Something a little different today. I just got this letter from a friend at sea. She is an amazing writer and I LOVE getting her emails! This one cracked me up because I got reprimanded for not boiling water long enough for tea in the Suez Canal too!! When we were in school we had code names that we used on walkie talkies when on the training ship. I was Pink Puma and she was Rubber Duckie. Thanks Rubber Duckie!! A Hoy Hoy Family and Friends, Salutations from “Sea-Hab.” It’s Betty Ford with 20 degree rolls and no Lindsey Lohan. Apart from reference to the crack whore in pageant make-up, the Western Mediterranean currently plays host to your author where she starts her rehab…uh-hum…email. As my desk chair sways with the continuous battering of beam seas and the smooth sounds of Ray LaMontagne waft in the background, I find this afternoon more reminiscent of a rainy, fall day in New England. The Cargo Planners were kind enough not to impede the view from my port hole, so I can stare longingly unto a thwarted horizon of thick stratus clouds and sheets of driving rain. I guess I could have saved time and carpel tunnel onset by saying, “I’m on a boat, and it’s raining.” Nothing compares to transiting the Suez Canal. A 20 hr transit through the desert with Egypt’s finest. It was 0540 as I hiked the steps to the bridge. Two decks below my destination, I was overwhelmed by a wave of Egyptian Old Spice and B.O….I was close. The fetid Egyptian was more reminiscent of the time Kirby got skunked behind the garden shed. Not only must we patronize these people to get them to do their job, but we must also feed and water them. They feel as though these services are owed to them, and they are very demanding. Though they are well versed with the English words “Marlboro” and “Coca Cola,” they have yet to master “Please” and “Thank You.”
Breakfast Time: Canal Pilot 1: “This tea isn’t hot enough. Water must be boiling.”
Me (Internal Monologue): “How about I pour it down your crotch? You may reconsider.”
Me (Real Time): “Sure.”
Canal Pilot 1: “I ordered four pieces of toast. There are only two!”
Me (Internal Monologue): “Listen up you fat manatee, by the looks of your waistline I feel you only need two.”
Me (Real Time): “Sure.”
As we continued our journey through the Canal, the pilot spent the majority of his time “talking” to his other Pilot friends via VHF or cell phone. I can only imagine the gossip was flying from the quantity of spit emitting from his mouth hole.
Canal Pilot 1: “Thwak, spit spit spit, Swack, spit spit, Tttthhhh, Hi-luk!” Translation: “Can you believe the bitch stole her Tupperware? Yeah…me neither.”
Later on, Mr. Pilot handed me the phone and told me his wife wanted to talk to me. Her English was far superior. I wanted to ask her if her husband ever hands his tea back to her. I refrained. Canal Pilot number two was far less agreeable than Canal Pilot number one. He and the Captain didn’t see eye to eye on many things. Mr. Pilot insisted our anemometer was broken (which it isn’t), and he complained when the Captain wouldn’t increase speed (we were a tenth of a knot away from the vessel ahead of us). The Pilot ratted on us, and we received a “nasty gram” from the Canal Authorities via SATCOM C stating we shall play nice...it is of the utmost importance. The Pilot was so disgusted with us; he refused to take his cigarettes. Victory! This brings us to the Red Sea. The weather has been so agreeable that I took in some Vitamin D on deck yesterday. I forget that white girls should use more sunscreen as my limbs pinked right up. Stick a fork in me…I’m done. The ship is preparing to set piracy watches this evening. The Somali Pirates have been extremely industrious in 2011 with at least 11 successful hijackings. We have reviewed our procedures to include our covert word if under duress. You speak the word within a sentence if you’re trying to gain access to a secure location while under duress (ex: Pirate has an AK-47 digging into your spine). I don’t know why, but they usually pick a word that’s absolutely impossible to place in a sentence.
Crewmember in duress: “Oh Shit. Fluffy Bunny? Fluffy Bunny…got into the life boat rations!!!”
Something like that…I also told the crewmembers if they say “Green Bay Packers” I wouldn’t let them in.
Well, I guess it’s time for me to get going. It appears the Second Engineer has been bitten by something from Arachnophobia in Hold 5. His upper arm has developed a softball size bruise with a hard, white center. Any ideas medical personnel? Hold 5 always harbors the really good bugs and rodents.
Fair winds and following seas,