Once again, I have hijacked the Captain’s E-Mail to bring you this
important update! We’re still three days or so out from NZ; still won’t
have access to my personal e-mail or anything of that sort till then.
Thursday, May 7th
Stayed up late last night for the first time in awhile. The Captain let
us borrow a DVD of his that contained both ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’
and ‘Guns of Navarone’ neither of which I’d seen. I enjoyed them both,
but thought Guns was a far superior movie. Bridge had some interesting
questions with the duty of captured officers and how doing a job makes
someone feel like a person, but aside from Alec Guiness I was
unimpressed with the acting and it suffers from that 50’s-and-early-60’s
cinema fault of random loud score moments. Nothing really happens, but
the score overacts. I hate that. Navarone, though, was fantastic. I
hadn’t seen Gregory Peck in anything but To Kill a Mockingbird and was
pleasantly surprised. Anthony Quinn, David Niven, and others were also
very good in the film. Dad’s tried to get me to watch that forever.
Last night was our halfway point in our journey. We are halfway to New
Zealand. We also passed the equator. The weather out went from chilly
in Long Beach, to warm and cozy, to hot and sticky. It’s starting to
cool off again already, thankfully. Still, shorts and sleeveless shirts
are the orders of the day for me. Indi has started writing a book, a
fiction book based on our travels. It’s an interesting project and
reads well so far. The only thing is she delves deep into writing and I
have to find something else to do, elsewhere on the ship. I spent a lot
of time in the lounge watching VHS tapes the last few days.
I’ve spent a lot of my trip thinking. I want to correct the wrongs I
see in myself and make myself into a better man. I don’t know
necessarily what that means yet but I want to have an open mind and see
what the world has to offer me. I’ve spent the last week in a ship with
limited personal contact with other people and have already felt a lot
of things inside of me resetting. This freighter was a good idea.
Earlier, I mentioned Indi started smoking again but didn’t really go
into it. It’s been tough for her; there’s not much on this ship to do,
so there’s a lot of time to think. She thought a lot about smoking.
There are several crewmembers that smoke nearby and a carton of
Marlboros on the boat is $15, whereas it’s close to $50 back home.
Duty-free and all that. So although I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t surprised
or even really upset. It’ll be easier for her when we’re mobile and
have other things going on to distract her. If I had anything to
complain about it would be that I wish she didn’t enjoy it so much.
Friday, May 8th
Star Trek is out and I’m in the middle of the ocean. Argh! It will be
a PRIORITY once we land. We get news updates once a day and they’re all
like, “Oh, Star Trek is about to come out, didn’t you know?” and I’m
like, “Of course I know!”
We’re entering the home stretch. The weekend is beginning and next
Thursday is our Final Day. Interestingly, we’ll be crossing the
International Date Line and we’ll entirely miss out on Tuesday. It just
simply won’t exist for us. Whoop! Gone. Once we’re ashore, I have a
good lot of pictures to upload. Probably take a good chunk of time to
Stargazing hasn’t been great; it’s been cloudy most nights (after
sunset, which is frustrating) and the clear ones have been blotted out
by the INSANE BRIGHTNESS of the moon! It’s as bright as the sun out
here! Blots out a lot of the stars. We’ve seen some good
constellations and now that we’re in the Southern Hemisphere I’m seeing
stars I’ve not ever seen before. The weather continues to cool a bit,
too, as we distance ourselves from the Equator. We’re nearish the Cook
Islands now (Samoa Time Zone) and I believe we’ll knock back one more
hour when we get near NZ. According the my iPhone, it’s 8:17 AM here
and is 3:17 PM back home, same day…but NZ is 7:18 AM tomorrow. So
we’ll go back two more hours, forward a day. Odd, but whatever works.
It’s been seamless so far.
I’ve been bouncing back and forth from headache/nausea/heartburn the
last few days. I took some Excedrin the other night for a headache and
didn’t drink enough water, so it gave me severe heartburn of doom that’s
been hanging on for a few days. I’ll try to make today a good one.
OH, I almost forgot! I was listening to some Neil Diamond yesterday
(Chief Engineer had an ‘Essential Neil Diamond’ collection of like 40
songs. I don’t think they quite get the meaning of the word
‘Essential’) and listened to some of my favorites. Gotta be in a
specific mood, but I do like some of his stuff. Suddenly. my heart
leaps. A song comes on that I forgot existed. Back in 1989, when our
Ford Aerostar mini-van was new, I used to listen to the little sample
tape that came with it. My favorite song on it was, ‘Headed for the
Future’. Some time ago I overwrote that information and replaced it
with, ‘Coming to America’. As soon as this song started, I realized my
grave error and that this song was, indeed, the one from the tape. I
danced around and grinned like a madman. Indi didn’t understand, but
that’s okay…we’re headed for the future.
Saturday, May 9th
We’re just a few days away from everything changing again. As different
as freighter travel is from our time on the road and in Mexico, so will
our time in New Zealand be from our time on the freighter. Right now we
still have some creature comforts and know where food and bed is every
night. That’s about to change. Plus we’ll be lugging those backpacks
around full time. I’m guessing we’re in for as much of a shock next
week as we were last week.
Yesterday marks the first day since leaving that I deliberately didn’t
try a new meal. Lunch was some crazy fish-eggs-mushroom casserole that
I just couldn’t bring myself ot try. The very smell of it reintroduced
nausea to my body and I just couldn’t do it. My new foods list has a
lot on it, and internally I told myself, “Hey, it’s okay, you’ve tried
LOTS of new things…it’s ok to skip this one.” But I felt bad
afterwards and am keenly aware that I won’t always have that option.
Oh, right, one other thing…I got a haircut yesterday. The 2nd mate
(Alex) has some hair trimmers and I asked him to give me a trim. He did
very well, cut my hair evenly at an 8 (longest trimmer setting) all the
way ’round. His English is better than the Chief Officer. Turns out
Alex was in the Navy in the USSR just before the fall and has been on
cargo ships for thirteen years. Really nice guy. Anyway, he sees a
final bit of hair at the front to trim and goes for it. BZZT.
Everything stops. Indi, who is watching ahead of me, clasps her hand to
her mouth and her eyes widen signifigantly. Alex, who has been talking
joyfully, is silent except for a, “Hmm…” It seems he had somehow
accidentally moved the clippers from an 8 to a 1. “We fix it, ya? No
problem,” he says as I am further shaved. I now look like a fresh Army
recruit. I still scare myself everytime I see me in the mirror. Ah,
well, it’s a good story anyway. The hair will grow back. And there is
the added bonus that I look ~hilarious~.
Sunday, May 10th
It’s Brad’s birthday! Happy Birthday Brad!
Bacon and eggs this morning. I took my Dad’s advice and asked for my
scrambled eggs burned (he had to do this in Portugal to get them in a
stable condition) and they turned out great. I also relayed my love of
breakfast cereals and attempted to explain the new concept in America of
a ‘cereal bar’ to the Captain, to which he was unimpressed. “Who’d eat
cereal at any other meal?” he says. Bah, I still think it’s a good
idea. Maybe I’ll run into one in Europe or something.
I have continued my pattern of period film watching. Watched Shawshank
Redemption (my favorite, yeah!) and The Aviator, which I liked so much
that I watched it a second time with Indi. Very well put together film,
as I should expect from Scorcese.
Tonight we have a BBQ with the crew. Should be fun! Then it’s Monday,
Wednesday, and Thursday before we’re in NZ. Captain says we may run
into three meter swells near our port, which is ridiculous. The boat’ll
be a rockin’ for sure.
(still not used to my chia hair)