Wednesday, 29 June 2016

9.1 - German waterways, again - pt.1

Oh, are you fucking kidding me? Tom left, too?? Hermes!!!? Bad Hermes! No cookie!

Sitno >>165<<

Okay, so, to be totally forthcoming, by the end of the turnaround five people leaving hugged and kissed me goodbye, told me they loved me and to take care and I told them I loved them, too, and I'll be seeing them soon (though probably never). So I may not be quite as faithfull a wife as I claim, though still. Pretty faithfull. Nobody's seen me naked or anything, except those eleven thousand people on the beach... The General is not too happy with me, I think. Last time we talked he was shaving with his gurkha knife. 
But ye, Turnaround in Southampton; though no chandelier tent this time. Aww. Couldn't sleep, so watched English alternative to dawn and it was actually sunny for a change, for about a minute. Wrote a story about The Sun and The Cloud, a romance. Better yet, as nobody's got time for that, wrote a lazy poem. It's about a young hot sun just going about his adventures and an older, large lady of clouds, who tries to catch him every evening with her various gowns and veils and drags him to bed.
Went to mess and am writing you, my dear blog, my adorably indescrete and not at all secret journal, until a civilised enough time to get into human clothing and off to the famous shopping mall of Southampton, to see if there is anything there I will consider after we return from Germany. Anything other than the ludacrisly overpriced Pandora bracelets. I'm gonna go check if I can buy the cheap maritime themed knock-offs in the shop next door.
What time does it open, I wonder?

Mess is a good time to hide from inspectors, since it's usually the first place they check and then leave it alone for the duratipn of their stay. What are the odds I, walking around in improper clothing (meaning anything that isn't the uniform) walk straight into an inspector? Plenty. Odds of me walking into them while THEY's walking in tandem with Hotz is even bigger. Poor Larry, our dining officer's mess waiter, who came in late today, was so tired from living up to the norms, burnt hus hand, cut his lip, fussed best as he could, and then managed to serve the wrong eggs, they were all completely raw. The doctor, a little grumpier and thiner after the gastrovirus episode, sat behind DOo and the two talked about the 'inspection of inspector's ears' - who after an undisclosed event could not hear on one ear and the one he was bleeding from, he could hear on a little...
... Well, I know we passed... Is that why we passed? Did we kill the poor inspector??...
I hope not. He wasn't a bad guy. 
Most people on the ship seemed to be cheerful. Tom came to hug and kiss me again. The grumpy too strict Safety Officer declared him leaving a great loss for Assembly Station C. Later the Safety Officer guy got his breakfast, dropped his plate noisily in front of me, sat opposite of me and we talked, through we usually argue. He talks to me like he can't answer a question, he can only dissagree with me. The refrigeration guy came and snarled, asking, provocatively, if I am going to cry after the Chief. I replied, calmly, that actually yes. I probably might. He swore at me and ate somewhere else. Tom's roommate, usually a distant and frowning man, when I asked if he is going to miss Tom, said that no, of course not, he's happy Tom's leaving. Then he opened the door to his cabin (we're on the same floor), saw it half empty and began to scream and collapse against the door frame. "Tom?! Where are you, Tom?! nooooo!!... Come back! TOM!?"
He was still screaming when I stepped over him and threw over my shoulder: "Tom is gone, baby."

But no, of course I'm not gonna cry, at least not today, I'm in too good of a mood. I will allow myself some melancholy, just to keep Bognor fed*. FPP told me the guy who is supposed to replace SLSB quit and won't be coming, so some other option is being hoped for. Poor land manager. I would feel sorry for him, if our wages weren't half of what a normal human makes for half the hours (and weekends off), for contract that only desperate people agree to and even that was BEFORE sterling lost value dramatically. Fucking Crew Accounds refuses to exchange my money. I need to find some other way to wire things home; I can't leave a 100 bucks to Western Union every time... :/

Didn't think I'll see him again, but DOo walked in among the first people, got his food and sat right opposite of me. After breaking enough eggs to learn none is boiled (He was sweet, he said to Larry something like: I do prefer them soft, but maybe just a little harder?), I gave him some final instructions on how to practice the Leaky Submarine on his girlfriend and we joked about the kitchen chef, who was not at all happy today about footbal results. Wasn't happy either, that someone filled in the gaps in the mess board poster ahead of time, favoring the wrong team. We agreed we do not want to fuck with Siggi this morning. DOo laughed I should also choose my words more carefully. I laughed I said much worse back in the day, remembers?, when he was flirting - which is something we cannot do now, when we are friends.
'Why you make such fast conclusions?'
'Oh, fuck you, I told you to kiss me yesterday and you flat out refused.'
'I did not refuse! But there is a saying 'a rooster does not crow when he is told to.''
'Yes, mister old farm wisdom, there is also a saying 'where there is no will there are excuses.''
'You have such strong determination to have the last word.'
He got up, took his plates and offed to do the possition exchange. He turned, just before leaving, laughing: 'YES!'
'Luv ya!'
>Another moment when people in the dining mess stopped talking and tried to pretend they are not listening. DOo walked out, nodding his head, laughing at me, the crazy fury that I was and I laughed at the dirty old bastard that he is (or not at all, when no-one is looking), so brave in the daylight at six in the morning :D

The shopping mall doesn't seem to open until ten, so I will load some Instagram pics to post later. The guest relations manager walked in, just as I was preparing to leave. For a moment we were alone, so I asked about the captain situation. She got upset with me knowing things and stormed out. Naive creature. This fleet seem to favor their captains tall and dark, but not always very bright or even all that particularly decent. I should show her one or two YouTube videos featuring a top deck yacuzzi. But no, she's freaked out as it is. Another one of the nice officers, an old chubby man came to say goodbye, hugged me and kissed my cheek and we exchanged FB handles. I sat in my corner, feeling completely centered. 

Stopped traffic in the quay parking lot to make sure a family of mama duck and baby ducklings made it across safely by ushering them while she quakked at me angrily.
Offed to the shopping mall. Loved the kitchens they had in Ikea. Damn. I could totally do with a dark green kitchen, I see that now. The shopping mall was large, but I didn't have time to look at any of the shops really. I found a spot where thirty seamen from my ship did their usual headphones and cellphones formaviva and joined them to speak to G about what happened, before I post it on the blog. I did feel a little bit guilty. Back home we don't hug and kiss and say 'honey' and 'darling' to people. I'd say: 'Morning, handsome,' to someone I like and they'd say back: 'Morning, beautiful, morning, GORGEOUS.' People have picked up their teeth for less where I am from. The grit of it is I mean it, too, all of it. I DID have feeling for all of them, they were exceptionally kind and friendly lot and I will miss them awfully. Ships are terrifically lonely places. Those few you DO find common GROUND with, tend to reach the heart. Looks like he doesn't want to read you, journal, because he doesn't doubt my constancy and does understand I need to have some stories and secrets of my own and occasionally like some other people beside him. My passion for him could not be smaller, nor does me being fond of DOo chip anything away from the massive granite block that is my awe of the General. I am a human and can have more than one emotion at a time.

The funny thing about the shopping mall: three ladies came to stand beside us at half ten. It was twenty minutes before they realised we are NOT a queue and no, the Apple store isn't selling anything special, it just has good wifi. Now tell me the English don't like to queue. They just saw one and joined us instinctively!

Worked in the gallery and the halls felt fucking stupid. I suffered the same odd sadness that I suffered when I first got here... I kept looking if I will see DOo round a corner. Every time the walkie talkies came to life, I listened if it is going to be his voice and what is he going to say; is it going to be polite or is it going to be funny? The door on the posh deck was just a door I used to know, a room I used to like and know. I could climb the forward stairway without a single knot in my stomach. Every time I stared out of the window into the gray sea, I made sure I am positioned attractively and strategically so that he won't be able to sneak up on me. Dumb things, you know. Insignificant trifles. That made days shorter.

Earlier, after I got dressed in the morning, on my way to West Quey, I walked out to find him leaning on the railing, overlooking the refueling deal thingie. I held him and kissed him on his back and asked how much fuel can we take. "In fact, wait, what happens if we run out of fuel? Do we sink?"
"What? Why would we sink?"
"If a plane runs out of fuel, they're in trouble, you know?"
That expression, right between a facepalm and giving me a face palm. He took my shoulders, started turning me around and pushing me away. "I think you better go now."
"I'll be going now."

And that was that for DOo. Like the song says, I didn't want his future, I didn't need his past, one right moment is all I asked... And several good moments stacked one upon another towards the end. In fact, come to consider it, knowing this man has just had the entirety of dialogue between Paper and Rommel for 'Dread' written for me. 

Sitno >>164<<

Bognor (A name I got because I am just reading the new Bryson and in my language 'bog' means God and 'nor' means crazy) is the demon of my loneliness. It is easier for me to deal with him if he is outside my body, so that is where he is lingering now. Though he is a very friendly and sweet demon and doesn't know what he is, really, or that he is doing anything wrong. He is about ten feet tall, and wide, in fact he would fit nicely in a family swimming pool, and he looks kind of like a very fat, slobbery, witless three-headed dog who is still a pitbull puppy, like Cerberus's fat dumb cousin. He follows me around and waits for me to do things. He fills up large rooms nicely, but has a problem chasing me down narrower corridors of the steerage and doesn't know exactly where to turn in my cabin. He doesn't fit at all too well in the passenger mess, but kind of does in the officer's mess. The photo gallery is his favorite spot, as there the passengers walk through him or step over him, and he rubs his back against the window frames while I look out or the rought edges of the photos that remain on the display wall as they don't get bought. He slobbers all over the place, but comes when I call him to heel and then rolls down the stairs with me. His favorite time is when I am looking outside, though, when I sit with a cup of coffee and stare at the sea. By some odd magic he can fly very well, or at least leap very bouyantly, and he plays just by the ship, sliding down windows or jumping over waves, his grinning drool and flapping tongue mixing with the sea spray. Come, Bognor. Time to shoot the first formal. Come. Put on a dickie bow.

Sitno >>163<<

Did cry yesterday, angry, enough stuff stuck together and Bognor incidentally sat on me and nearly suffocated me. But after the cry and after I stuffed him into the bathroom, the angst passed and I went to bed and woke up better oodles. Will try to send the money home via priority letter; it can't possibly be more than 80 euro. We're still at sea, though, second sea day. The second manager denied his coming here, so now we are stuck and SLSB is getting despondent. He is leaving, for sure, but he couldn't care less about what happens now. Funny thing, too, that even my roomie, FPP, doesn't know exactly when she's going home. We are supposed to be at the mercy of our land managers. No, you can't go home, we haven't found your replacement yet. Haha. Almost funny. Good luck, though.
They could just lend me the Serbian Seascape guy to train me how to operate the printing machine (SLSB would pretend to train me and set me very neatly up to fail) for a week and I can play the manager until they find someone better. I learned all there was to know about ship photography in less than a month. How hard would it be to sit in meetings and beg the thirty year old printing machine to thump on?

I applied to all of the excursions this cruise again, forty or so, and SLSB approved me going on one. Would you care to guess which one? Was it one of the beautiful Bavarian castle museums? Was it a posh winery with magnificent gardens? Was it one of the small medieval towns with picturesque artsy centers? A nighttime ride with a boat through the channels of Hamburg? No. The one to the Concentration camp. 
Not a joke. 
I stuffed Bognor into a tube of Pringles. He's going to sleep there tonight. Moved off days from tuesday noon to wednesday noon. 

Sitno >>162<<

Off to shoot the first gangway, Flensburg the second time around, and then to try and send the anniversary perfume home via priority mail. I asked a few people to come with me as I am not too happy to walk around with money. Ended up asking the refridgeration guy. It was okay. I didn't thnk it was going to be better anyway. Two beers in he was telling me things that make me never ever wish to have a drink with him again, but he's given up trying to hit on me and we mostly just talked about movies and sailboats in the end. Such an odd stereotypical contrast: DOo from the uppermost deck with his maritime law and engineering degrees, Piper pilot licence and a fluffy small dog and beautiful white sailboat at home, and the lower deck refridgeration guy, with all his twoface ... Bullshit. "What happens on a boat, stay on the boat." Hehe, yeah. Whatever you say, dude. Just don't ask me why I would choose one hug from DOo over a thousand fuck invitations from you. I would hitchhike across Europe to have another coffee and talk about old records and cloud types with DOo, whereas you I will do a lot not to have another beer with again... He was right opposite of me and my camera was right here in my bag and yet I could not bring myself to take a photo of him. As if that would somehow be rude towards the camera, something emotionally dirty in the language of lenses and light.

Moving on. I can't be angry at men for being men; after all I knew what I was getting into by asking him to tag along (and the funniest bit - for all his buffalo gym physique, he couldn't keep up with my pace. My feet are tiny. I walk like an ant. Finally he just said he'll sit down to have a drink while I run around..). 
Found a DM, boughts a new hair dye and lipstick pencils and posted the postcads I still had from ... Seville? Norway? Shit. And the tiny package, whch will turn out to be the cheapest way to send money home, or by far the most expensive ever. Ikea kitchen, Hermes. Don't be sleeping now. 

I failed to take a pic of Hermes' statue today. Hope he doesn't screw me over it. Found a nice wifi cafe to chill, eat a piece of pie and have a non-ship coffe, so I'll be posting you, too, bloggie. 

Sunday, 26 June 2016

8.2 Norse cruise, pt 2: on my own two fins

Sitno some

Sorry about missing out the last few days. Long days. Also Bergen.
(I did something kinda stupid and dangerous. I threatened a pair of old English ladies. They were't our passangers, they were just some other rich tourists. I asked them, extremely politely, if they could move a little bit as I was trying to get the perfect vantage point for shooting a sunlit statue in the middle of the town square. They refused, looking down on me. A fucking DEMON took over and, from the bottom of my stomach, my face in 'do not test me today, bitches' version, a Slav in me boomed heavily: 'MOVE!..' They moved.)
So we're back to Southampton, (never seen it in the sun before), wrapping up the fjords experience, off soon to pastures. Same dance, same chaos, same fun. Maybe a little more fun of a less cynical variety, because SLSB is leaving after this cruise and is begining to border on cheerful, nigh happy, which is the strangest thing you'll ever see next to a blue baby chicken.(Nepal, 2008)

DOo left. He and the less scary nurse got their own driver, so they got picked up like an important person with his own driver leaves a scene, but left he did. The next Chief is supposed to be a Romanian, which, after knowing SLSB, sounds.... Ye, okay. Doesn't matter. Doesn't concern me - the hotel isn't really a Chief's domain, DOo just liked it there because the gallery deck was full of hot women. 
It wasn't at all a bad cruise. Not a legendary fun stuff, like the Mistery Maiden Calls, but it was nice. Some cool people, some cool sounding names, though it always surprises me how they seem to love being photographed and then they don't even come to look at the pics. Poor pics. Good thing they get reincarnated (melted and the paper gets remade.), would have been a sad fate otherwise.

So let's see. 
Come Monday, last time I checked in, Sitno 171, I spent most of the day slaving it away cheerfully, plus there were some good moments of pure ship fun.
If you're gonna look for someone else to keep me spitirs up, Tom the Host is your next best bet. He has the energy of a puppy Russel Terrier. Him and another host, Liam, which looks like someone who might have been a young Hobbit extra in Lord of The Rings, and I got into this ROFL situation we called 'Wolfing it.' Namely, they were just showing me an ultra no budget horror movie they and some of the dance hosts made on Tom's phone, with Liam playing the troll. (Unlikeliest casting choice ever.) Tom recorded soundback by whistling and growling and making thumping noise. It was so stupid and so cool we nigh peed ourselves laughing. I never met anyone so ready to use their face and voice before. He was awesome.
While laughing, Liam knocked over a full glass of orange juice, all over the pristine white cloth covered table and floor (and Tom). We froze like we just dropped a baby. We needed to pull a Wolf cleaning right away, before Larry, the super nice mess keeper ( who gets his short hair cut even shorter every week, because he has a crush on the dresser girl) comes in and kills us all. So, quite in a hurry, we undid the whole dining table, stole the cloth from another, made it look like it was just oddly placed, redid the table and mopped up the floor with it, then hid it in the laundry room amidst the towels, all within the span of a minute. That scene from Pulp Fiction when the three dudes are optionally dispossing of a body and the nurse wife catches them, coming home? That were we when one of the electricians walked in. It was the best moment of the day.
Tuesday, Sitno 170, was my first gangway of the cruise, drizzling but beautiful. Fjords really are outstanding. Doesn't matter where you're from, fjords are overwhelmingly beautiful. They are like magically huge walls of black rock with trees on it, and the Norwegians have this thing for waterfalls, so there are very many of those. Also, in every fjord you pass, there is bound to be at least one ferry smack in the middle, just to remind you of the year of the scavenger, season of the bitch. 
While we were staring at a particularly beautiful waterfall, a mighty thing indeed, the nurses came pass and stopped a bit to chat with the shoppies. One of them is an elder woman from South Africa, she is the strict, scary one. DOo rounded the corner, crept up behind her and covered her eyes and she was so embarassed she started turning red, when he took her in his arms and started dancing with her around the hallway, waltzing quite well, actually. Awwwwww, that could have been meee... Haha. Right. Ehm. The poor woman, red as a tulip aside, then there came the booming waterfall. Man, that was a powerful mass of frothing water. We parked right beneath it, too. Captain did his best to deliver a big speech about it. Good parking, that. When I saw the waterfall, I came looking for DOo in the shop and he finally said: I'll go get my camera. He has a good camera with a good extra lens, which look like they have hardly been handled.

Didn't really go ashore further than the seamen's lounge/garden shed. Noontime, after I managed to wake him up, I spoke to the General. He just started remodelling the kitchen. I admited I bought him the perfume and that I put a little bit of it on the T-shirt I sleep in, to remind me of him.

Wednesday, Sitno 169, just before the second gangway, SLSB surprised me by barking what was that photo I wanted printed. 
... Er... 
 ... looks like someone must have said something. I thought that ship has sailed. Snapping back to reality, out of that stunned stillness, quite in a hurry, I pointed it out, edited the fucking plant that was ruining the composition in the background and got two copies, such as they were, free of charge...
... That is NOT the usual state of things in photo lab. Three days ago he wouldn't speak to me a work in four hours of being in the same room. But fine, whatever. Whatever this game is, I will play it along until things get ugly again. 
During lunch DOo, who in a half full dining room set almost next to me and spoke to the shops manager opposite of us, asked me suddenly how to edit the pics from camera to Instagram. I told him I will teach him. The trick is in makng them small enough to begin with. I called him later, asking does he want to nap or does he want to learn? He bargained for one hour of more sleep, during which I shot some more of gangway, got the photos of him from the lab and went to have a cup of coffee. The guest relations manager was telling the nurses, whom I sat down at the table with, about a really funny story involving today's drill. She is so busy she often overlooks that stuff and so she wasn't really paying attention when the drill started, as she had to deal with difficult passengers, her daily routine. Suddenly the phone rings and the Safety officer, a crazy Russian, yells: Code Papa, silent alarm! Inform the bridge!!... Inform the bridge, now!!... And hangs up.
Code Papa means there is a bomb on the ship.
Human natural instinct, when you learn of a bomb on a ship is to just fuck all and get the fuck off, swimming if need be. So for one second she just histerically flailed, headless chicken, before brain kicked in and she remembered the drill. Literally. 
The way she said it and replayed it was hysterical.
I wrote the Bukowski quote on the back of the photo: Find something that makes you happy and the let it kill you... and took it to DOo, but he was no longer in the cabin, which did not surprise me, and I was already dressed to go out in that case anyway. I had three hours to kill, so I could either sleep, explore or Skype. Fuck sleeping. We have so many inspectors on board all the time, sleeping and napping are just some trendy latest modern things you read about in beauty magazines, never actually find in Real life.
I only made it to the end of the ponton bridge - and that bridge was some pretty amazing piece of engineering, because it was a retracting ponton deal with floating joints with engines, so you could actually just extract it out into the fjords and then bend it at will, to meet the boats halfway... Anyway, I found wifi, skyped my lover. That's two ports I skipped completely, never leaving the quay.
It was British night, which went fine, although SLSB refuses to put up the first gangway shots. Maybe because he knows he made them look like crap. Or something. Or so that he'll be able to blame the no target thing on me again. Don't care, really. DOo walked by and grabbed me and thanked me in front of SLSB and FPP and I told him to go look for the Guest relations manager to hear the Code Papa story. 
Was the first off day I didn't buy the three chocolates from the bar. Firstly, because I am too much in debt and second, because I am fed up with chocolate. Never heard me say that before, have you? Ate some other stuff and drank juices I don't usually drink, which taste like liquid candy anyway. 
Also Anton Yeltzin died in a very Darwin Awards fashion. Waste.

Thursday, Bergen. 
Very nice town, fashionable and expensive, artsy and historic, posh and quaint. And raining. Gangway was all over the place - from full blown blazing sunshine blast, flash on 1/1, to deep, dark, bitter twilight of a winter storm. I went in an out three times to get the people leaving specifically on excursions, just to get SOME rollcount. Then crawled to mess to warm up nursing a coffee. There were just one of the security ladies and me in the corner, and DOo came to eat his salad and seafood, sitting right next to me and I told him my plan was to order him to grab his backpack, put the laptop and camera in and some human clothes on and meet me on the quay in twenty minutes, but of course it started to rain. He said he had to get up at six today and I mocked him aloud, oh, no, really, poor you, you had to get up at six? Nobody else on this ship has to get up at six! ...And when did you go to bed, at ten? We get to bed at three! 'And whose fault is that?' 'It's a LITTLE bit your fault, since you're the boss.' Anyway, he had another inspector to deal with. I saw the man outside, I asked him, a new face, if he is our new pilot. He said: you wish, I am here to inspect you. I replied, quite bored: ye, we get inspected, criticised, corrected and scrutinized seven times a day. Welcome aboard.
There is someone called a Designated Person Ashore, our DPA, a name we all must know. I never found out why, but he came to inspect us, too. So, designated person ashore aboard. Kinda defeats the purpose. But DOo said he's an okay guy, as he's been around long enough to know which rules apply to ships and which are there just to get more money out of the owners. (No ship can pass an inspection if an inspector decides he dislikes it for some reason. The rules are too surreal. I know the sanitation inspection people completely freak out if they see a single fly in the ship, though the General suggested that whatever fly is able to survive all our fumigations and desinsections is probably a radioactive alien..)
These two, one very tall, gray and bald and the other short and plump and crew cut, were the godfathers of a moment in which SLSB approached me conspiratorily, leaned to me (actually - tiptoed, in his case) attentively and whispered, secretively, almost intimately: These are the auditor AND the inspector..
LOL, no, but seriously, poor SLSB was so desperate to make everything appear proper, he threatened to fire me if I fail to clock in again and then went and made half a dozen clerical errors of his own and plenty of guests came back to complain about it. Not so perfect after all.

Went out, at least for an hour, even if it was raining, but I started to need to pee and you need to pay to get into a Norwegian toilet, so I offed to find the so called Seaman's Mission. Funny old world, really. Back in the day, which is why I imagine this Missin exists (unless the tea was roofied and they're going to kill us all or sell us all in pieces), sailors looking for a place to hang meant cheap rum and scurvy hookers. Now you just follow the river of Philipino crewmen from the giant ships to a cute little place with free coffee, clean toilets and free wifi, where a nice couple will greet you with a smile and ask about your ship, while handing you a net password, a cute mug and a pamphlet. Nobody would be interested in a hooker if one was stripping on the floor. I had some black currant tea and coconut biscuits and posted some Instagram, then skyped G for two hours while most of my shipmates walked in and pass me and thise wom I've bothered about the General before, waved at him. A great afternoon. My life feels a little bit like it hasn't really changed all that much, now that I thnk about it. In a room with fifty expats... Twenty years ago I spent time like this in halfway and refuge houses all across southern Europe. Exact same mood. 

Friday, Sitno 167..
DOo came by the gallery and kind of froze, seeing me, my hair. 
"What is with that hairdo? You look like littlemi..."
"I look like a whoody what now?"
"Little My. It's a character in..."
"Oh my God! Snufkin's stepsister!... That is like the nicest thing you ever said to me, almost a compliment! Except that time you called me crazy, that was a compliment, also." 
As expected, I hadn't had the chance to get him alone again. Now that he is leaving, I of course have a dozen questions for him. What did his parents do? (an English teacher and an engineer. Makes sense.) Does he like indie rock? (Forgot to ask.) Did he ever try to kill himself? ... (No, probably because of the kids.) How long are our mooring lines? (the longest is 200m.) 
But I work all the time and then I have drills and education on top of it. He came by a couple of times during bazaar and I asked him to do another Dirty Uncle and bring me a mint candy. (They usually give them away at the reception and they are bad for your teeth, but they do help with the lack of saliva after you've spent two hours smiling at people...) I threatened a visit and he told me that I will NOT be coming to his cabin during nap time. I asked if he remembers, many moons ago (five weeks), when he was flirting with me and I would tell him that at night, when I cannot sleep and walk around the ship, I pass his door many times, but never knock? And he would say, back then, oh, but why you not knock? Today I said: you growl at me when I knock at one in the afternoon, can you imagine your reaction, if I woke you up at two in the morning? 
'Uu, hello and good evening, you sexy thing, may I ente--?'
'Get the fuck back to your cabin, it's the middle of the night.'
Reality versus fantasy? :D Haha.
Fuck, how I will miss hearing his voice over the securities' walkies. 
'Bridge, bridge..'
Who is going to tell me all the ship stories now? And interpret asshole actions of the new Hots? (oh, did I mention? Hotz left last cruise. "Goodbye, sir, hope to see you again soon!... Or never." Long live the next Hotz.) And do things behind my back, that make people stop trying to get me in trouble?
I would, obviously, I would knock and wake him up today at one. He can sleep after Sunday. But those fucking morons the British just abandoned the EU and the value of sterling plummeted, so I spent an hour running around, trying to exchange my money to Euros... I told the General yesterday,  in case something happens to me, that there is still a little over a thousand euros in my room. He said, yes, if your ship sinks, I will spend a multi million dollar salvage operation to get to your thousand euro little box in your little cabin at the bottom of the English Channel. 
SLSB seemed awfully cheerful tonight. He even used real curse words. Even almost kind of actually SPOKE to me. I wondered aloud if something was burning and he said:'Don't be afraid, you are safe. Nothing will happen to you. And we are close to land..' (was being ironic.)
After the first sitting was done and DOo and his date came out, DOo lingered while I photographed Liam the Host, and I gave him the 'you, come here' gesture from Dirty Dancing. 'What is it, why you want me to come here?'.. he objected, all the while coming to the stage.
'Because I want to take your photo properly, why do you think? Stand here. Shoulder aside. No smiling. No smiling!'
I turned off the right light and re-did the photo I did when we first met, when one of the lights didn't fire properly, which was a good shot and SLSB deleted despite it being locked safely and the card being my personal card. Then, because this card was not mine and would not be mine to take downstairs, and SLSB would never let me take the pics, I snuck into the bathroom with my whole bag, cabelled the camera to the iPad and transfered the pics, feeling like an internation cyber techno spy, like something out of a Gibson novel :D 8D
I told him not to go to bed at ten. He said something naughty to his date while upping the stairs with her on his elbow, who is a shy chubby woman, something like 'we can't go to bed until ten it seems, I've been forbidden..'
'Course by the time we actually finished (22:32) and I called him to wake the fuck up and let me in, he's already passed out. He just muttered something into the phone and after a few attempts managed to hang up demonstratively.
I will never understand how people manage to sleep on ships. Two hours later I am still wide awake in a bar, listening to the guys sing or joke around, dancers drunk dancing in flawless synch to every bizzare barn song that's played, (even the ones sitting down flailed their hands dancily), doing the blog and a letter and some coffee... 
Oh. Maybe that's why I can't sleep :D
I stared at my own reflection today, during one of the mini breaks... I should do another self portrait of me in watercolors, because a fairly strange woman was looking back at me from the glass. Oddly noble hair-do, a lacy black cocktail dress, a wristwatch and jewelry. Long arms, long neck. My nose is slightly bigger with age and my eyes were small with weary, but the jawline was fine and the lips full and sagged with the weight of lipstick on them... An odd woman. A darker, different woman. I don't want Paper to grow up.

Saturday, Sitno 166
Second bazaar. I think we're doing well. No idea what the target is supposed to be, but I think we're there. SLSB is using full sentences to tell me what to do. Fascinating phenomenon, really. It's like he's been taking a double dose of a happy drug and he is about to start handing out baloons to the people he meets. He nearly exploded into unicorns shaped candy fluff yesterday when DOo told him to mail him the pic. Being noticed by the Chief Officer?! Where's the parade??!
There was a woman in front of the elevator door, who asked me how to get to the upper floor using this thing. Inthough maybe she was just being awkward, but no, she was actually angry with me. I've never operated one of this things before - what do I do?!... 
Er... You step in and push the button with the number of your desired floor. 
And then what? What button?
It literally insulted her that she was forced to sink so low as to speak to someone like me about this filthy device.. Course her legs were fine, steps were just a step away and she was only one floor going, so... Another passanger came to help and said she will take her.
I said ye, but let her push the button, clearly she's been too babied for too long and should stop being afraid of mundane things...
This ship.
I ate some banana for breakfast to see if it actually works against cramping. 
Reading Bryson, happily, though the library has many books I can still get my hands on. Hold up. Lemme see if I'm early enough to....
I was starved for lunch, but they only had that weird Asian something soup, which I don't like neither hot nor warm, so I was gonna eat a salad, except the crew mess had a waffle stand. So I ate a waffle with LOTS on top. Man, free food is the worst. Only thing worse is GOOD free food. 
I thanked the chef for the waffle and he said I am not allowed to eat in the crew mess. I'm not? 
No. He prepares food for me in the officer's mess. It insults him. 
I promise I will never eat in the crew mess again.
(This was a joke, not serious talk.)

DOo poked me in the ribs as I was setting up the bazaar table and I slapped him across the shoulder a few times, snapping I can't believe he went to bed without me.... Which sounded really weird; I think everyone on that floor stopped talking and began to listen. At least he walked away laughing. I wasn't sure if maybe this time he will be angry with me for being TOO familiar. He gave me his pager and inter-phone numbers to find him after I'm done with work. Sometimes I think he doesn't care much for my company, as he never took up my offers for photo-sightseeing trips or movie nights, but sometimes he just finds over an hour when he should be working and we just sit and talk about cool stuff.
Or in this case, he was packing. I mocked him about the cute color of his neatly stacked undergarments and he shooed me to the other side of the room. 
"Stop mocking me about my underwear. Show me yours if you're so clever."
"You know I don't wear underwear; I literally have NOTHING to show you."
We looked though the photos I took of him and then at the photos on his laptop and tried to get the program he had to arrange them so that he could post them on Instagram. He takes nice pics of the places he goes to, sometimes the exact same things as me when we're passing photogenic locations. He actually takes loads, just doesn't post them enough. They are not half bad, either. He likes winter. We spoke before about the good old days of developing things at home. He used to love doing that. I used to love the smell of the developer. But ye, he does shoot. Different ships, coworkers, crew, different scenes from ship life, his own beautiful boat, its sisters, his family, their trips, his house and the people he likes or is forced to work with. He told me about an African lady who was his Chief Officer when he captained something or other, very good and very clever, but of course an African female, so captainship was a long way away for her. He made sure she got the last stripe, she is a captain now. He told me he worked on an explorer as a captain, something I would want to do (not captain in my case, I would want to be a photographer. Possibly something to do with exploring and measuring glaciers or deep water archae.). He told me how frustrated the new captain is that DOo is more experienced and above all more calm than him. Doen't need to shout to be heard. I told him of my theory of three men's different walks: if they have tiny bodies and some inteligence, they walk with their pelvis, quickly and pathetically, wanting to be bigger. If they are big and manly, but dumb, they walk with their chest, like gorillas. The smart ones, they walk with the face. The body is just a machine to move them. The doctors on this ship walk with the face, and so does DOo. (Old doc came to replace the current one for two days, as the current was quarantened. He was quarantened with Noravirus the exact same day I asked the nurse how come they never get sick? That explains why she gave me a VERY dirty look. Whoops.) I was surprised to see the captain walks with the chest... DOo explained why, and also told me some other things I promised not to tell on. But they did not surprise me. Weren't even news to me, in fact.
I asked if he hated me for being a turist, for being of mind that I can leave at any time. He said no, he can leave at any time as well, he's just doing this because he was bored and they asked him nicely. I do suppose that sort of tranquility comes with age and experience, because I can see glimpses of it when people ask me to teach them photography or when we talk about prose or hitchhiking. Or chocolate. I feel calm and confident about some of those specialities indeed.
He said he doubts I will still be here if he decides to come back in two months.
I said he once doubted I will stay chaste for two months also, and how is that working so far? 
He admitted, true that.

At three he said he officially started work at two and should really return to bridge as oppose to talking bullshit with me. I bargained for him to give me another five minutes, saying I won't be able to rest my brain in this room anymore and will miss it. I probabyl wouldn't be able to do it if he got promoted to master, either. Would be kinda weird. And a queue outside the door.
Fifteen minutes later he got up. I said hold up, I was planning on kissing his face again.
Well, you are not going to be doing that.
Will you kiss me? 
Friends don't kiss. 

Back in the morning, when I was at bazaar and he came by for the second time, he tried to be funny, but ended up insulting me. He wanted to ask if I shagged the refrigeration guy, as the man started speaking to DOo again. He wouldn't even say 'good morning' back for a while. He asked me out again yesterday.) That genuinely insulted me, insulted my good taste. It was supposed to be funny, but I took it too seriously. 
While the serious silence lasted, I asked how come he didn't try to kiss me when he had the chance. 
He began to say something about how I said I was married, how I had a husband, and so on, but stopped. He said, corrected himself, no bullshit: "Because I didn't want to. There."

Back in the room (sorry, cabin.) we stared at one another for a long time while the ship rocked and rumbled on. The ship was moving, we weren't moving. Just breathing. 
I could see what he was thinking. I think he was thinking: she is here. She is beautiful. She has red hair, great tits. Great lips. I like her. She likes me. Also, she has the mental stability of nitroglycerin.
Of course nothing happened. I knew he wouldn't, that's why I am so bold to stage these things, say such things. It was a deliciously tense moment if NOTHING happening. I wouldn't talk like this to a single other person on this ship and in the remote chance that it did happen, that he would move in to kiss me, I would make sure it would be on the cheek. But he would never do that and I know that. Regardless of my crazy shit, I am still the constancy - even if this wasn't midsommer. Midsommer is an important date for me. Many important dates, not least of which is my wedding anniversary. Even if I do need some stories to be my own, some wild tales of woe to concern only me and not the me that belongs to other people, at the end of the day, I am still the me that plays a dangerous poem too honestly and the honest truth is - my heart would not be in it.
DOo knew this. My heart would not be in it. My heart is in General's chest pockett. DOo would not gamble on the relationship he has going on now by kissing a woman who would never really be his. The math didn't add up and he's a pragmatic. Also, we were kind of cool bussom buddies. Two old ship rats on a raft of the mad.

I smirked and offered my knuckles poutily, ordering: fine, then at least kiss my hand like the gentleman that you are. 
He laughed and grabbed it, pulling me up, into his embrace: Come here.
This time he actually hugged me tightly. I kissed his cheek a couple of times. He hugged some more. He chuckled: "Try to survive."
"Oh, I'm going to be okay! Don't worry about me. You trained me well. You gave me a ship sense of humor. I understand my footing now. You are leaving me in good hands. My own."

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

8.1 Norse cruise, part 1

Sitno >>174<<

Turnaround in Southampton. Trust the English to decorate an embarcation TENT with dozens of crystal-plastic baroque chandeliers and plastic 'gold' chairs with red mock plush. Holy fucking cow.

No chance of going to town, as we'll start early, right between the dock loading-cranes and porta potties :D I had a long shower and breakfast and will go around the ship to see if anyone left behind any books. The ship is on Code Red, so all of it is being fumigated. So, water for Code Green stage, gel for Yellow and smoke for Red? I imagine the next stage is a flame thrower? Spoke to my babe, his voice and words the most solid thing I posess on this Earth, making everything else feel like a stubborn illusion. With lots of English weather in it. In some other realm I am so in love it's scary, and what can I do about it? Write more postcards? Eat more ice-cream with his name on my lips during? Mention him to more people, show them more of his photos? No. There is no cure. Only amputating the ship off me would help. Unfortunatelly, this shit is far too fun to give up on now, while we're on a roll. :P

Explored the place while it was being washed over and got myself some more pills from the Asked how they were, which was a stupid question, considering the med staff are knee deep in shit and people died, but they at least think that's included in the price of working on a five star cruiser. The shop is selling Bryson, thank ye Gods almighty!!!, but they locked down the library from public use. :,(( Will try to change the Pratchett for Bryson, because managed to take the same Pratchett out just before the locks came on. Found three crime books of unknown worth lying around. Kept running into DOo, who was supervising repairs around the ship while our dear captain slept, and we chased one another around the coridors a bit, at times quite literally running and laughing, then he told me go do something, anything, as long as it isn't stealing books. 
Easy for him to say. I start work in ten minutes, at ten thirty, and no guest will set foot to the ship until two, so that's nigh four hours of having to pretend to enjoy being in SLSB's mighty shadow, pacing around in circles, waiting for life to go by... At least he never says a word to me, so I count my blessings.

*note to self: will make a great deal of sense to make Dread torn between two realities. Also, I ate a cookie and a large piece of chocolate. Just putting it out there. Since I tell myself to stop ingesting sugar fifty times a day. With Britvic tonic on top. 


Today was perhaps the best day to date, as I reckon the days around here should be, but 

HOLY FUCKING BLOODY MOTHER OF FUCKS am I tired.... O.o ... I didn't think a person could be this tired. I'll tell you all about it tomorrow, unless tomorrow is like today. Seriously, I just gotta pass the fuck out. This is now a slave ship more than ever! SLSB is driving us like nuts. Aw, man, my poor feet!!....

...Did I mention I got two kilos of caramel chocolates from the shoppies manager? My fridge is absolutely packed with chocolate. There is no way I can eat all of this :D I would say I don't think I even like chocolate very much anymore, because it makes me thirsty, but then surely the Gods would strike me down...

Sitno >>173<<

Neup. Too fucking tired today also. Ironically: Life = good. <3

Sitno >>172<<

"...shipboatwhatever... Though I do know the difference between a ship and a boat. Do you? Apparently, the boat is what you get to when there is something wrong with the ship."
Beverly the Diva

Okay, so. Sorry for the lag. Last two days... The Turnaround day is over and the First Formal/second day is kinda almost over, except they postponed it until today. That's that. Cruising ... Some magically beautiful fjord today, fantastically oxygenated green water, rocks as high as miles, just calling out for a basejumping dare, weather bleak and pompous, easy does it.
I will suck someone's cock to be alowed to go see the glacier they are going to see tomorrow. May be the General's cock some other day, though, because seeing a glacier is not exactly SEEING a glacier. Knowwaddamean? I wanna do it proper, Greenland-like. I wanna SEE, CLIMB, TOUCH, SMELL, HEAR AND TASTE and crawl it. I will have to do that on my own terms, me thinks. So I stopped stressing about being allowed on excursions on this fucking ship. Two and a half hours of standing outside toilets, squirting people's hands for desinfection, every day ON MY OWN TIME. That is the reality of my condition. The rest of the elements are ELSEwhere. 

Wanted to say again, though, the Turnaround in Southampton was like the coolest workday I've had so far on this can I guess working far too much for human norms really turns me on. First we did absolutely nothing for three hours. SLSB decided 10:30 will be a good time to start photographing embarcation, so we literally STOOD ready from 10:30 until 13:30, when he decided may be a good time for a 20 min lunch break... Thank the Gods of my unyeilding appetite I murdered a Flapjack beforehand, while waiting for the gangways to be switched, because the moment my lips touched the coffee (drink coffee DURING lunch, lesson learnt in a hurry), the embarcation was announced and we ran down back to our posts.
I realise I drink too much coffee. I realise that when some day I return to the Real world, the level of mental and physical detox required would best be handled on Shutter Island.
Thing is, the people working in the docks really love to fuck with us and continue to relocate us to ever less favorable locations and threaten to have us removed altogether, as if we were some kind of fucking criminals or paupers. As if we had no right to be there. At some point, when pax were coming in and posed nicely, a woman came to say we only have 15 minutes left to shoot everything, otherwise we'll miss the tide..... 
What fucking tide? There were still 700 people in the waiting rooms OUTSIDE. We were the least of the bottlenecking stops the pax had. But no, it was us she threatened. 
Although we were suppose to shoot 200 pics pf couples and singles, switch cards and print them, FPP, who was the one shooting this time, shot 400 on one card, 600 on the other card and 300 on the last one. She got told off for it, but. But the last card crashed and would not show any shots at all. SLSB, who if this happened to me probably WOULD get me fired in a moment, if not murdered, just cursed for an hour, pale and miserable - because our rollcount otherwise was record. Maaaany first timers, which is what you want on a cruise indeed - managed to salvage some with a salvage program. We printed SOOOO many pics, Gods. And labeled so many of them. Good thing I love labeling.
Sometime during that, the curtain flew open and, quite startled, as if he just discovered a room he's never seen before, DOo blinked in, holding a walkie talkie (It was pax drill time.) and said: ”Ah, so this is where you hide in your lair!... Uh, it's hot."... And walked away again. 
Yes. Because in two months he didn't know where the photo lab is on this ship. It's, like, smack in the middle of the ship in front of the biggest restaurant and we set the studios up in front of it twice a week. 
Anyhoo, his adorableness aside, once the labeling was almost done and putting them up in tris began, I had to abandon all of it and stand outside a toilet from 6pm to 7:30. I had to make sure anyone coming out of the restroom sanitized their hands. You can imagine the level of dignity required to do this with a smile. All but one of the pax were more than willing; only one refused and claimed he washed his hands. I tried to explain washing means cleaning them, but sanitizing means killing the virus... He was rude. Who cares. The main chef came by and asked what am I doing. I said I am guarding the restroom. He asked where is my gun. I lifted the gel bottle and said: I am the germ killer. He said: I hope you are not the Germans killer! 
:D (He's German. But he's cool. He will tell you where all the best strip clubs in Hamburg are :D)

After, my feet already so tired I cramped like hell (is it true you're supposed to eat bananas to get the potassium against cramping? Hm...) I ran to help FPP in the gallery and we sold as best we possibly could to some pretty fucking retarded people, or some nice people who were really tired, or some tired people who were really drunk. I think we made excellent money, even though towards the end of the day SLSB was so worn out he was his good old miserable, nasty self. Back to snapping at me, like in the good old days before-abuse-report. I tried to get some food in the Buffet, but it had to be served to you by the Indian waiters, and you can imagine how much they gave me. Oh, how they loooove to waste my time, knowing I only have ten monutes to eat. How it pleases them to see me tired and hungry and upset... Five leaves of lettuce, three grain of rice, one whole noodle and five red beans from the salad... I asked for my coffee to be made one third coffee and one third milk and one third cold water and the aloof fucking dickhead refused because he said he doesn't know what a third means. It was true, too. 
After 'diner' I ran down again. The shoppie manager told me he left us some chocolate, which turned out to be two bags of caramel chocolates, nearing expiration dates. That's two kilos of chocolate. On top of the kilo of Toblerone I already have and a bunch of previous gains of party flavour variety. Blimey! And supposedly there is my countrywoman on-board for the week. I would be excited, but I know my countrymen abroad and they tend to be kinds of shit. Something about a village mentality going out to see the world and thinking they got the God by the balls...

Well, that turned out to be correct.

Tiiiired, I sent the one text to my baby and then I don't remember much else. :D
In the morning they extended my toilet duty to two and a half hours. At least I get to chat with some nice couples and watch geriatrics play carpet bowling to the beat of a bored-to-death host. I am beginning to worry that after I get home, I will have such acute PTSD, the General will have to come looking for me standing outside of the local retirement home, screaming at people to SMILE! and CLOSE TOGETHER, FOR NICE PICTURE!.... I worry about this, because the first time we did the month long winter fair, after it was done and we all nearly died from exposure there, I had a terrible urge to sit outside of the DM, in the street, for days ... O.o

I slept after gallery duty from one to three and then worked until ten. It was a busy gallery in intervals I am used to by now. DOo came by, cheerful, couple of times. Maybe he finally got laid? Ah, wishful thinking :P I know he bought the spanish guitar he wanted to treat himself to. Either way, he was cool. I think I would have left this shitty deal a long time ago if it wasn't for his moral/mental support. I got paid what little I got paid, though I said if I get more than 280, I'll spend some to get G the annerversary present, which in this case was a bottle of Sauvage by Dior, a perfume I really like on him. Fuck I miss his skin. Fuck fuck fuck.

Last, at half past ten, went to see a show by Beverly something, The Diva of Music and Laughter. She turned out to be freaking awesome. I knew she was kinda cool from having had her embark photo taken in a fun way. Usually she's this chubby, large, dark-dressing odd kind of an individual. On stage she wore the brightest red gown of glitter and sequins and feathers, which made her look like a fire red turkey. She plays a 300 year old violin, too. 

"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen... Lemme tell you a little about myself, so you'll fully comprehend the presence of whom you have the privilege to be this evening... As a diva, I asked what I can expect on the ship. May I bring my entorage of 27 people? No? You don't have 29 royal suits? You may notice now a small ship following us at a discreete distance. Will they pick me up at the airport? Depends on what I'll be wearing. Can they help me with my bags? They don't think there is a plastic surgeon on board the shipboatwhatever... "
What may she expect on her pilow? A chocolate. Not the captain? No, but the captain would like to invite her to diver. She doesn't dine with the hired help. Will she get a jacuzzi in her suite? No, but the manager will give her a long and extensive tour of the engine room.
She suffered for her tremendous success as such is always the case, in her personal life... She had ten husbands, three of which were her own. All she burried, two while they were still napping. One died suddenly falling into a deep wishing well - she didn't know they worked. The second misteriously died of poisonous mushrooms. The third died of a fractured skull... For not wanting to eat the mushrooms. But like all extremely large women, she is always chased around by very small, more politically correctly - vertically challenged men. One chased her while she was having a prestigious dinner with a sheik and his immediate family of 380 closest relatives. He finally came near, yelling at her and she got up and looked down over her large chest at him, demanding to know what he wants. He declared to the entire golden restaurant, that he would like to have sexual relations with her! "Well, if you do - and if I ever find out!!..."
Promiscous humor. Always works.
She said that in Africa, they call Chardash music 'charred ass'.
She asked one of the ladies in the audience what her name was and when the lady said:”Barbara."
"That's correct."
She's on two diets, because one doesn't have enough food in it...
When they heard she was embarking, all Six members of our orchestra hid, but she found them because she needed all of them to get her in this dress she's wearing. Which one she will keep to take her out again she hasn't decided. But she has her eye on Oggie - this really cute, very young piano player, who shot her a terrified look across the stage when she said it. :D
She introduced them in bulk so we could save the applause for her. She also had trouble tunning her strings, especially her g string. And mentioned she doesn't use much make up these days, more like embalming oil :D
Anyway, that was an hour of laughter and good violin playing.

Today it was darker. Today I almost gave up on this whole fucking boat thing, because the weather was shit, my mood was shit and my standing outside of the toilet was shit and every time SLSB went on and on how little money we'll be making, I didn't want to waste another day away from my lover. We work SO much, for SUCH a long time, never able to have rest, never able to see our families other than through fucked up wifi, and then they insult us always, mistreat us always and in the end even the money is bad. This is a weird world to be in. Every time you do something pleasant  someone is there to reprimand you, or interrupt you or find a way to ruin it for you, so you start feeling embarassed for being happy..
I didn't want this anymore. But I sent him some texts and he sent me some texts and I had some coffee and a cookie and the sun came out over the pompous fjord... I studied my itinerary for autumn. I think I know when I'll abandon this peculiar fruitcake of a vessel. It just isn't going to be today. In fact Hermes doesn't want me to leave, he's being very good to me: the sea today was the most beautiful I've ever seen. It was like a romantic painting: the waves were high and many, small and tempestrous, and when such a small feisty wave crests, you catch a glimps of blazing emerals rim through the foamy crown, while the hot wind blows off it the salty mist, same as the wind dances sand on the edges of dunes in the Sahara or snow atop of the dangerous jewel mountains.
So I shake it off and stay another little while longer. 
But here's another bad poem, just to make sure you understand how close I got:
(And I promise to stop using the words 'sea','ocean','deep','dark','lonelyness' and 'gray' from now on entirely.)

This loneliness can not be described by human words or measure
It may hardly be described by a dark, cold and endless sky
Though I hide myself into a palm in which I can hear the sea
And ropes and sails of a small boat,
I cannot breathe for how much I miss my house and the green around it.
The voice of my father. The smell of my street. The skin of my lover.
The lenght of my stride however I see it fit. 

Sitno >>171<<

Spoke to my baby for almost two hours, falling in and out of the wifi connection in this tiny shed which is also the only thing in the dock, besides a hotel and a kayaking deck, sorrounded by massive steep stone fjord walls and a LOT and I mean A LOT of clouds :D It was good gangway today, even though it rained :D As per instructed in the beginning of this, he told me to stay out my contract like a professional. I told him I will like it here less after DOo leaves. Which will happen in four days. I admited I burnt through the other half of my second Veto card hugging and kissing DOo's cheek good-bye today. The General said: if it was just a kiss on the cheek and a hug, it wouldn't be worth the Veto card. He mentioned that if I don't behave, he will scatter my ashes all across the Velebit. :D
Fuck, how he cheers me up. But after I zip up the iPad and get from the chair, here I am, returning to the boat again, and having to deal with my own issues. Not my strongest suit, right? 

So ye, DOo is leaving in four days. I've been here for 71. Long fucking time, actually, considering. It doesn't seem like I'll ever manage to print the photo of him I wanted, and the frame I wanted to buy SLSB won't sell me. It'll have to wait until I get home some day. I kissed him goodbye today. I wanted to when I had the chance, because I likely won't have the chance in the coming days, knowing this damn boat. The man has a phone AND a pager AND a walkie, so imagine how often it lasts five seconds before he has to answer one of them. I went to the cabin at his nap time, aware that was the likeliest time nobody will be calling him to solve anything. He hates it, but I like that hour and it won't happen again anyway :) Maybe once or twice, max :P
I kissed his hand and his face and his chest, because those were the things about him that I appretiated the most - the hands and the wit and the humor. I didn't really kiss him with my lips as much as I used my own cheeks, eyelashes and my own hands. It wasn't dirty or weird, or anything like a wife kissing a man. It was the way I kiss people. 
Like the story characters that they are.

I told him that I am aware, oh, many ladies like the Chief, if most for the money, some for the charm and one for the calmness he is in this odd hysterical stage I am stuck on ... That if I'd met him ten years ago, when my soul was still dark, he would have been in more trouble. All those other dumb bitches wouldn't stand a chance. I wouldn't share him with anyone. 
Not even the sea. 
He chuckled, muttering, I wouldn't be able to keep him from the sea. 
I muttered I didn't say I would keep him from the sea.
In the end, when we hugged, I laughed, saying he hugs me as if I was a child. He laughed I AM a child.

...I liked that. I liked that he somehow always knew preserving my innocence and my joy for life was important, even if he didn't know the word for it. Ships swallow many good people, turning them into old, miserable shells of men. I appretiate he protected me, even if he won't admit he made an effort. He was a really cool lost soul to know. And made ME a better seafarer. Like a lady pax said the other days: No, I could see there is more to you than meets the eye..

Well, yes, madam. Looks like I am the one who will bitchslap Callipso the next time I see her. 

7.3 Spanish cruise, part 3

Sitno >>178<<

Griefing Gods, how much my feet ached last night, and how hot I was in the awful synthetic uniform jacket .. But there were many paying people and I worked from 4 to nigh 11 in the eve, albeit with a neat half hour diner and later 20 minute coffee break, which felt like a pie slice of bliss, sitting outside, watching sleeping freighters... i never had a legit coffee break before. I suppose looking like I'm about to pass out from overheating hit a pragmatic chord with my manager, who figured giving me a break is better than having to stand in the poorly aired hallway alone for the rest of the evening... Also one of the passangers offered to hold the deck door open for me, so that a cold wind could blow in and I could be fanned by it, which was a pretty decent thing of her to do :D

During the busy hours someone tapped me on the shoulders (happens often enough for me to know never to look over the TAPPED shoulder), but there is no-one on the left, no-one on the right, only far down the blonde crew cut and beneath it DOo grinning silly. The other day he tried to craw pass me beneath the counter. Fucking adorable old idiot :D
I tell him, gesturing at the shop behind him: "Get the fuck off the floor, you idiot. There is a ghost in the shop. An old lady, confused, stuck. She can't remember what she came to buy before she felt poorly and had to sit down in the cafe."
"What are you talking about?" (He speaks with a heavy Finnish accent, sort of stacking words one on top of the other.)
"And you had a Code Bravo! What the fuck are you doing to this ship?"
"What are you talking about, there was no Code Bravo. An old lady was Code Alpha."
"Yes, I know what Alpha means."
"What it means?"
"That someone is going to die."
"No, that's not what it means."
"If there's Code Alpha and no helicopter, someone is going to die."
"Oh, you. You really are one step forward, two steps backwards every day..."

The 12ths are my days of hormonal imbalance and everything that happens makes me feel worse. Even excellent food. (Or my strict diet of ice-cream and coke.) We had Spanish food buffet for diner, complete with pancakes with foamy ground almonds, cinnamon and cream. I asked to go to a 8 1/2 hr trip to the fucking Alhambra palace, but because there is drill, instead I have to stand in the hallway for 15 minutes, hugging my life jacket, waiting for life to go by. Cannot be excused. Neup. Not sure who fucked me over that one. If it was the new Safety Officer or not. He seemed a little nervous when I cornered him, saying that because some international inspection, no-body was allowed to go ashore during drill.. Except of course my roomie, because reasons. If it was SLSB who ruined it for me, it just means he must have noticed my Instagram by now... Though at least they are awere of out existance and all photies are on AwaitOrdersTeam, so that when we CAN be excused, there are no reasons not to. Or so I'm lectured. Except when Alhambra.

Wrote the bad poem, to wash away the bile and the ghosts:

I will give you five baskets.
Heavy, large, wicker things.
One's how much you will be laughing.
The other is a vessel for your tears.
One is sleep, or thoughtless abandon.
One is everything you will ever do wrong.
The last one is all you will ever do right.
Hearts are hungry, fickle things.
They bleed, they break, they stop (with no warning.)
And my five baskets are heavy.

Managed to find the one McDonald's in existance without wi-fi. The Gods of home made ice-cream have finally caught up with me. But the truth is, I needed to find a cool place to hide and have a cold drink and some warm water... As fascinating and pretty as Malaga is, I am not aclimatised to the extreme heat and am getting dizzy. A bunch of the hairs on my left forearm keep getting erected, like I'm cold. I remember that shit from Sahara. I'll get used to it. If I knew I can spend the rest of the day chillaxing, I would be okay. But I need to stand in a stuffy hot gallery in the afternoon, dressed in an awfully uncomfortable outfit.
Aaaah, so THAT's why I was bloated like a seal and wanted to kill somebody yestereve... My other ovary decided to join the party and I am now, after two weeks of leaking, bleeding like a struck pig. Well, at least I have good reasons for crying and whining. Always good to know.

Bought myself some cheap sunglasses and last season's Mango shorts. Really short shorts, too. Thin, pretty, very pretty, very short. Makes me conscious of the parts I am not often shaving, wondering it anyone will notice by the time I get to my cabin :D 'Course it's more probable everyone will just notice my tomato red sweating face. Was also oggling fedoras, but am not thin enough to wear one yet, though my face is getting narrower. I'll get myself one when I am size 12.

I'll write about Malaga in another post... Maybe an Instagram post. Or both. 

They are doing this sinister thing to the wi-fi - you will no longer NEED to buy a code card, you'll just log in and it will be charged to your room... Which is a fairly awful thing to do, especially the crew. Not only because some people forget to log out, but also because if you know you have five hours, you ration that time to speak to your family five times... But people are addicted to their families, I should know, and will think, during conversations, in their head: just one more minute, just one more minute, just one more minute ... No more rationing there, either. And next thing you know a third of your paycheck goes back to the fucking boat. 
I'm not saying that wouldn't make sense if this was good wi-fi, but it's shit. Half the time it doesn't work and when it does work, it takes twenty minutes to load one photo onto Facebook. I talked about it to Tom the Host earlier. I said:
"Crappy fucking wi-fi; I've managed to have ONE Skype sex in the entirety of two months since I've been here."
"I have no idea how you managed to get that through, I have trouble loading porn .GIFs."

Sitno >>177<<

"Get the fuck out of my sun or give me some sun block, you fucking Red dragon wanna-be."
(One of my shoppie mates, affectionally, after seeing my tattod back on the beach.)

Looked through some of our future itineraries... Few new ports, but mostly old, familliar ones. Mixed feelings about that. While I am insatiable, regarding this world (Gimme more, gimme more of it!), I do have a list of towns I wanna dive in more and mayhap this will give me the opportunity to cross them off that list... Three days of Hamburg, with food and sleeping paid for, in abundance?? :D MiniatureWonderland here I come!

Not a bad day behind us, a seaday. Did burn through my entire supply of tampons and napkins, simultaneously, as am leaking ridiculously, but will survive. Tomorrow it's Vigo (Portugal, not Mortensen.), then two more sea days. Two more bazaars, which I like. Not sure how much I will like it while crossing Bay of Biscay, but we'll cross that vomit fest when we come to it. The shifts were nicely distributed, so it wasn't painful, even though the ship is rocking, on an otherwise not too moody seas. SLSB held an almost friendly, cheerful meeting, during which he read us the latest complaints we had to the management. There was a particular one regarding me by name, which it took me a while to understand WhiskeyFoxtrotTango. Someone complained I told them to remove their clothing and that when they asked me to take their photo I refused.
Fucking blink.
... Had to really think about that one. Then I remembered. Yesterday, in the hallway, on the day that there was 46'C in the Malaga port, a man came by, wearing a woolly sweater and I asked them if they are not hot. They said that what will they take off if it gets any hotter? 
Okay, it was a random conversation, I didn't think anything of it. But, hey, you know, I always forget, some guests come onto this ship only and EXCLUSIVELY to complain, because this way they get free stuff for it. Even the guy who shat all over the ship, so they had to spend hours on end scrubbing and sanitizing, will get monatery compensation for being quarantened. As a karma payback, he will not be able to board the complimentary bus home. 
I had a passenger today who insisted I should offer him a deal for the three photos he is buying. When I explained I am only an employee and have no bargaining leeway, he moved onto SLSB and tried an ever more aggresive aproach, ultimately abandoning the photos, upset we would not cut their cost. What insulted him the most, I think, was the fact that behaving badly towards us would bully us into yielding. We didn't even blink. It was actually kind of silly. This shit happens every day, more so towards the end.
K, so one was an attempt at a missunderstanding, it happens. I'm used to it by now. The second one was a complete lie. Nobody ever asked me to take a photo of them while passing Gibraltar, because a) why would I ever refuse just taking someone's tiny camera and pressing a button? and b) it was pitch black while we did it. What someone once DID ask me was if I take photos of the sunset, and I said that no, those are only for me. 
... The coleagues telling me I spend too much time talking to the passangers, that I am too friendly and some are not right in the head?... I am starting to believe them. Slowly, bur surely. I used to think, but, wait, some people are creepy, sure, but at least some are super sweet? "No. Fuck them. Speak to nobody about anything. Even if they seem to be the loneliest fucks in creation, in desperate need for anyone to notice them, fuck them. Any form of niceness will only come back to bite you in the ass. Speak to NO ONE about anything, not even the weather."
Yup. Am starting to believe that. As the super hottie Vigo Mortensen would say: Seek life ELSEwhere. 

I SAW A WHALE! I was so excited once it finally happened I found the first person I could, which happened to be our dear cocksure Dubrovnik-born captain (no. Just no.) talking to the pretty blonde excursions girl, and told them. I saw a whale! It was not like in the movies, it was just a cow-sized slick gray something that spurred water out of their dorsal nasal thingie... But I never saw one before and it was kinda surreal. Whoa, dude! A whale!

Got to appretiate the fact that we live here and now and can see a whale and not have the need to kill it. (Though I never understood why a whale doesn't just swim down when being hunted. We have something like a 100 meters under the keel. Just swim the fuck down, not AWAY, moron.) If DOo and I lived and worked on a boat a 100 years ago, he would have to be a navy mariner or a whale hunter or fisherman and I would have to be a pirate. We would have to hurt things. Even as a charter and an explorer, I would destroy things.

On that note, DOo update, as he is my favorite human on this tin can, the second funnest part of the day was talking to him in the gallery, asking him about 'so who is this woman you think of when you look at me? Because you are looking at me like I'm this complicated toy, this.. may be fun to play with for a bit, but too many moving parts to really have patience with, too heavy to carry around..?'
... And he just began to say I'm being spooky and tell me about his girlfriend, when one of the passing girl employees said: "Happy birthday! Was it a nice surprise last night?"

After five minutes of calling him bad names for being a complete dick for not telling me - I asked him like a dozen times! -  he said no, this is much more fun!
Fuck you, I could have given you that photo for a present. Asshole. 
After lunch I offed to his cabin when I knew it was his nap time. He sleeps too much anyway. What adult human sleeps for seven hours? Seriously. Thus we spent another hour, me sitting on the floor as usual, him on the bed, talking about ugly divorces, kids, a guitar he would like to buy, and Malaga they way I saw it, and men on this ship that hide their true nature very badly. (And would cheat on their wives never ever EVER, except, you know, if there was an opportunity...) 
We hugged (people hug A LOT around here, this would be like my sixth hug since I got here and I am NOT a huggy person. Granted, I do really miss being held by G. every single breathing moment, but that's different. Nobody has skin like him. Nothing would substitute his arms.) and I felt weird how small he actually is, I could feel his ribs and cross my arms around him. All of it oddly unsexual, just kinda sad, because he'll be gone soon, and probably for good. I think he is begining to see that going back to the Real World while your heart is actually locked to an ocean is not all it's cracked up to be. 

I should know - I have the exact opposite problem. 

Sitno >>176<<

We're almost in a proper sea storm. Not a very dramatic one, but a sea storm nonetheless. Been going up and down for more than a day now, which you feel no matter how many seasickness pills you take, and we're only a couple of hours away from docking. Gangway is going to be fuuuuun :D
Couldn't sleep because ladies' business gore gallore and am freaking out a little by how much one person can bleed before it becomes an issue?.. 
The TV in officer's mess is often on, showing BBC news, which mostly just generates angst. I know I defend the horrors of my species by saying for every Bach there must be a Goebels, for every Malala Erzbeth Bartnoly or whatever that dumb bitch's name was, for every Gandhi that Waterloo freak, what's his name, Napoleon, and so on, but still. I know that if you mess too many colors in together, one will ruin everything from a rainbow into a gray sludge. We do some pretty awful things to one another every day. Which make everybody else just a little bit darker. Every time a passanger treats me like shit, I move further and further away from the concept of them. Every 'in need' mass I've ever met were the wrong kind of people to help. Africans, Indians, Nepali, the economic migrants who came across my own country and left a shitstorm behind, quite literally. None of those NEEDED my help. None of those thought I was being a good person. They all WANTED something from me, because they believed I was a bad person, a person undeserving of the shoes I wear and my 15 euro watch. 
Maybe I'm just in a bad mood because my tummy aches so badly, despite medicine. Or maybe it pisses me off that for three days BBC's been showing footage of people dying and crying during some mass shooting in a night club in Orlando, screaming 'how did this happen?!' ... Well, probably because a mental patient walked into a gun store, purchased two gym bags of ammo, walked to a night club, used it and now the gun manufacturers will loby for every night club bouncer to be armed with at least two hand guns and religious fundamentalists will loby for all gay clubs to close, for their own safety - all the while in the rest of the world some other, more significant horrors, but also more significant triumphs of humanity were taking place, which did not inspire as many TV viewers. 

Attempted to go out, but gangway was two hours of pouring rain or furious wind or blazing sun or all of the above at the same time. Not a rollcount to speak of, but at least it wasn't worse. I didn't go to Vigo at all, I just sort of swept through the shopping mall in the port, to get some better headphones (did miss that bass) and another bracelet, and try to catch a wifi. Some of the letters sent home already arrived and caused some joy, others are still in the transit. Went back, without really buying a postcard, since I wasn't really ever in Vigo.. Ran into two men in the hallway at the same time and managed to insult one by choosing to chat with the other. As if it was a choice. 
"Who's he?" asked DOo smuggly. 
"No one."
"Are you sure?"
"I'm sure. You're the only one I'm not sleeping with."
That came out a little wrong. 
What I was trying to say, is that of all the people on the ship I am not having any relations with, he is the one I am having least NOT relations with... LOL. There is just no way to explain this. Bottom line, I am entirely faithful and pure to the Reality of my origin. There is just the ongoing joke between DOo and I about the almosts.
"So you almost-captain, you almost made the same mistake you did the first time. You almost cheated on your almost-girlfriend with your almost-mistress..."
The almosts are the joke. 
... That didn't sound right either. Fuck it.

An off day today and an Asian buffet today for diner... That is a benevolent combo. If you don't take into consideration 50 knots per hour wind speed gusts and the enclosing Bay of Biskay. 

Had my three chocolates of choice and another rice pudding with sweet plum for late nite dessert, and some nice coffee, then headed to the gym to spend and hour and a half walking really fast, uphill. It would have been an even harder workout if I didn't hold onto the handles of the conveyer the whole while, and instead carried the weights as I usually do, but believe me. If you were on a ship that ploughs through THOSE kind of waves, you'd have held onto stuff, too. Funny feeling, though, the massive waves - at times you're almost levitating and in another ten seconds you're in a G4 force ascend, heavy as a dry fish. 

Sitno >>175<<

So far the Brooklyn approach to Biscay has been working out best so far: strong pills against seasickness, and many, some painkillers for the tummy ache and no food and very little water at all. I haven't eaten in 24 hrs and I have not been even a little sick, despite the fact the ship is jumping like there's no tomorrow
The one semi bad news is that because of Code Yellow, a treshold of an epidemic, we cannot have the bazaars and without those the chances for meeting target look very bad indeed. Perhaps this time for the first time we actually won't come up so very good. Ah, well. I only need 280 bucks to meet my quota :) We'll see. Kinda wanna buy G an anneversary prezzie. And mayhap myself some summer shoes. I keep staring at people's feet to see what nice things they wear. 

Discovered Britvic Indian Tonic Water in these tiny 150ml cans, of which I bought a whole case at SlopChest (for the price of two normal Coke Cans). It's really nice bitter tonic, good for the tummy. I ate a large spoon of rice and a small slice of cheese cake and drank some more water. Still persevering the sickness. Not sure when I should take the next pill.. Better safe than sorry? But I don't wanna run out. Fuck it, !'ll just take all of 'em and crawl down to the Medical center for more later.
We set down the studios unusually early, because there is no way we're going to make target anyway, unable to set up the tables for people to purchase magnets and postcards and albums and the like ... I think I'll just go to bed. I've slept through most of the hours which I haven't been working. It helps. For once I am not the one with the green face, stumbling from column to column, looking like death's bitch. 

Sitno >>174<<

"We only shoot tables and couples tonight, yes?"
"No, what couples? It's the third formal, what is the matter with you. Only tables and couples!"
... "Er..."

SLSB is so angry we are not gonna make the money because of the gastro prevention rules, he undid the studios halfway through the formals last night and just sent us to our rooms. He managed to negotiate one table for today's sale, but that got closed down after an hour also, because Code Red. I suggested we just display one of each postcards for the people, which was not agreed upon. He later displayed one of each in the display cabinet, because he is very clever. Not that it changed anything. People don't buy the things they cannot touch.
A pair of passengers lent me a book about Britain's origins for a few hours; I am reading that now, waiting for my shift to start and for my clothes to tumble dry :)

Broke my no-food rule again, with an excuse it's comfort food and I deserve it, though in truth I didn't need it. Didn't need any comfort.  These are the good days. I just love the company, and the food tastes great. The hosts and the band are either high or drunk or just being themselves, glad to get another hour of sleep when we switch to London time. We're laughing at smut jokes so hard I'm choking on my nuggetz. We also must have done something right in our lives, to be able to just eat as many nuggetz as we can - it's an open buffet of everything you can eat and this shit is delicious. Same stuff as you get in McDonald's IN BUCKETTS.
All kinds of grim predictions for tomorrow... That we'll be manning toilets for most of the cruise, that we're embarking from a hellhole tent in the middle of a quay construction, that we'll be forced to make package deals regardless of how uneffective they are... But all of that sounds kind of fun so far, I can see no difference standing in the gallery for four hours or standing outside of a restroom for three, and so ridiculously normal, that suddenly to be called a Braemarian just means, in the mariner vernacular, you're from "one of those ships" :D 'Is this normal?!' Ye. It kinda eez.

At home my love could have gone to a hot concert up in the castle ruins theater, but had to work and is not the kind of a guy to get some time off and then spend the night partying. I know, because up until two months ago, I was not the type of a person to be out after eleven, not even if it was a really long movie. Homesickness continues to tear apart my heart strings, the way bathing my dog is described, (more accurately, the dog's precious few fleas), the way choosing the BD gift for my sister is asked for.. I miss my father,s voice, the smell of my house, the flowers in my mother,s garden and the problems pf my friends. I miss my Internet; down in the crew mess some goth jump scares horror tragedy with Daniel Radcliffe is playing and I have no idea what it is about or any means of finding out and I hate not having a broom to clean my headspace before I go to bed, such as the Internet was back home... The way the passengers talk about their relationships, current or gone. The heart is somewhere really really really fucking far away. The heart is fucked. 

A woman who spoke to me abut philosophy and poetry told her husband that I am very bright (that is a very nice word. To be BRIGHT.) and they will be looking out for my name in the future. I kind of feel obliged to live up to their expectations with Goose as a new form of literature, not bound by any style, not bound by any genre, not bound by any existing norm... And no death or disease or tragedy will stop me, I pray, because if they don't, my own limitations certainly shouldn't.

The heart is fucked. It is not getting any less fucked, it is not getting any closer to home, because the longer I am so far away from my house, the less I am myself, and who knows into what the oceans will change me. The heart is fucked. 
But the head is laughing to tears, the tummy is happy on nuggetz, the legs are strong, the wrists have cute bracelets and somewhere down there a massive machine is pushing the tin on, a band is playing good stuff and Bad Romance, an army of housekeepers are handing three thousand colorful suitcases through corridors and in a lonely cabin on the other end of a ship a small blonde old peacock is sleeping, alone and cheerful, like me. Funny thing - all the best things in his life happened to him because of women, and all the worst things that happened to him were because of women. For me, the same applies to travelling. It is a strange addiction to have. If he were mine, none of those bitches would stand a chance; I wouldn't share him with anyone.. Not even the sea..

So how do I make sure that the man who IS mine, whose voice holds my entire existance in proper shape, is never ever tempted to the oceans and that I am of all the bitches the one who steals all the kisses from his lips, be it the daylight, night time or dreams borne? Is it stagnation or trust that which I should rest my foundation upon?..

Sunday, 12 June 2016

7.2 Spanish cruise, pt 2

Sitno >>181<<

Could not be a better day. After shooting too many gangway shots of individuals running/pushing pass me, I decided to use the perfect sun and a nice old church ruins backdrop to shoot only couples who stopped and posed. Thus I only got 80 or so good, but they were good. 

Then we met for the beach date and a dozen of us offed to the most beautiful silt beach I have ever seen. Google it: Portimao, in Portugal... And there we sunbathed, swam, sunbathed some more, the shoppies, the hosts, the band guys, the dancers who joined us, some of us topless a bit, I went into the water alone and just walked around, playing with the waves, enjoying wearing only my shorts, free as a jellyfish. All heart, no bones. My shoppie shipmate didn't know how to swim; we tried to teach her, but there's always trust to get over first, and fear. I think she is starting to like the Irish host, who then just piggyback-carried her around the waves. 

I can't understand why anyone would ever die in an ocean. The ocean should be a place where nobody could ever die, drown or sink or be eaten. But as long as we continue to kill sea creatures, the ocean will continue to kill us. Fair enough. 

I had to go back sooner, to get to work, hoping I didn't get sunburnt too badly (only a bit of my neck and hair split, ironically). Some of the english refuse to understand what the big deal is about the sun and wake up the next morning pink as pigs. I grabbed a KinderSuprice chocolate egg and a cup of strawberry cheesecake ice-cream for lunch and hurried to shower the salt and sand off me. Portimao is an extraordinarily beautiful resort, tourist city with perfect silt beaches and posh houses, clean water and new hotels, cute and not too busy, at least not now. Excellent sailaway, also.

I spoke to pumpkin later in the eve, after having eaten a good salad and some sugar-free vanilla rice pudding and some popcorn later still... Edited some Instagram pickies, thinking about my life...

I spoke to Drej, typed via Skype, and thought this centrifuge existance on these boats, this is like stepping onto some wild, rogue merry-go-round, where faces and buildings blur together, port towns as different as can be, and you need to step off again to get back to a focused sense of reality, on land, where all towns are made the same, not in command of the crescent bays. I can no longer comprehend the pace of which we go to cities and who the new people are and who's left us already ... You know how sometimes you wake up from a dream, thinking: whoa, best dream ever!... But when you try to write it down, it sounds kind of senseless and stupid?

I wanted to return to the basics so bad today, I not only left the camera (it will resent me, but it was a) hot and b) freaking sandy), but also the rest of my shiny surfaces. Not even my bag. Just a towel, sunblock and a derelict old umbrella for sorta shade. And flippy floppies. DOo paid for talking to me about kissing by getting a toothache and had to go to the dentist. We get to Seville tomorrow, and with a little luck I will get to see flamenco dancers, find a post office and get lost again in a Spanish city...

"Where the fuck are you guys going - why don't we just go to the beach over there?!"
"There is a river in between, moron, how do you think we got here?!"

Sitno >>180<<

My lips taste like sangria ... Ye, my lips taste like sangria ... Nnnnn ...

Okay, so I totally burned through one and a half of my two veto cards for the year. Or maybe both, but I wanna wait till the end of the year to see what happens, to be sure.

First, entirely uneventful morning, we slide through some incredible landscape, the Guada... Something River fields resort. Dunno what they grow there, but it looked fucking awesome. I instantly put it on the list of places I want to hike. 
We docked in Seville, I grabbed lunch and my bag and Tom, host, and I offed to take some pickies of him, as he asked for headshots. We started in a park, but there were mosquitos, so we moved to a maaaaassive palace, super picturesque and if that wasn't cool enough, there was a street performer doing the whole Spanish guitar act thorough our stay there. It got up to 36'C. We offed for a drink and Tom asked if I wanna have sangria and I argued for a little while. But it was said to me that if in Seville, you've gotta do that one. So, on the table comes over a litre of red vine with ice and fruit in it. Which, gotsta say, tasted freaking great. I drank about a third before every host, shoppie and band mate I usually hang around and certainly told I never ever drink came by. There goes that bit of my reputation. And to hammer another nail in my rep's coffin, when I went to watch the flamenco performance, I drank the complimentary sangria, too :D The guys are going out at midnight, which is an option, but I think I'll head out to shoot nightscape and walk a bit, then go to sleep and go out in the morning to try and see some of the city through a lens properly..

Best part of the day was DOo, again. Fuck I'll miss him when he leaves. Two more weeks, I think. I was having coffee in the mess, dinner time just started. The Croatian shipmate, who is all testosterone and no romance and would forget his marriage vows and mine in a blink of an eye if I flirted with him for just a second. (Balkans are like that - they take insults and flirtation VERY SERIOUSLY.) Is why I avoid him politely and never take on his invitation to go out at night. Unlike DOo, who will talk sex with me all the time if we get the opportunity, some of the other shipmates are not to be invited anywhere near that conversation, trust me... 

Anyhoo. More people came in to eat, officers, hosts,.. A cute host girl joined me and we talked about the bridge and how if I was on her evacuation team, I would finally be able to see the damn thing. I whined so loudly that I haven't had the chance to see the bridge that all present were amused, the whole mess. When he was done, sitting with his back to me a few tables away, DOo stood up, wiped his mouth with a napkin, took his plate to clear the table and announced: "Mrs. Garlick, would you love to see the bridge?"
The host girl mouthed: garlick? I said: It's 'cause my name is Arlich - very nice man, chief, but he can't spell too well.
So, excited out of my silly little mind ( =drunk), I hopped behind him whle we made our way through the ship (crew passages, as I was in my civilian clothing and was not allowed in the hotel deck), and then there was the bridge. Loooots of buttons and levers, man. I asked a hundred questions for DOo to interpret the details for me, and most of his explanations concluded with: No, you can't press that. Don't push that. Let go of that lever. Stop turning that button. Stop that. Put your hands in your pockets. 
His two bridge-mates, a deck cadet and some semi senior guy, who were there with us (imagine a cockpit in the middle of a very wast and fairly comfortable living room on top of a skyscraper in the middle of a river.) were ordered to tell him what is the most important thing to coordinate yourself on a bridge is and I, kneeling, while getting my camera from the bag, mocked him: It's a trick question, guys; he's probably referring to the coffee machine or something...
"A fucking photographer knows this and you don't," he nodded at his dissappointing students and then I finally managed to get a photo of him. Which someone suggested I should print and give to him, as it is a good shot. I think so, too, but I know some people hate their own shots, so ... Nah, fuck it, I'll just do that, he can toss overboard it if he likes later on. 

I grabbed a coconut cookie from their buffet, which nearly choked me, and grinned that I am so humbled by this place my hands are shaking. (Also drunk.) He told me I really shouldn't tell him things like that, that I am drunk, that I steal books, because he should report me. I imagine bringing a drunk civilian with a big camera to the bridge is not exactly by the book, either, eh, papi?

So the sweet hour went. I walked around, touched things, photographed things, sat down on things or opened things, looked under things and moved things about. When security officers came and saw my bag they frowned a bit, but when they saw it was me, they all understood and smiled: I must seem like such an amusing, comfortable presence on this ship, the crazy redhaired photographer that calls the chief officer cupcake and the kitchen boys 'sir'...
He showed me all the stations, the radio protocols, the ship's logs, the old maps that are now mostly exhibited for passenger's, but he interpreted the symbols on them for me, and numbers regarding depth under the keel (two fucking meters, no wonder we drove to this dock at glacier pace. A rogue bicycle tossed to the water bed and we'd have a whole new log entry..), other vessels' presence, proximity and types, itc... Awesome, nerdy stuff. :D

Ran down to the busses to go to the flamenco show, but in truth, regardless of the fabulous dancers, my brain was stuck on the bridge balcony, listening to pilot protocols and double hull maintenance and remote fire screen door commands and watertight doors ...
"Also known as instant death," I muttered.
"It takes something like ten seconds for them to close, no?" said the semi-senior officer.
"Yes, because nobody has ever been damaged by a watertight door." Don't try to be smarter than me today, little bro, today I am walking on muddy sangria smelling river water. 

Sitno >>179<<

Good half of the day, but I guess a 37'C Seville will achieve that. I ate a chicken sandwich for breakfast and a piece of orange pie for lunch, bought myself a spotty numberless wristwatch in H&M and a bucketload of postcards, as they were the cheapest I've found so far, 35.- 
Walked around, my hair greasy in parts from the sun lotion (always apply sun block to the split of your hair, unless you own a fedora, then it's okay) and dry and brittle like straw from ship water everywhere else... 
The beauty of Seville cannot be described or photographed; it can only be experienced, and you have to do it in heat, on a weekend, at night if can be. They wash the streets with some lime smelling, minty detergent and mixed with the smell of jasmin and akacia or some Venezuelian violet variety there of. Wrote my postcards in a shadow of a cathedral and flamenco posters, eating nothing but ice-cream again. 

I like myself the way I am today, this unruly, wild thing, too sexy to be ugly and too forgetful to be beautiful, with messy long red hair, blushed sunburnt face with small golden and emerald eyes and large idiotic teeth, this creature with huge breasts and tiny hands holding a hot black glass-full camera, this odd mixure of enthusiasm and darkness, of wunderlust and homesickness, postcards and digitless wristwatch, cheap Pandora knock-off with marine life pendants on it, neon orange headphones and ancient beige capri pants, of improper thoughts and pictures of baby ducks in a royal pond, this wisp of lust and poetry, or wanting to kiss and wanting to steal... Like a sweating caged animal who, if released from the iron, would just explode with everything thought and felt. 


... and then someone went and fucking died during formal diner. :(((( Now we have a ghost on a ship. Un fucking believable O.o