Thursday, June 29, 2006

We're in Port Klang, Malaysia now. Sabbath week has started, so no deck work - 8 hours watch tomorrow only, and that's it! Probably that's my last ever gangway watch. They still have me scheduled for watch with my team, but my new teamleader is trying hard to get me off that week of watch and straight into the job as waterman.

Sabbath week means we have seminars etc in the mornings, then afternoons are free. Monday is sports/general madness afternoon.

The speaker this morning gave away free books to everyone! He told us about the most important emphases in his life, then recommended about four books about each one . He had a table up the front where at the end each person could take any three they wanted. But there were quite a lot left over, so he said take as many more as we wanted. So I got 7!

I have the go-ahead to make the Doulos intranet website. We're getting new computers soon, and one of the old ones will be converted to a Linux server.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Slightly weird news is that I'm going to be waterman. Means no more work outside really, hardly any physical work either. No more gangway watch either, mind you. I start right after sabbath week. It's the job I didn't want as it means being on call in evenings, but for the next lot of ports, as they are quite developed, we should always have water from a main, rather than trucks, which is better. So I won't be on call all evening.

There are two watermen, the old one is leaving and I know the new one requested me about two months ago already. Then today I was told to work with him for the day, so I did, and then this evening the chief mate told me that as soon as sabbath week is over I will be the new waterman. It's a job I know I can do, and some of it will be interesting. Like doing all the key-repair/locksmith stuff, but yeah. I dunno.

The chief mate knows I don't really want to be waterman, and he knows I want to move to another department as well eventually. So he could have given me the job because they need someone, and it actually isn't that hard, and I'll be able to fill the second position until they find someone who wants the job. I'll enjoy the locksmithing part, as long as I can find some good books about it, and can get enough work time to do it in. I'll learn how to pick locks. And I'll have a slightly more flexible schedule than now.

Also I have the go-ahead to make the Doulos intranet computer system, which should be a fun diversion. So I will kind of have full internet access sometimes for a while, to do research and get the software I need and stuff.

Oh, and I'm playing tambourine with the gospel choir. Kind of fun, but utterly exhausting in the right arm after playing solidly for six minutes straight.

As waterman, I'll be able to play clarinet in my office, which is far away from everyone. I don't like playing in my cabin, as there are always watchkeepers in next door cabins asleep, or in my cabin, and it's hard to find other places which are free. I'm currently playing a lot in hold 1 which has so-so acoustics.

This is lovely lovely lovely Thai fruit, "rambutan". Tastes kind of like grapes, but without skin (once youve taken the outer layer off). So peeled grapes. One huge seed, but you dont eat it.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I'm spending a lot of this week on watch using my swiss knife and some twine to whip and finish lots of the book-exhibition ropes. They are all in horrible condition, although some have been finished off with back-splices, but not beautifully. Since the ropes have to be pushed through small holes in the stanchions to make lines for the people to walk, having them all thicker at the ends doesn't make it any easier... they look so much better whipped off. Some of the ropes have
frayed though some of the strands, so I'm having to re-lay them, and then perhaps tonight I'll splice the frayed ends togeather. It's something to do...

Monday, June 05, 2006

GREAT day 2 days ago... Plan was for morning planning/preparing, afternoon teaching drama and creative stuff to teenagers, a kids' programme after, and then a café on board in the evening where we would be waitering and stuff.

The drama was really really good. I got to basically run the whole thing, teaching drama, basics, games, etc. Kids loved it, really joined in, did so well. I hadn't realised how much I miss drama/theatre work though until then. I miss it a lot! Teaching drama is so wonderful.

Then the kids programme after that was v. disorganised, on a street corner. ok. kids enjoyed it, I think. Did the usual dramas, silly songs, etc.

Then as we got back to the ship to prepare for the café, (which I was not looking forward to. Normally I end up sitting at a table with two people who dont speak English, I don't understand their names, music is too loud for me to concentrate or understand anyway, and when after half an hour or so we begin to get a conversation going, before I can say anything they both leave. I dont enjoy...) one of the line-up people said to me,

"Are you free to come out? I need musicians!"

I said I was in the cafe, he said no problem, went and got me out of the café, and told me to get my clarinet. So I did, and we went to a café run by some local people. They are trying to make a new safe cafe/restaurant, where it isn't all cabaret and sex and stuff, but friendly, good music, and so on.

So we set up music stuff, and played for 2 or 3 hours. The other musicians were amazing too. One of them was a bassist who went to music college to study bass. Between sets, he started playing
"Amazing grace" ... he's THAT good! We did a bunch of Christian songs, English, French, etc. Then after that the bassist brought out "The jazz real book" and we played a few songs from that: Georgia on my mind, Moonriver, etc.

Lovely, lovely. Clarinet and bass go well togeather, I think. He said he may be able to teach me some jazz theory before he leaves (2 or 3 months!!), whcih would be really good. and also maybe I
should teach a standard music theory course, as many musicians on board have no theory at ALL.

So that was a really really really good day.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

We're in Phuket now (pronounced "poo-kett", in case you were wondering). It is SO beautiful. Both ports in India were coal ports, so the ship got really dusty and black, but here it is a tourist berth, and the landscape is like a tropical paradise from some Caribbean movie or something. Lovely. The people are really friendly too. I have not had a chance to go out yet, being on duty and really busy with dance practices and so on.

Yesterday we had an actual fire! Someone left a laptop on their bed coverings, and it overheated and started smoking and sparking. She had left the cabin, but one of her cabin-mates woke up because of the smoke, grabbed it and threw it on the floor. Someone phoned the ship's internal emergency number, and all of us in the control team came running to the firestation. We sent in the attack team dressed in full gear and everything. But thankfully someone had already put out the fire with an extinguisher. They reckon they may be able to rescue the hard disk, but I dunno.. We're just glad they were not injured.