Thursday, April 9, 2009


So, I've neglected the blog in favor of a little work and sleep since arriving a few days ago.  How I got here follows, if the title of the post makes no sense...wrote this along the way, last week...

"I'm somewhere 37,000 feet above the African plains.  I've not slept in 48 hours, but am hopeful that I'll find a place to lay my head in Luanda in another 8 hours, or so.

Spent 4 hours in Minnie.  Did the usual, Chinese food, a hunk of gourmet chocolate from the Godiva-type store and a smoke down by the buses between C and G terminals.  Counted 223 laps around the plane while the rest of the cattle slept. 

London Heathrow was old, dirty and smelled bad.  I don't think that the current and massive upgrade it's receiving will be enough.  Some corridors are like caves and while things generally go smoothly there, I sometimes wonder why I hate Paris and Charles De Gaul so much.  At least it doesn't smell.

As I flew into Lison, Portugal I spent some measure of time taking it in through the window.  The city and countryside were beautiful.  The city only lost that apeal in the last 100 feet before touchdown, when a McDonald's flashed past and the spell was broken.  Sorry Lisbon, but you are now no different than Detroit, or Cleveland.

After reaching my connecting gate in Lisbon, I found there was no place to smoke.  Had to sneak backwards along my route until I found immigration and entered the country, proper.  Then, I was able to roam free, smoke and find some wonderful espresso.  Met an old crew mate from another ship when I returned to my gate.  We took off about two hours ago and now the entire plane is sleeping.  I was the only one awake (again) on my last lap around the plane.  Now, I'm finally ploughing through some music that I acquired last trip.  Six thousand songs, spanning 58 years of music, sorted by year.  Not sure how to re-sort it into artist like the rest of my collection:(  Shit, my laptop battery is just about dead-time to switch.

Well, My other battery was also totally dead.  So much for preparedness at crew-x.  I also neglected to bring my universal power adapter and was unable to charge my batts in the hotel in Luanda.  It took 4 hours of sitting in a small, roped-off area of immigration to clear into the country, despite having a work visa.  Then came 2 hours of sitting on the curb outside the airport, followed by two hours of driving around the ruin of Luanda.  It was only four short years ago that the last bloody revolution ended here and it shows in the raw poverty and bullet-scarred buildings and rubble that is most of this city.  Endless miles of red dirt, shanty towns, hovels, tents and caves.   I ended up alone at a hotel that turned out to be first-class, except for the service.  None of the staff spoke English, making even the simple tasks a study in mime and stick drawings.  Speaking loudly and slowly even though I knew they couldn't understand a word.  The usual responses were things like, "ELVIS!",  "COKE!", and "OBAMA!"...

Anyway, I spent a night of mime and drawings of kokepelli drinking a fucking beer in a rather fine hotel and then the morning, trying to track down somebody in this country that knew what I was supposed to do this morning.  I was eventually picked up by a bus, reunited with a couple of my crew and dropped off at Sonil Base on the docks, where I am once again caged like a fucking animal.  One of the navigators had her universal power adapter and I'm now plugged in as I sit in the cage.  Yes, the cage has outlets.  Some guy who earlier took my passport has returned it along with a small box of food.  I was rewarded with expired yogurt, a bruised apple, a dodgey sort of muffin that smells like ass and a warm, dirty can of Coke Zero.  Damn glad I brought a liter of bottled water.  It will have to get me through the day here in the cage.  Hopefully before dark, the supply boat will show up to ferry me out to the ship-a trip of some 24 hours, if I remember correctly.

So, I pass the time caged like an animal, rating the 6,000 songs, as I've decided that I will never be motivated enough to actually create artist and album directories for that many songs.  Hopefully, some time in the next 24, I'll be aboard my ship.


After four hours I was let out of the cage and driven down the quay to a waiting supply ship.  There I met my opposite and got a 2-minute hand over.  Basically, I was told all my shit is running on autopilot and I had better get my ass out to the ship.  He split and I went in search of a berth.  This supply ship has three, small containers sitting on the open back deck.  Inside each are a series of metal bunk beds, just like prison.  At the end of each 8-bunk cell is a very small head (toilet) and shower.  The shower head is broken off in the one the chief gunner and I commandeered.  Slept for 18 hrs straight and feel human after 10 cups of shitty instant coffee from South Yemen.  I'm in the boat's dayroom watching some asinine movie while charging my spare laptop battery and wishing I was anywhere but here.  The Chief Mate just came in to let us know that we'll be on station in another 3 hours and should begin the personnel transfers an hour after that.  It has been four, long fucking days.  Next stop-a bigger ship...."

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