CRUISE – Le Havre

1 May

While the ABC RypMeOff is fastened in the only French port town along this route the weather is cold, and rainy, and windy, and overall unpleasant. I guess this is the kind of weather one should expect from rude France, especially on a holiday. (I will never understand how people justify not to work on Labour Day.) More remarkably, there are barely any people in the streets. Except for a few cruise tourists Le Havre seems void of human life. It feels like the zombie apocalypse is already here. The only thing missing are cars burning in the streets, and an angry mob demanding the head of some politician (and/or footballer). That is one great French tradition that we have been spared today.

Thanks to the cold rain I feel rather glad to return to work early. Lucky that, because today our manager hosts a training session for the whole photo department. For ninety minutes we stand in front of the canvas, posing the assistant manager, and photographing him. He shows us how to bend the knees without tripping passengers, how to pose people without little body contact, and how to frame the photo to adhere to company standards.

As theoretically interesting as all that might seem, it is of little help with the three elderly couples that stumble into my studio tonight. No matter how I arrange them, as soon as I put my hands to the camera they slump back into their starting position. Like a pile of potato mash the old peeps can easily be bent into funny shapes, but always fall back into a standard lump once you try to picture the result.

Le Havre crêpe shop

Le Havre crêpe shop on a rainy day.

Safety training #3 is very relaxing, because no instructor shows up. Thus, I have half an hour extra to read, and reflect on my own misery.

Today’s schedule is not only full of the usual spelling mistakes that I have come to expect from our Rumanian manager, it also bears a special motto in the bottom line: “Rumors are carried by haters, spread by fools and accepted by idiots…” I think it is safe to say that someone dug out some irritating half-truths about our manager, and he heard them only after they were filtered through his long-reaching network of manager friends.

The photo manager reminds me more and more of my old Chinese landlord – permanently stressed out, and full of paranoia. He even has the same hair cut, and the same annoyingly loud voice. And an extraordinarily great percentage of four-letter words in his conversational repertoire.

port sight of Le Havre, France

Part of the yacht port of Le Havre. Probably looks prettier on a sunny day.

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