Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Fifth round: Spain and France, pt.1

Sitno >>206<< (While it was still a bad day..)

"You have makeup put makeup on you eyes it looks you been crying all night."
"Yes, that happens sometimes to people with a heart."

So, the last two days were less than fun, but I gotsta give it to the old boys, Hermes and Triton, for going out of their way to try and cheer me up. First, the sunset three days ago was surreal. Water was like oil, not a single wind ripple in sight. It looked more like an expressionistic painting than real nature. The giant burning flourescent orange and pink ball cut across it like a spear stabbing the indigo skin of someone primordial and sleeping. It reached all the way to the ship. The rest of the sky was cobolt and intense and the white contrails scarred it only scarcely. 

Second, I needed to talk to someone, I needed a friend, but I was looking for the wrong person and they did everything they could to prevent me. Is this person a snake as well? Would they betray me? I picked up a phone in the lab, but a coworker came in. I went down to my cabin to use the phone there, but it fell down and wouldn't work anymore. And I haven't seen them since. Only once did they come pass while we were having the bazaar yesterday and when they asked why I am sad I replied: There are evil people on this ship..,  

DOo came, saw me, positioned himself next to me and asked: Okay, what's wrong now? But his entourage arrived at the very moment and he vanished again. It reminded me a lot of how the General would ask that question. It's something that people who are not in the same situation and think I am over-feeling something ask. 

Wrote to the Land Manager to ask if they didn't want me, why did they drag me down here. He called and suggested I switch ships, that there is one awailable for my consideration. Yes, I hear of it often; it is always under some kind of medical outbreak. I don't want to do that. I like this ship, the good is really good. And I will not be banished by a single person, no matter how big a nightmare he is. (Actually, that's just it, he is really small as a man. A lonely little man.) 

I ate more than was agreed, and drank coffee and ultimately, because the sea got angry, took two sickness pills, which, yes, you remember, tranquilized me. In the end it was the Comedian who offered to cheer me up by buying 24 hrs worth of internet and, after having used it himself for a few hours, gave me the code for the rest, so I can Skype the General. Whether or not he delivered it in the end I don't know, I passed out in my cabin, but the thought was beautiful. (Ye, he did, he asked two of my shipmates via text to give it to me.) Genuinely nice. 

We're in Dover now. We are not picking up any passangers here; we are going down to Southampton, which means there will be no embarcation today. Which is weird. No idea how we will remedy that one. This cruise was unexpectedly amazing, with many happy campers, many people shaking my hand, many positive feedback, lots of individuals saying they loved my work, respectively. Course it's policy that one negative obliterates all positive, regardless of how many or what an asshole that pax was to begin with. Somebody continued to complain we were only ever in industrial ports... I spoke to that person twice and tried to explain that an industrial port looks a lot different, mainly there would be several CARGO ships around, not small sailboats and our medium sized cruiser, but he insisted. They were tiny ports, used for merchant stops and fishing and there was usually only room for one ship. But no. No glass terminals, I guess, to satisfy our determined pax. He just HAD to go online and file an official complaint. 

Imagine Hermes and Triton were drunk or busy and we had rain all the time? There would be no postcards, no magnets, no gangway, no sailaway parties, no cheer, no friendly conversation starting with how blessed we had been with the weather. Even the footage of arriving to port, gently and elegantly, wouldn't make the videos so attractive, because it would just be a bunch of miserable fools trying desperately to steady a flailing ship into a dock the size of a glove. 

I mean, sounds like good footage, but the passangers appreatiate only weather perfection, coctail parties with a handsome captain and excursions where they are carried to every point of sight and not a moment too late to have sunsets on every location. 

Sitno >>205<<
France and Spain cruise start, moving between ports

Holy acorn, something really weird just occured to me! I am being bullied!
I didn't think of that, not until I began to argue against it!
- No, it's not so bad.
- I am too strong a woman for that to ever happen to me. 
- No, really, it happens to everybody. It's not a big deal.
- It's just me.
- It's just how he is.
- He probably means well.
- He's under a lot of pressure.
- Sometimes he isn't mean at all.
Holy fuck! I'm a textbook victim of an abusive relationship! 
It was when DOo said something strange today, he said: We can't be having this conversations, not even as friends, because if I learn of something like this, I have to report it.
What? But... It's nothing, it's not so bad, it's just me, I'm just being overly sensitive ... What?

To begin at the begining:
That was the fastest dumping of passengers I've ever seen. (Also later, when we arrived to Southampton late, fastest parking I've seen. Poor buffers.) I came out of my cabin at nine and asked what time do we sail for Southampton and we've already been at sea for an hour. It takes two hours to get people to come to a bus!
(I really should stop using the word 'sailing'; it's rude towards sails.)
Have no idea what our schedule is today, only that we meet in the lab at five to make a plan. Making plans to make plans, you know? Like a pro. Anyhoo, we pick up the new lot tonight and nobody has any idea how we'll shoot embarcation, or when, because those photos cost more than the other ones and people like them better than gangway. You kind of introduce yourself with them. And it doesn't matter if it's rainy, because it's indoors. They're a safe bet. And we're without it today, as we have no real place to set it. And the passangers have been waiting and will be in a bad mood, hungry and tired. As is SLSB.
Ah, well...
I've to write, so that's something. 
I was gonna write about the petroglyphs from the other day, but got distracted by trying to commit tripple murder suicide on account of being bullied, as it turns out. Will post the petroglyphs in a separate post, k?
The email that I sent to the Land Manager somehow managed to make a full circle through some very strange channels. Land Manager told me that he spoke about me with some other person who's on this ship to get an oppinion and I have no idea whose those people even are. That is a really weird thing about this ship life - you cannot blink without someone reporting something about it. I don't suppose I expected anyone else to see it, but I just spoke to DOo, who told me that Hotz told him about the email... How the fuck does everyone already know about that email? Don't these people have more important things to worry about?

Also now think I should have probably used better grammar :D

The Land manager told me to consider switching ships. It is the most common solution around here, running. DOo told me to consider filling an official report. But the most important thing, ironically, he said is to write everything down... So please, my beloved blog, don't backfire. Because if anything, I truly do put everything down, don't I?
It is a bizzare day. And it's only two in the afternoon. The ship is being cleaned and repaired while rushing to the new berth port. My head if full but my heart is afloat in some dark waters sorrounded by white chalky cliffs. I sat in the corner of the officer's mess and wrote. First I was joined by the guitarist singer, because every other mess is being sanitized and he was told to eat here. We talked about issues with jobs and photography. Almost everyone else started coming in, starting with the captain. It was the second time in a row DOo met my gaze, but did not smile. Not even half of his fake smile. Sth was up..
Five leaves of salad later, I offed up to the officer's deck to talk to Hotz. I had a list of questions, all quite trivial, of course, but I kinda needed to know - where can I sit, what can I drink with whom, what may I wear, how late at night can I be up and so on. The highest up is probably the one who can really answer that. DOo was there, I thought maybe they will try to corner me, but he only looked at me, got up and left the room. The Hotz seemed to have been expecting me, though. He took enough time to explain certain things, which will help me. Which was decent of him, I think. And yes, my tattoo is soon going to become such a problem that I will be allowed to wear trousers! Finally! You have any idea what it's like having to photograph people wearing a small skirt?
After I told Hotz that it is nowhere near in my agenda to appear rebellious or stubborn or lazy or rulebreaking or disrespectful, but I am unfortunatelly receiving very mixed messages, he assured me that when I do something wrong on purpose, he will know and until then, a newbie is tolerated. He also stated that violations make him calm, because if there are no violations on a ship, something is being direly overlooked..

But I will not be a newbie for long. And it begins to take a toll on you, when you feel like there are a thousand people on the lookout for your mistakes. Everybody knows everything. The problem occurs when a half truth is said of you and suddenly you have no idea which accuser to face, nor have the opportunity to explain yourself. 
This is where DOo's advice comes in. I knocked on his door and after a long moment of smileless staring at one another,"Yes? What is it?" "Nothing." More staring..  he told me to come in and have a seat. He knew about my letter to my and knew about me going to see Hotz even before I knew I was gonna. And knew of my clashes with SLSB and that the Bar keeper reported me. He refused to admit he knows more still, but I didn't press. He told me that these conversations should not be happening between us: he cannot know of a wrong happening on the ship and do nothing about it. I told him to leave it for now, that I am handling it, for now. He thinks I should switch ships. I said there is no guarantee another ship would be better. After all, this ship is good. The good here is good.

However. I have no witnesses, no proof and my shipmates do not deserve to be in a possition where they would have to choose sides. *I* do not choose to put them in a position where they would have to choose sides. Fine, he said, that is your decision to make - but write everything down anyway. Just in case. BEFORE I start to sink in a depression and quit over some spiteful bad superior. He said he didn't believe me when I was joking about 'one month and one day' - as SLSB promised to be rid of me in one month and I was here one day longer than that still... He believes it now. 

I got up, told him not to move, kissed him on the cheek for a few seconds, he said thank you and I walked out, saying I am not going to let people push me off a ship so easily. He couldn't get me fired, so he is trying to make me quit. Well, so far I am still here. Well at times and at times barely, but still here. One month and four days. 
Walked back to the mess. Though the corridors were empty, I am 100% sure there will be talk of me seeing Hotz officially and seeing DOo privately and writing the report. SLSB has, after all, specifically called me out when he was leaving lunch: bye, everyone, have a good day, bye, Nina.

Sitno >>206<<

Times diet broken: onceeeee, after lunch, because they were serving coffee freaking ice-ceeam and I cannot pass on coffee ice-cream and it has to be eaten with coconut and chocolate cake..s
Times yelled at by SLSB: None? Unnatural. The man is being POLITE and chatty. He THANKS us after shift... Wtf? Okay, so he does repeat the same thing four times and after we are done for the day he holds a mini meeting to repeat everything one more time, but come on. Polite! I swear, if they find a kilo of coke in my camera bag one of these days, I will not even be able to act supriced. 

Almost 205. It's midnight. We are heading to Spain via France, where the dock workers are on strike, so our itinerary had to have been adjusted slightly. Today was the first formal, also known as getting to know people. I took quite a lot of portraits, oddly enough, and restaurant work, which is never easy. Even shot the doctor, who was told to repeat his session, for he was not smiling enough the first time. He was so sweet, trying to speak my language. Ultimately we just switched back to English. It's the easiest language to be marginally friendly in. I have, however, noticed that the people you don't really know, you call 'darling', the people you do know, you call 'guys' or 'babe', and the people you like, you call 'beautiful', or 'baby'. "Good morning, beautiful. That dress is amazing, you look so good!" .. "Baby, WHY are we not moving yet? Who's driving this ship!?" ..

I should really go to the gym, because my knees are LITERALLY making rusty old door noises. I'm not clowning, they actually make a 'craak' craak' 'craak' noise when I use the stairs. I should do some joga or something, but I am too tired and just not in the mood to force myself to strain some more. I KNOW it would make me feel better, clean up my blood and get some lubrication going (Is that scene from Eat, Pray, Love true? That when you don't have sex for too long, your joints get all scratcy?... O.o), but no. I'm not lazy. I'm just freaking beat. 

Sitno >>205<<

"The constancy of my heart is not for sale. (And the cunt doesn't get a vote.)" 
(Me, on Skype with G.)

Except for having made an old widdow cry, t'was a good day. (Her husband died recently and the very mention of him brought on the waterworks... Thing is, when we are helping peeps find photos, we ask: was it just you with the captain, or...? .. 'Yes, my husband died this christmas.' Bloody fucking Hell.)

Was THIS CLOSE to snapping at a guest. He was giving me a dirty look, up, down, up, down, then shook his head in disapproval:'You should not be having a dirty tattoo, it is not fit for a young lady.'
And I almooooost said out loud: "Oh, I got it in Russian prison, where I served twelve years for killing a nosy old neighbour."
THIS close.
But I don't want to be fired :D
The comedian's wifi code enabled me to do some slow browsing and a few minutes of skyping with sweet sweet G, who looks so handsome and alive it's almost surreal. He asked me for some photos in my uniform for gran and some out of the uniform for himself, so I took some sizzling selfies to send next time I'm online. Also, on a related subject, washed my laundry. Someone moved it all from the washer to the dryer and this was the first time it all actually dried.
It was a good cruise, the Mystery one, me thinks, I made the most money yet, over 400 bucks. At least financially this isn't as sad as I feared. Soon, soon I will have a new lens and a new bag and new books! :* 
Chatted w/DOo, who started going to the gym since I told him he's eating too much low density cholesterol, which is why his blood sugar is high and his iron low and he has to sleep so much. (It was total bullshit, of course - he has to sleep eight hours per day because he runs a 25.000 ton vessel and I've no idea if sugar and iron out eachother :P) I said: "I though of something you can tell me. You won't tell me a secret, because you don't trust me as far as you can throw me and my discretion level is nonexistant. All your stories are sexy, which, I imagine, is supposed to convince me you're good in bed, which isn't how it works, so we'll skip right over those. But there is something you know that I don't and I want you to teach me. I want you to teach me how one person can move this boat."
"Er... My dearest, it has taken me forty years of living on ships and 15 years of schools for an engineer and captain and I still couldn't move this ship alone. You think I can teach you in one hour?"
"Of course not. Don't be silly. It will probably take us at least five. I'll make notes."

Also heard a good quote, which I magicmarked on the ceiling above my bunk, by Bukovski:

"Find something that makes you happy and then let it kill you."
Sitno >>204<<

Gatxo, close to Bilbao.
Not seeing Gugenheim, not even from afar. And that big spider gives me bad dreams since I saw a freak Jake Gyllenhal movie so I hid all it's fridge magnets we have for sale.
Gangway from 8 to 9:30.
Gallery from 17:30 - 21:00*
British night from 19:00 - 20:10
Serving drinks at a crew party: 0:30 - 1:00

*Course SLSB forgot about this schedule and I had ten minutes of diner and then worked until ten thirty like I always do. But I knew that was gonna happen, so didn't even bthink of it until I saw it was already ten.

A pax went a little psycho on me today, at the gangway. My task is to ask, in a high pitched voice: Hello, would you like a photo? or Just here, close together, nice smile?... or: Will you stand for me?... You do this very nice, in a friendly but determined way, so they kind of either obey or say No, thank you, and walk by, in which case I wish them a nice day or comment or the weather. The nice ones chat for another two seconds, then hurry to the shuttle bus. But a woman today snapped: "Don't you dare waste my time!", and she meant it, too, it wasn't a joke. I thought I heard it wrong. I thought maybe it was a bad attempt at humor. But then she snapped again: "What do you think you are looking at?!"... 

It feels a little bit like being punched in the stomach. It takes you a couple of minutes to snap out of it. Did we ruin some photo she was hoping it would come out right? Did I inadvertedly make some promise which I failed to keep? I had no idea. Her husband needed the aid of two canes to walk, and all the while he struggled to make the lenght to the bus terminal, she was snapping at him. Crickey. I do not envy the weather in that woman's world.

Walked alongside the pleasant promenade of the city, where some ambitious, though not overly original architects erected posh villas, and got to a chanel with a cool suspended gondola service for the people to go across, sometimes with cars. Found another big church, moorish a bit, in style, and a postcard, though no ice-cream. Had a little bit of a cherry cheesecake later, after lunch. For some odd reason, the town totally reminded me of Cairo. May be the size and shape of the buildings or the trees and the jasmin bushes or the wide pavements. Made me nostalgic for a city I only had a pleasure of for one week. But I loved it then. I'm sure I must have been some kind of a scoundrel there in 1920’s :p

The sexy pics I sent to G had the desired effect and for a couple of minutes we talked really juicy stuff to one another. We pitied my clothing or what will happen to them, once he catches me.  However, it is not easy having phone sex while there is a whole lot of happy and loud Philipinos in the same hall, and you are trying to focus on the heavy breathing and the resonance of your fuck me voice without drawing attention. It doesn't matter you are speaking in a language nobody understands. Some sounds translate :D

One of the hosts whom I told this story later mocked me, during the party, where it was really noisy, proposing I try the phone sex session now: "Can you hear me?! I'm wearing nothing! NOTHING! Hello?".... :D

Off to bed for a bit now, it's around one, midday. We are sailing on already. Next stop Bordeaux, where hopefully I will be able to buy some Apple gadgets for my iPad-meet-camera, and wire the rest to the nest, where the wild things are. 

Been an oddly good day again. Things are too nice, it is too quiet. But we'll blow up that bridge when we get to it. Mental note to try and sign up for Normandy Landings excursion. That would be awesome to see! 

Grabbed some rice pudding and flan and fruit for dinner (early off day) and am on my way to shoot photos of the party before my bartending shift starts. I asked the ...something Manager to ask some other manager to ask Hotz if I may ask some third manager to take pickies of the party. Hotz said ai, but I can only sell them to the crew, not the guests... Sell? Who the fuck sells party photos to your own shipmates?? Sometimes I just don't understand these people. Anyhoo. Called DOo, who just woke up to meet the pilot and may drop by later, and the chief security guy, the cutest Asian man I've ever seen, made sure I was gonna be there, so I will at least have some company, even if everyone else is dancing. Ugh, I haven't taken party pics in eons. Step one, charge the flash batteries. ;)

Two a.m.
Well, finally got my calling back, taking pictures while everybody else is having fun :D I missed it so! Though I did enjoy bartending for an hour, except that I kept giving away bottles of wine when I should have been handing out cups and even that just for tickets. Don't think I collected a single ticket. But did spend about 30 litres of wine. Quess that makes you friends with people. I though someone was asking me to take a photo of them with their phone when in truth they wanted a selfie with me. Was so supriced I smiled like an idiot :D
The best bit was that we were in the absolute aft of the boat, where they keep... Mooring or moating or something to do with docking ropes equipment. There are few walls there, just large cage bars and I could stand in the wind and watch the two-o’clock-in-the-night ocean, the moon, the lighthouse, the near crescent bedazzled coasts. Everything was satly. I love the taste of sea salt. As if I wasn't dehydrated from jumping enough :D

I took some hundred plus photos of the party. The question now is, how to distribute them to anyone who would want them? Not interested in having them printed, because paper is too singular in this case, and on most photos there are many people posing and they would want reprints. What I really wanna do is get them all on-line and get an all-crew mailing list and just send them to everybody. Or load them onto someone's hard drive and hope they spread? Hopefully no-one will have a problem with that. Will try to find an easy solution, as I want to do this more and want people to know MarkII and I were here..