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33- video post

Today is officially the 3/4 done mark.  I only have 33 days left and I can taste it. 

Here are a couple of videos taken from the storm we went through, not really crazy stuff, but kind of cool.

http://goo.gl/FIvVZ

This is Rachel (or RayRay because there is another Rachel) she is attempting to climb the stairs to deck 14 to get in clear air.  You will notice the fabulous camera work.  The wind was so strong and gusty that I couldn’t keep the camera steady.

http://goo.gl/Kk6j4

This one I took mostly on deck 11 forward.  There is a door in the spa where you can get to a section of the boat that is normally closed off in bad weather and it is one deck above the bridge, so they can’t see you there unless they are checking the CC-tv.  I point the camera at me a couple of times which was a mistake only because I really like the blue of the sky and the sea that comes from it being pretty dark combined with the howl of the wind. 

http://goo.gl/Z9As5

I woke up early the morning after we went through that low pressure system off Cape Hatteras and as we were travelling North and my cabin is on the starboard side I got to see the sunrise and with the colors of the sunrise combined with the blue and white of the sea along with the clouds, thought it was actually quite mesmerizing.   I think this needs an ambient track behind it because obviously the way I was holding my phone amplified my breath sounds and even though I was just breathing normally, the damn mic pics it up.  You can just pretend that it is wave noise from outside, which is what I thought it was at first.

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January 24, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

35- Storm

I am on a manager’s list for email and as such I get all the general annoncements about schedule and ratings and heavy weather.  Just about every trip back to Baltimore, there is an email from the Captain saying that the weather conditions could deteriorate as we head north and the corelation between getting this email and actual heavy weather, in my experience, is weak. 

I’m pretty sure it is a CYA thing so that in the event of heavy weather, if you didn’t batten things down and something happened then there is someone to hold responsible. 

So when I got the email yesterday, I didn’t think anything about it.  Now at this point between the title of the post and this lead-in, I’m pretty sure you can see where this is going, but bear with me.  Didn’t think a thing about it, until I got the follow up.  This wasn’t from the captain, it was from the staff captain.  The captain is the general manager for the ship and the staff captain is the general manager for everthing else, hotel, F&B and crew.  It was pretty much a repeat of the first one and caught my attention about as much. 

Then, as I was finishing up with my last few patients, the wind started to pick up and the seas started to grow a bit.  This was nothing we haven’t been in before and no one freaked out about it last time or the time before that.  We have had really placid seas for the last several cruises so even 12 foot waves quickly became the topic of conversation for the passengers and the crew.  As I was hanging out in my cabin, someone knocked, it was the head of security asking me to put the cover over my porthole, to literally batten down the hatch.  We have never been asked to do that before.  This could get good.

And then we hit the front.  One of the cool things about being on the sea is that you can see weather coming from a long ways away and there looming in our path were some really angry clouds.. just waiting for us.  When we hit it, it was like going trough a curtain, where one side was windy and the others side was angry.  I love rough weather and one of the things I love the most is getting out in it.  Since I had finished for the day, I ran to get my shell and went to the highest deck and the farthest forward I could get.  I have been in about 60mph winds before on the ship, so I have a sense of what that feels like, these were really different, very gusty and shifty.  I felt kind of like you were a rag doll getting beat up.  Just as soon as you felt like you had your footing, something would hit you from 90 degrees off where the last gust was.  I talked to one of the bridge guys and he told me he had just come off the bridge and it was blowing 60knts.  Ummm that is 70mph  That is a force 11 on the beaufort scale, one below Hurricane.  IT WAS AWESOME!  I went out several times to a place in the front of the ship and almost one by one took some of the spa girls with me.  They didn’t really want to go out alone and as each one of them came back saying that it was awesome, more wanted to go. 

Each time we are in heavy weather it feels a little different.  It depends on what direction the wind is coming from, what direction the waves are coming from (not always the same) and what direction you are traveling in that mix.  Last night was the first time I had ever felt the ship shake like that.  Most of the time it feels like a rolling or bobbing, but last night felt like the ship was being grabbed by the bow and shaken.

The captain just made an announcement about the weather last night and said that we had breaking waves as high as the anchors.  The anchors are probably 40 ft off the calm waterline.  I slept right through it, like a baby being rocked to sleep.  Bring it winter.

January 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

36 Day in the life part 1

So often I post things here about hanging out at the beach and parties.  I don’t post the mundane things about ship life.  So here goes and I think this would be better in pictures.

Dental Hygiene is very important, gotta start your day right.

Here is where I catch my ride to work.  My cabin is down on the deck 3 and my office is on deck 12.  Unless I am going to work out, I take the elevator, which is usually full of guys from the laundry moving linen around.  If you are lucky sometimes you can squeeze in between bags of the clean and dirty linen.  On the bright side, my communte is mostly about 3 mintues.

This is the view out of my office today.  He look! We are in Key West again. 

Gezzus… MY EYES!!!!  Ahhhhh it is bright.  Oh shit, what was that over the PA system?… oh ya, Key West =

Fucking Boat Drill.  This is me at my muster station.  I have emergency #24 which is guiding guests, so I have to go to the cova cafe and help people get to where they are going.  Then the emergency siren sounds to tell you it is time to evacuate the boat.  What do I do then, you would guess haul ass to my lifeboat, but no.  We stay in position to continue to guide guests.  When we are told, over the loudspeaker, that it is our time then we go here:

This is me in my evacuation station.  I stand here with a bunch of other people and wait for the saftey guys to do their things.  We are all basically props in their drill, but they need bodies and we are it.  Although during this boat drill a woman came up to me and said, “Thank you for doing this drill, I appreciate what you go through to keep us all safe.”

Dumbfounded.  No idea what do say, “what, you mean this bullshit drill?”  No that wouldn’t work.  ummmm, “Are you batshit crazy?”  Probably not.  “Thank you.  No one has ever thanked me for doing this.”  Ya, go with that.

So she says and keep in mind this lady was at least 100 years old, “I’m ex-military and I know how boring drills are but it is really important for the fire crews and the everyone manning life boats.  You don’t want to have to think about how to do things in an emergency, it has to be second nature.. but is isn’t always fun and ultimately what you are doing leads to saved lives if something happens, and I appreciate it.”

I wanted to punch her in the face for making me seem so petty for bitching about boat drills.  Save lives?? You mean it isn’t just a mandated exercise that looks like this:

This is the crew preparing to get in life boats, or standing around pretending to prepare to get in life boats.  The guys standing up high are there to extend and retract the life raft davits and the guy walking down the middle is here to inspect us for not looking bored. 

Ok , that is day in the life the boat drill version.  Next up I think will be the food version.

January 21, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

36 yesterday in Nassau

I have never been to a beach in Nassau.  Typically when I have time off here I go to a bar and have a couple of Kalick golds and get frustrated by how slow the internet is.  But a bunch of people were going to a beach and I thought that, having the afternoon off and no patients later that a couple of beers on the beach would be nice.

One of the guys going is the shore excursions manager and we asked him to suggest a good beach.  He did, but no one listened.  They all wanted to go to the beach at Altlantis which is a big hotel.  He told us that it is the worst beach in the Bahamas but when spa girls make up their minds about something experience and logic need not apply. 

That beach was a short cab ride from the ship and almost as long a walk from where we got dropped off.  The sand was nice and white, pretty sure they truck in that sand, but maybe I am wrong. 

So the beach chairs were over priced $10, in St Maarten (a much nicer beach) you can get two chairs an umbrella and a bucket of beer for $20, $15 if you negotiate. 

A can of Kalick was $5.00, Geez you gonna kiss me first?  But the winner was the coconuts.  You can get a coconut filled with your favorite drink, Pina Colada (I tasted someones and it was disgusting) or some other sort of rum concoction, but you get 4 refills for $20.  I didn’t get one, but as you can guess that from the people who do, they pass the nut around to see if anyone else can taste the alcohol.  No one can.  When you complain, they tell you to go up to the “guy” and ask for something stronger.

One of the girls did just that and she said it was a little better and then she kept going back… and back.. and back and before you know it, well let me back up.  This girl is from Sweden and I don’t know if everyone from Sweden can drink like this or if she is a special case.  She however has a tell.  It is a drunk tell, and when she is drunk she sings a little song.  Du du dudo do, there is a rhythm to it I can’t really do here in print, but when we hear it we know what is coming next.  Yes, you guessed it, beach wrestling guys. 

So far 3 of us have taken her on, Roy, sorry to say, has one in the loss column, Miguel was surely a draw (part of me thinks he kept it going so long just to keep the wrestling going) and I, yes me, was decisively a victor.  I couldn’t take her gloating and decided to pin her to the sand with a headlock.  Now before you get all, geez Dave she’s a girl.  You don’t understand, she is from Sweden, they grow them differently there, more sinew, leverage.. maybe beach wrestling is compulsory in school there, but before you judge, just know she has a wake of bodies in her path and I wasn’t going to be one of them.

Ok, so the best thing about this beach was that… hmmm how to put this.  David Cross has a great bit about different voices.  There is the gay voice, that lispy lilty voice that not all gay men have but only gay men have and he compares it to the redneck voice that seemingly would identify those with it from a particular area.  Say rural Georgia, but as it turns out the redneck voice seems to be everywhere… including this beach. 

The Bahamas seems to be where people from trailer parks in Georgia go to party on the beach and…. and they are, or seem to be the prime demo for the show Jersey Shore.  I saw more guys, unironically, dressing and acting like their favorite characters from that awesome bit of TV.  I saw a couple of guys on more than one occasion ape the “Situation” and I heard the word Bumpit about 8 times, including a time when one woman was teasing another’s hair for a picture so she would look like she had this magic hair accessory.  They were unbelievably trashy, rude and very drunk.  At least when I get drunk at the beach, (well, if I got drunk on the beach) I would at least have some class.  Enough to keep my beach wrestling to a minimum.

January 21, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

39- I have crossed over into the thirties.

Everyone seems to get really excited about Miami.  They all want to get off the ship and go shopping or to a beach but not me and let me tell you why. 

1.  The port security here is insane.  Nowhere else do we see the kind of crazyness that happens here.  We are only allowed to get off the ship in windows of time, usually the half hour at the top of the hour.  We have to be back 2 hours before we sail and instead of just dealing with our security we have port immigration onboard, like we do in no other American port.  I’m not going to stand in line for an hour just to go see Miami.

2.  Corporate headquarters are here, right on the dock, so as you can imagine, when we dock everyone’s manager or corporate overseer comes on board to inspect what is going on.  This reminds me a bit of a joke I just saw.  My guess it that this has been around the block a bit, but I will retell it anyway.

There is a guy in a hot air balloon and he is lost.  He sees someone down on the ground and lowers himself to ask for help.  He say to the guy on the ground, “Hey, I need your help, I am lost and trying to meet up with a friend for lunch, where am I?”  The guy takes about 10 minutes to answer and says, “You are in a hot air balloon at precisly these coordinates, moving at 2 knots with a heading of 190 degrees.”  The guy in the balloon says, “Wow, you must be an engineer.”  “Why yes, I am.  How did you know?” says the guy on the ground.  “Well you took forever to answer the question and while you were techincally correct in everything you told me, your answer does me no good and as a result of asking you I am now even later than I would be and you still haven’t been any help to me.”  The man on the ground says, “You must be a manager.”  “Well, that is right , how did you know?” says balloon boy.  The man on the ground replied, “Because you don’t know where you are or where you are going, you have made promises to people you couldn’t possibly keep and now because you asked me a question, somehow this is all my fault.”

This is how I pretty much feel about corporate management.  So no beach, no line to get off, and if I meet up with anyone in a hot air balloon, I will just blow more hot air at them.

January 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

42 4 more cruises and that is that

This is going to be more of a pictures post.

http://goo.gl/f0pHM

That is a video of a steel cage steel drum band that was two carts long and was making the carts jump.  It was so loud that close and really quite a sight.

We were leaving St Thomas at Sunset and caught this guy hovering over the land.  The picture is good, but it was really something in person.

This was a little beach bar at Frigate Bay in St Kitts.  Real low-key beach, nice water and fun times with other crew members

This is Joliene on deck 7 during our crew only sail away party.  You can see the sail away snack of choice in her hands… Doritos and Ray behind her has the beer of the day which on that day was Corona

Joliene and Lauren on deck 7 during sail away party after St kitts.  They are both from South Africa and both from the same town Johannesburg and in fact had met briefly at a party, but only realized it when they couldn’t get over the fact that they both seemed so familiar to each other once they were both on board.  Small world eh?

This was our view from deck 7 during our little sail away party.  That was a truly spectacular way to end what I would like to say was a fun day at the beach, but was really just a couple of hours on the beach and a couple of hours on deck. 

I told Jenny I should do  a series of photos of the things that go on around here that are not fun.  That should be pretty easy.

January 15, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

43 I was writing a blog there… and then.. I wasn’t

I sort of dropped off the face of the sea there for a while, but I’m back.  I guess things got pretty routine.  I used to post some interesting things about pedicabbing on my facebook in short stories and I got a lot of really good feedback, but it looks like there was a change in my mindset and things just became uninteresting or too much trouble to write about.  So here is the quick and dirty on what has been going on here.

Xmas- not that bad.  I thought it would be a time of melancholy and missing friends and family.  Turned out that I was too busy to notice it was Christmas because I had 10 treatments and a seminar and 2 consults.  Oh ya and there was a raucous party on Xmas eve so I was running a bit ragged…lack of sleep and all.  Not surprisingly New Year’s eve also got a big out of hand for a lot of folks. 

A very cool thing happened in St Croix when we were there last.  It turns out that they know how to have a good time and they do it by celebrating Xmas and new year’s well into the new year and they day we were there was one of the big days of celebrating and there was a huge festival right by the port. 

I was off until 3:00 and decided to walk down to the rainbow beach bar to have a burger, but no beer as I had patients in the afternoon.  On the way I ran into one of the shop guys and a couple of dancers and the girl from the pair of acrobats and they were all having a good ole time on a beach were there was no one else and they asked me to join them.  The beach was perfect, the water was crystal clear and just cool enough to be refreshing, so we hung out for a while, then a few of them decided they would follow me to Rainbow, which was closed for the festival.  Bugger, now we are walking back and decided to get some food from the vendors there.

Here is the cool thing, the vendors there.  We walk up and they have grilled chicken skewers, right, no big deal, but they were delicious and we see this guy juicing sugar cane with this machine and as a group wander over to see what is up.  He was also selling coconut water.  I’m in for that, sugar cane way too sweet.  So I order it and he grabs a coconut and lops one end off, puts a straw in it and hands it to me.  What no cup no ice.  Fine.  I was amazing, then I asked if I could use his machete to open the nut to get to the meat and he told me yes, IF I knew how to use it.  phhhtt Its a fucking knife old man, stand aside while I show *you* how to use a machete.   About 12 hacks later, he had had enough and grabbed another coconut and showed me that I was making a rookie mistake in that I was chopping across the bias, he had the thing open in two hacks.

Now, the whole reason I wanted to open it up, was to get to the meat, except for one thing, immature coconuts (the ones with the water) don’t have meat they have jelly.  Which he pointed out, then cut a bit off the husk and said, “and there is your spoon to eat the jelly.  The jelly make you strong man, make good babies.”

So the four of us started to gobble it up all of its white creamy warm jellyness.  One of the dancers took a bite and had some stuck on her lips, she traded a knowing glance with one of the other dancers and started to giggle.  Ok, I get it, all of our minds were in the gutter right then, because yes, there was an element that made this look like 4 people huddled around a coconut full of semen and spooning it up.

Then this other old guy comes over and says to me, “You know what that do, ya?  It make you fuck ALL (emphasis his) night long and then sleep like a baby.”  And then he smiled a grin that was about 3 teeth short of a smile.

Ok, what is next.. yes the sugar cane juice.  One of the dancers was going to get some and let us try it.  It was amazing but too sweet for me, what it really needed, in fact, begged for was to be cut with rum, so for $3usd the guy poured in about a cup of rum and that did the trick… I took one sip.  whoa!

Next. Across the way we ended up at a place for more food and they had an assortment of juices, none of which I had ever heard of, so spin the wheel of ignorance and …….. carombola juice it is.  It was one of the most delicious things I have ever had.  Like a very subtle banana flavor with a touch of peach and vanilla, not too sweet, went down very nicely.  I ordered a chicken roti which was described to me as curried chicken and potatoes in a wrap… OK

But there were more juices to try.  Now what?  Well it has come to my attention that I do not remember the name of this drink but was told it was made with cane sugar and a boiled root.  Sounds right up my alley I was also told that it would clean me right out, whatever that meant.  I asked if they meant like a liver cleanse or something and I was told yes, like that.  Well is wasn’t like that at all they meant strong laxative and it gets this effect from being a strong stimulant.  I felt so good, couldn’t stop talking… top of the world.  Good stuff.  Just make sure you are close to a bathroom. 

Other than that the days have been pretty routine.  I got the chance to head to the beach with some friends in St Kitts where we bought a bottle of vodka so we could drink on the beach by just buying juice from the beach bars.  That was a fun couple of hours, perfect weather, good friends and it turns out that Ting and vodka is quite good. 

It was a bottle of Rum on St Maarten and a different group.  Sun and fun and booze make for early nights, except when they don’t and when they don’t the party keeps right on going on what we call 7 forward.  This is the crew outside area in the front of the ship away from the prying eyes of passengers (except the ones with forward facing cabins who have a great view of us)  This is where we do our sail away party with six packs of beer from the staff bar and usually bags of Doritos or Lays.  These go on as long as they need to but usually they don’t end until after sunset which is just in time to get a bite to eat in staff mess and then plan the rest of the night. 

This is the fun part of being on the boat.  The part that looks like you are on vacation when you put the pictures on facebook.  Not the meetings and the selling and the seminars and the boat drills and the extra special deep clean that is going on tomorrow so people can’t get off to take care of some business in Baltimore, but those things don’t make it onto facebook.

January 14, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments