fucking ship photographer, I want to be the one PHOTOGRAPHING the damn things! If I wanted to be a booker, I'd work in the cand shop or tours provider. I want to be the one pressing the big button!

Granted, me also want to see the world working on ships and meet intersting people. The money bit is just a bandaid on the wound that is left behind by missing the General too much. He would help. He would help me get stronger just by hugging his tummy and smelling his skin. He would tell me something and I would believe him. He would achieve the serenity in me. ... Or he would try. And then make me. 

Though I am curious. Can I act as a professional and not lash out? Even when faced with malcontent treatment and cockblocks? I really wish I could. SLSB complains about me all the time,  be it loudly at my face or quietly to my superiors. This is not an easy trial. I think I may want to try it on for size, but ... No promises.. I am only human and not the DalaiLama type either.

Sitno >>236<<

Fuck me but my feet hurt. There are times when I cannot think of anything else. I got my first pay, so the spending has begun: I bought a greeting card for mum's birthday, I need stamps and I bought myself another virgin PinaColada, which I am very partial to. Discovered a SlopChest deal, a sort of official black market in the steerage, where you can buy drinks and snacks and the like. As I write this, and it's one in the morning after the cruises' busiest days regarding photies, the "1st formal” - there is still a Karaoke party going on just across the hall from me. Many Phillipinos singing quite badly and having a jolly good time. Not tempted to join them, am too tired and not sure what will happen tomorow. Coffee is my friend, oi, coffee is a friend ... 

The days are starting to fly by, I noticed. This was the second 'first formal', some of the people here are not as sweet as those from the first - though some are. There is a lot of war themed particulars to this ship - most library books have somthing to do with gals nursing back wounded resistance members and somesuch. 

This shit is getting hillarious. Seriously, it's not even enraging anymore, it's just a joke. I offed early in the morning to see what we did last night - I was super happy with the photos I took, even though I am slow I thought I made some visible progress and you could hardly tell apart theirs from mine ... To find that mine are all overexposed and yellow! Freaking yellow! Anyone would shit a brick seeing that, they looked bloody awful. I checked the photos still on the card in the camera - perfectly fine. Then I remembered what SLSB said the first time we couldn't synchronize the white balance between my camera and theirs: "..this is why I never use Canon!"... so he's not really trying to sabotage me, he's declared war on the entire industry of Canon. I told the Seascape overseer guy that he needs to let me do my own retouching, because if THIS is color correction (Canons shoot towards the orange red spectrum and people quickly look very sunburnt, so I understand some correction was neccesary, but) then fuck this. I will spend all night up and do what I know will make photos look way better. Alas, I am not allowed to edit my own work. That's not really shocking, since I am not allowed to really photograph much either, being an ignorant bitch and all. Been here nine days and I've never done anything but some 'restaurant' and some 'studio' that we set up before the restaurant. Am hardly allowed to tend to the gallery shop, as if I will end up selling elephants instead of photos or something. Costumers love me and he is the one who nearly got into a fist fight with a client the other day (more like got bitchslapped) for being rude to a woman who came to look at her photos. SLSB complains how incredibly overworked he is, but me he orders to stand by and smile to guests. Or sometimes he just forgets about me and I remain undismissed and have no idea that everyone's already stopped working for the day. I've booked a dozen Seascapes and haven't been allowed to shoot a single one, yet alone edit, yet alone represent. Was allowed to hold the light in one. Aren't they merciful?

We are in La Rochelle today, but the dock is just a very large concrete block sorrounded by ugly old tankers and some silo structures, wheres across a very long, very lean, very elegant bridge a good few stonethrows wide is a magical-looking river island with a sandy shore and a forest and a bay village of white houses and ships. It looks like something out of Disney. Couldn't get to it, because it's too far and I don't really do shuttle buses. Buses are tricky. I'd have to hitchhike like nuts to get to the next port if I missed the ship because a rogue shuttle bus. If anything, I want to walk and take pickies and time how much I'll need to get back. 

This has given me a couple of hours on an almost empty ship, to think. If the hot Seascape guru is right and if there is more to working on a ship as a photographer than running around, hoping to catch someone looking into the camera, then okay. I can try to book and then shoot what I choose to shot off the Seascape list, meanwhile working in the gallery, which is where I am oddly happy, bar horribly aching feet, talking to the guests and discussing their sea experience and how many photos they have in their memoirs boxes. Ladies love their shots with the captains, especially if he's good looking and they usually are. 

Decided to give the Seascape guy's order a go (stop fighting!) bought some chocolates and took them to SLSB as a reconsiliation offer. So we wouldn't fight so much. Not just because the Serb demands it, but also because the General said, on the long phonecall we finally had today (I was off line so long I got nine texts from G! :D :) <3 ) that if I quit and come home before making enough money we can renovate the kitchen, he will kill me. :D

Sitno >>235<<

"You are strange, but you've got potencial."

This was perhaps the best compliment I got from a stranger lately. Not the potencial bit, I couldn't give less of a flying fuck about that, but the strange part. I like that. In case Smashing Pumpkins come asking: Yes. It does make happy I am so strange. Strange is good. Strange makes for the best stories.

Course the General instantly shot me down: No, nobody wants to see your strange twice.
Fine, fine. My dad, because he's met me, told him that he worries my nature will surface eventually. No worries, dad. My nature usually surfaces on the second day. That ship has sailed. I prefer this. True colors. So everybody knows whom we're dealing with from the get-go. Because people can get used to 'strange (and full of potencial)’, but a betrayal is there to linger in the memory. 

I booked another almost dozen (if they all show up) today, even made a few pounds commission off one of the sales. Yay. Ten more pounds. Go me. Then I discovered the gym and raced a 'bike' almost 30 miles per hour for half an hour :D (I'm joking. It wasn't really half an hour.) Am ovulating and horny, so kept my eyes closed for all the hot sweaty species in the gym, just in case my nature takes over and I ravage somebody.


Spent a good day exploring Bordeaux with a shipmate, until the picturesque nightfall... The Bordeauxians really know how to illuminate their scapes.

Sitno >>234<<

Woke up from a good dream with a scenario for a crime novel, but las per usual, once I began to write it down, it wasn't so incredibly clever anymore, it was just a patchwork of unoriginal ideas, which is what dreams are. I find it difficult to write things, phisically, because there really isn't many tall tables around here, just club tables and my room is full of printing paper, so my desk isn't really available. Plus it's full of FPP's makeup. Though she doesn't sleep here, the room is very much hers and I'm just imposing.

Bordeaux - still not sure how it's spelled and I checked a thousand times - is a massive city not too far from Paris (not even an hour and 40€ train ride), with a vine quarter, a rich old quarter and a melting pot of everyone else. My shipmate and I walked around from 3pm to near midnight, checking out the show-off gothic churches/cathedrals, victory archers, city gates and the promenade at night, all of which the city has in abundance. The main street is packed with people, cheap shops (H&M, C&A, Zara... and the like) and young bums with lots of dogs. I would have come out earlier and check out more things on the map, but I had another Seascape lesson at two and it took a little longer. These are such nice people, our customers, but some are so shy, so psyched out anout being unattractive on photographs, and it's just a mess. No matter how much you tell them it's not about how you look, it's about how you feel, it maters none. But to me it's just a lesson in posing and adjusting the numbers. And trying to uplift the confidence of people who somewhere along the way began to think of themselves as less that who they are.

Once the gray day was replaced with neatly decorated night, I took oodles of shots of the super fancy bridges or promenades or palaces or trees or statues or kids playing and dancing or my shipmate or just pretty stuff. Didn't get one of a brilliantly lit morning skyline, because I kept postponing it to a more convinient occasion - and today we have the rain. Predictably :D

Did manage to finally send the Amsterdam postcards, though, and three letters. I didn't seal the letters, but I'll get to that once I learn a little bit more about the ropes and how to plan. We have another drill and I just learned that you can sign up to be an excursion assistant and just sort of work for the ship while also going on an excursion. Did not know that. People sometimes mention things as if I am familiar with them and I don't quite catch what they are talking about. But, you know, ten days in I am ten times the wiser. 

Yesterday was also the first time I forgot to call back G as soon as I got off the ship. He slipped my mind and he is a big boulder to slip. I suppose that's good news. I no longer miss him dissarmingly and soon I will just be able to miss him as a lover and a friend, not as a lifeline. 

You know how sometimes, when they first meet you, people don't even look at you, they just talk to more important or better looking people than you, just ignore you? But after a few days, when they are ready leaving, you catch the, staring at you, watching you, or just sort of chance meeting you more than it's actually a coincidence, standing a little closer,mtaking every opportunity to touch you or mention you or call you by your name? Ye, that never happens to me :D 
I think that my favorite expression that people have after a couple of days of knowing me, secretly watching me, is: what the fuck IS that?? What freakish force of nature? What have we gotten ourserves into?

Well, yes. Don't know know? I am the strange one with potencial. How do you do?