Saturday, 4 June 2016

6.3: Baltic cruise, pt.3

Sitno >>190<< or something

I know! Long fucking cruise! Longest I've done before this was nine days. It feels like we've only ever been on this one, though, yes, interestingly enough, the longer it's getting, the easier it is. Easier to distribute shifts, to plan ahead the sale strategies, and you can already tell who the nice ones are, who the crazy and who just want to be buttered up. Never forget, they all come to see the photos, even if they didn't stop for you. The ones that confuse me the most is people who come to the STUDIO to pose and then don't even LOOK at the pics. But anyway, I know by now to tell who is just tired, who is nasty and who are just cheap. They love the attention the camera gives them, but buy very little in the end. This ship has six passenger decks: the same price for a photo will have someone saying 'oh, is that all? That's not so bad', and another 'what? Are you crazy? Does it come in a golden frame?!'... My oddly stubborn idealistic nature insist on thinking everyone is nice, they're just having a bad day.. Even the likes of Hotz. I pray that doesn't change in me. I'd hate myself to think that ye, sometimes people are actually just total dicks. 

The days pass cute, but not too good. When you are asking yourself: is this where I wanna be? no? Where then? - and not know the answer, you know the problem is you, not the big iron mass around you, or the gloomy weather, or the lack of coffee in your blood. Or the lack of land to complain to. DOo was telling me about Estonians, as that is where we dock tomorrow and which is what my roomie is - how they are proud people, but not in a bad way - how they have been buggered by Russians, who mostly ever did only that to any nation they ancountered and still do. How the Fins, which is what DOo is, have great respect for them. How they are quiet (my roomie sometimes doesn't even say Hi to me back, when we meet in the hallway, and it isn't because she's be upset or any somesuch), but decent people, nice and honest. You get used to their odd, quiet attitudes. Even tempered. She is fairly calm, or CBA about things that would make my liver explode. I have the nice, calm, naturally easygoing temper of a nuclear warhead. I never thought to apply characteristics to individual nations before, it seemed like something a snob would do. But no. It rings true. Cubans are honestly very happy and friendly lot. Romunians are everything but, and profit oriented. The Philipines can be really nice, but oddly hypocritical towards the whites - and I am white, as if there is anything I could do about it - meaning that they but crawl in the restaurant to bring me water or take away my plate, but won't say Hey to me when we meet in the crew mess. Since they are off the clock. I understand they are getting the rotten end of the deal working on these ships. They work jobs white people would never work for the money and conditions here. They sign on to being treated like dogs. And the worst bit, their employers think they are doing them a favor, since this is still a better life, financially, than their home. They trade in their dignity for being able to send their kids to good schools and their parents to good hospitals. This is still the world we live in. Easiest lot to take advantage of. No wonder they hate us. I spoke with two Polish ladies, awesome dames, something shamanistic to them, who explained that to demand of your employee to wear heels is against human rights regulations. Did not know that. 

Last night, or, more like early morning, I didn't have to go to bed like I should be going now, and I joined the band guys to have some drinks in the room of one of the travelling salesmen, taking photos of the cutest one, wearing Russian hat and sobol coat, pretending to be a mafia prince. We went upstairs, the lot of us, to watch the bridges open, which didn't happen while we were there, so I just took some more pics. It was fun, even though I haven't seen some of them drunk and that was not pretty. I ate a lot of food last night, almost none today. Whom I really wanted to spend time with was DOo, of course, but he is not the type to be found in the middle of the nite, wandering the empty decks. He is on the other end of the excitement spectrum, as for us everything is new and exciting and scary and for him everything is way pass caring. Life is not meant to be 'meh'. That will happen, if you stay in one profession for forty years: you will wake up some day and decide you are an old man, ready for retirement, at the age of fiftyfive.
Was fed up with the growing hole in my stomach from not having anyone to talk to, and he ignored me through most of lunch, which sucked, so I went to my cabin and called if he's gonna be up in his room the next few minutes. He said he's going to take a nap, so now is not a good time. I said fine, and hung up, feeling worse. Called again the next second and barked: Fuck this. I am coming up right now.

We spent an hour talking, me sitting on the floor of his fancy cabin, the sun shining through the huge window, him lying on the bed. If it was up to me, I would be there all the time. It is the most normal place on the ship I can hide in. Nobody can find me there. It's quiet. Nobody to yell at me. Nobody ever does anything bad in his presence. I appretiate the illusion, the aura of calm seas around him. He tells me a million things, more than anyone else. He tells me about small planes and large ships, tells me about the people and nationalities, tells me about the main and auxiliary engines, tells me about his women and his boat, tells me about the Morse code and how not everything that my superiors do is about me. Writing your problems into a blog may make them seem mighty huge, but telling them to a grown man makes me sound like a child. Oh, was your manager mean to you? He's a mean boy? He's a big meanie? Oh, booh hoo... 

He said if someone asking me to wear thick stockings, some officer sitting with his back to me during lunch, some bar keeper reporting me for wearing my hair down at midnight are my main problems, than clearly I live on a planet with extremely comfortable weather. (Not in so many words. The only time he showed any genuine interest in my big ship problems was when I mentioned a pax possibply tried to push me. Because that is a problem. Not being told to wear more cherful makeup.)  Actually, he was just laughing at me. And I would tell him to go fuck himself, then cry/laugh: I know! i know I am being stupid! I know I am a tourist. He knows I am a tourist. We agreed my Instagram photos, cute as they may be, are photos of a tourist. I read him a letter I wrote for him, in which I say I think of myself as a very cool wife and a fairly awesome person and the peace of mind of my husband and his heart are untouchable. That I can be a pretty cool friend, too, and if he dragged me to a Russian ballet, I would drag him to the top of Kilimanjaro. He could teach me to hot-wire a submarine and I would teach him how to write a book. But none of that would ever make me a cheating whore.
He apologized for generalizing, as when questioning my fidelity he simply spoke out of experience of what he's seen. I wonder if now, that he is convinced he will never bone me, he will lose interest in me completely. Gods I hope not. I need someone to continue interpreting ships for me. There really are very many ships that I have no idea what their purpose is. Cruise ship, fishing ship, military ship, freighter, car ship, grain ship, pilots... 

I think I should get a better sense of humor, no matter how good judge of a character I am. I should care less, I suppose, be more shallow. Divide my brain into the Planet me and a Ship me and keep only one half turned on at a time. Like, you know, a child. But a happy child. 
That was the morning part of the day.

It got better and better, actually. My SHIFT did not start until quite later, so I Skyped G, who broadcast my family's BBQ: dad, stunned that he can speak to me via phone while munching on a chicken wing; sis's BF roasting on the grill; Rockstar getting excited about going to the movies; mum and sis clipping the talons of my crazy dog; everything in bloom, the extraordinary pale lilac roses dominating the porch garden... It was stunning to see my family as if on a strange memory loop. I no longer makes me sorrowfull to see them, perhaps if anything it makes me feel guilty I don't miss them more.. Dad worries about me all the time, he worries I am going to be feeling even worse for seeing them. This just tells me that is how he felt on his adventures. But I am a Moomin, Imy soul is called Snufkin, I can have fun far away and still love them, the nutters lot. 

The best part of the day was after sunset. The guitar player bought me some chocolates (because the other day he was feeling lonely and I bought them for him, and he bought the exact same ones, just to be pn the safe side), and so now, after my three WHOLE hours shift was done, I went to get him and said: come, let's to stern to watch the sun sink. (SLSB insist on working all the shifts, even when everyone else is gone. I have no idea why he does that; not only is it not necessary - we don't get paid by the hour. I have no idea what he is trying to achieve. ? ... Or can it be simply that he honestly has nothing else to do in his whole existance? He only knows how to do one thing?) The guitarist only had a few minutes, so I remained alone on the front; plus the sun takes like four hours to set. It was around eleven. Our ship gained and overtook a tremendous cruiser, and we sailed by a freakishly spooky island or cape, where the old military ships and subs were slowly dying. I gotsta googleEarth that place, it looked outstanding. There really is nothing spookier than abandoned era ships. 
Back in the crew dayroom, I Skyped G again and since I still haven't sent him photos of my bewbs in uniform (as odd as it sounds, I genuinely would not like for those photos to come to public attention, if anyone hacked my phone. Not the bewbs part, but the uniform part. Again - here is my dirty little secret, which will soon become my undoing: I like it here. I don't want to be fired.), undid the buttons of my shirt there. Things got more interesting when I took the iPad to my rooms and the internet connection lingered. After we came, at the same time, we spoke for another hour. I said I like it here so much I can totally see myself lasting until september. The General suddenly no longer argued that design. He said: But you won't be leaving again until the next year, correct? I said fuck no. If I do, I will leave next summer. He said: another summer gone without you? No way. Fine, I said, then I'll leave over winter. He said: and not to have you home for Christmas? Forget about it.

Looks like he is begining to miss me, too. It'll soon be two months. Longer than we expected me to last, to be honest. I want to stay longer. I want to do more ships. Fuck it, I want to do more jobs! I wanna cook and clean and be able to stand on the bridge while we dock. I am starting to like ships same as I love trees and forests. I haven't thought about them for forty years, now I think about them all the time. A lot of this planet is aranged according to ships. Since the beginning. Seamen are these strange lot, they get stuck in the same vernacular. I asked DOo what he would do if he decided not to work on ships anymore. He said he has the training and a certificate to be a ship inspector. 

Sitno >>189<<

Today was a super nice day. I shot gangway in the morning, sky without a blemish, gentle breez and seagulls screaming in Tallinn (Talinn? Tallin?...), Estonia, back on EU soil... Nobody was too odd to me today. I got an excellent rollcount without even really trying. Had pleasant drill, I still enjoy those. ASAP applied some sunblock, grabbed the camera bag and offed to explore the Old town, which was Hensiatically picturesque and maze-like just as I appretiate them the most. I am running out of memory cards. Must invest in a hard drive. Got two postcards, one for one of the leaving shoppies, made of handmade paper full off seeds, so you can plant it after you've read it ... That was the awesomest thing on an awesome day. Called G, for a little bit. Walked a long while, took a shower, offed to work. The second amazing thing was that SLSB touched me for the first time ever, gently placing a hand on my shoulderblade to move me out of place... It was such a tender gesture I am now really worried about getting slaughtered in my sleep... Later I stood in the gallery for only three hours, had a nice salad diner (I am not eating much, yet it feels like I'm getting fatter again. Don't like it :/ ), offed to shoot British night. I am using different setting than those they told me to - I want to see if I get better results. Bumped into DOo on the way to the lab, sat down for drinks and talked again about sex and ships and mostly ships and some stuff about ships for an hour or so. I asked what would happen if I just walked away. He said he would be the one signing the papers to sack me. Other than that, it seems to happen way to often to make any impression on anybody. I said good, I would want it to be him. I always like the executioner to be someone I can haunt later. 

The sun sets really late around here. Takes about two hours to set, too. I miss swimming, I am tired of the Baltic, calm as it was, just for me. Afterwards sat down in the crew mess and edited the pickies of the day for Instagram, regardless of the crappy wifi. Am really quite tired, almost nausiated by fatique. Up for bazaar at eight tomorrow. Change of clock again, though I have no idea in which direction... Will just set it up for six and then call Guest Services to tell me, as I always do. 

Sitno >>188<<

Moved the off day to tuesday for this week, since nothing gets between a woman on her period and her chocolate, also ate yummy ginger noodles in the crew mess at midnight. Sorry for ignoring you/cheating on you, blog, with Instagram, but I just so like posting pickies :D #papershiplife 

The bazaar thingie was nice, I far prefer selling things in a ccrescent of a large room, in the company of my fellow shoppies, and I reckon we made about a grand and a half, with my best sell being five gift mugs, each a tenner. SLSB was all nervous about the setup, half about the money again and half because, you know, this was important, because chief officer might be coming by. Which is important, because the chief officer might be coming by. So I better do everything right. Because the chief officer might come by... Yees. I heard you the first seven times and knowing DOo, he couldn't give a rat's ass about some silly little souvenir sale, he just comes to chat with the pretty shop girls and a wink to the pretty cruise director and is off again, dealing with helicopter evacuations (had two medical emergencies within the last 15 hrs, though as he tells me, it's a Domino effect. I guess everybody wants to be hauled up on a thin steel line in the middle of an ocean, by the price of 30.000 grand per ride..).

Today, drizzly, is the last gangway, which for some reason I am not shooting, but we have so many by now anyway... We shot A LOT this cruise. The days were nice until now, events were cheerfull, most of the people were marginally inspiring. You get a couple of really cool ones every cruise. I painted a gift card for the leaving shoppie - the first use of watercolors since I got here. Am not sure when I will be told not to do so many non-food-related things in the mess.. In my defense, the light is best there. Now, at eight in the morning, I spoke to G before he goes to bed, had the last of my off day treats and washed the socks and undies. Will dress for rain now and head out. I should really buy some new clothes. Nothing fits me anymore and the things that do look really worn out. I have a lot of time to walk around, today. I've no money, really, about two and a half euros, and little space left on my memory cards. Course if an external hard drive costs a 100 bucks and you can get a computer for 250 around here... Dunno. I guess I have trust issues regarding computers. I have trust issues buying a second hand book, yet alone an old Apple. 

After noon
As per tradition, the last port of call is a melancholy one, gray and uninspired. I should be buying more postcards, but I kinda CBA. I should have gone to the museum, also, but I just walked around the park for an hour, taking in the giant chestnuts in bloom. I admire Poland for having their own thing going, not much influence from anybody, and I am sure the countryside is awesome and the capital is cute, but these vast streets are like my country twenty years ago, after a shock wave of Chinese merchendise. I took a couple of pics of cool graffity, since I always wanted to be a street artist of the can paint type, but never knew what to paint, really. Must be the old mural artist in my genes trying to have a say. 
On a mildly related matter, for some reason our bathroom isn't flushing. That can be a bit uncomfortable after a lot of apple juice. And I need a shower. Though cold, the air is unusally humid and polluted in this city. My roomie argued that wearing makeup is only bad if you live in a clean countryside - in a city like this, wearing makeup is the only thing that gets between your skin and unimaginable urban filth.

Sitno >>186<<

CRAP. Got sea sick yesterday again. And it was all of a sudden, too. We came out of the Kiel Kanal, at first I thought we just started hitting other ship's waves, but no. Up and down, left to right, all around we go. I took a pill soon enough, but having to photograph in the uppermost restaurant meant four flights of circular steps, which never helps, and then maneuvering around the tables in a too hot, too humid dinning setting, full of people eating fish. I barely made it to the toilet to lose diner. I dare not think what would happen if I threw up in a room full of already nausiated people. Got pricked in the bum again, not in a fun way. Now my ass hurts for all the wrong reasons. They gave me stronger pills and the less nice of the two nurses said that I should just take one in the morning regardless of what the sea looks like. That she's on that stuff all the time. The doctor just thought it was funny. Am considering buying those wrist band thingies, though those may be a bit pedestrian in my case. The other nurse said I should have gotten used to the sea by now. It's been two months. I cannot argue. On days like this I think working on a ship was not such a bright idea. 
I'll try not eating anything, see if it helps. Can't take tummyache pills now, either, concerned the two won't mix well, and I have period cramps. Another interesting last day coming up, it seems :D

I feel better, I even cheered up a bit, and all of it without coffee. Good job! Traditionally last day bazaars have been gloomy affairs, but today it was okay. DOo was cute: he materialised soundlessly, as he usually does, when I was rearranging the magnets on our display board. I felt someone standing right behind me, turned, and there he was, that stupid smug expression on his face. I laughed, said hi, what's up and that I found his little island on the map. (The map of the Baltic sea was still on the wall, if a day outdated.) He asked how did I get his address and I said a) I'm married to a detective, b) can google and when he applied for his pilot licence, they ran a background check which is public knowlege. He smirked and asked if I want to know something else. I said 'obvioustly'. He said: I also have a degree in engineering and a university degree in maritime economics and law. I blinked, said: okaaaay, I did not know that. Now you do, he replied over shoulder while walking away...

I do appretiate me some well-measured peacocking in a man :D 

So, the day was done, it wasn't too bad. Last evenings taste funny. Tired people packing, longing for home, but sorry to go. The afternoon six hours moved at pace, though not painfully so, and I did eat some light stuff, some normal food, yummy food, as the body seems to direly crave grease and salt, which I am not eating enough of. Also crave sweets like crazy, so I ate some deserts, if mostly fruity or diabetic stuff... My roommate won the 'employee of the month' award for her video work, which I thought was awesome, because she actually makes really good video and it is rare that a concessionist would be nominated at all. Perhaps because I have never met anyone who makes bad video, I assume that all the product of my agency is this good. Guess not. I also wondered why they don't have someone giving photography classes to the guests? I wouldn't mind trying to do that, at least until I ran into too many people insisting I should use that and that camera, that and that film, that and that developer and that and that style. You get A LOT of ninety year old dicks who try to throw you with conversations like 'do you ever use 6x6 Hasselbladt' for your pictures?' First of all, it's photos, not pictures, and second of all, we use crayons for ship photography, sir, as I really don't see the cost benefit of taking 10.000 snapshots of people eating who think their price of 6bucks50 is outrageous. 
Don't get into a technique discussion with me, man, I got up earlier than you did and I get paid in dumb customer comments for photos I would never sign my name under in the real world. 
Because we could be here all fucking day. 

Spoke to pumpkin after work, and the forty minutes of it was lovely, then three minutes of fighting because he's not walking the dog enough, and then a few more minutes of lovely. He is too fucking far away. I worry if he gets to work okay from a thousand miles away. That shit can drive you crazy.

Sitno >>185<<

Turnaround today. The ship is still and the weather is English. Will have no problem wearing winter stockings. If I just wear a ton of makeup over the tattoo, I leave greasy skin-toned smudges EVERYWHERE. Am lingering easily while waiting. Apologized to Paolo for not coming to his farewell party on account of vomiting all over the ship. Hate that he's leaving :/ Gave Vicky the drawing, we cried for a minute, then were okay again. Am back to wearing the skirt, which is now too big on me. 

Land manager coming to meet us in a few minutes. Not sure what to tell him. We haven't spoken since he tried to relocate me. What do I say? How do I seem? What do I tell him? Nothing. Be like Vicky. Playful, energetic, totally uninterested in the politics that makes these people grim. Find Hotz's preoccupation with my legs funny. Find the stockings comfy. Find the new wave of passengers curious and the stormy waves amusing. Find DOo and mock him about another ship related matter. Gods that man can park a ship in a hurry. Find another fun fact about the ship. (can I ask how one can break it to a full stop without getting flagged a lunatic? I am curious, tho - we have 200 people making sure it's running smoothly at any given time in any given weather... Can it be broken to a full stop?) .. Find the next favorite chocolate. (Mocca crispy holding the title so far.) Find another good book to read halfway through. Find the fucking correlation between the three ships in the first chapter of Dread already, damnit! This damn real life is really getting in the way of my fiction!


Tina said...

:) hej! I'll be with you in the evening,...only with reading, but it'll do for now :)