Peace in solemnity

9 Jun

Freedom! Almost!! Oh man, there’s so much still to do, but for the first time in a month I can actually sleep, snack, work, and write in my own cabin.

It took him a long time, but my cabin mate Pancho has finally moved out. He spent most of yesterday shoving boxes and laundry piles from one corner of our tiny cubby hole to another. Despite having packed his suitcases yesterday it took him some five hours to prepare his departure this morning. Luckily, I shot the new passengers at embarkation all morning, and did not personally experience Pancho’s festival of item shifting.

In the early afternoon I had a four-hour window for the exploration of Hamburg; in a way. The first and most obvious obstacle is the transportation from port to city, which takes up some thirty minutes, but at least I can use the ABC Shuttle Bus for that purpose. Now add fifteen minutes of waiting time until the bloody bus is actually filled up with precious living cargo, count in the walking distances between parking lot and gangway, and you arrive at nearly ninety minutes of spare time. Those I spent searching for shops that offered affordable alternatives in deodorant and socks, because both I need to fulfill my duties. I found both, but since this is the first time in ten years that I visited Hamburg, it took me way longer than what feels appropriate. Anyway, I acquired enough stuff to survive my remaining time aboard, however short that period might be.

Hamburg town hall

Hamburg is a pretty city

This was also the first time I got to shoot passengers during the mandatory emergency drill, presumably because our “team” is currently two members short. Or because the new photo manager wants to use my work force more efficiently. Either reason sits well with me, ‘cause I was pretty bored with my schedule so far.

Anyway, Evacuation Drill! All newly arrived passengers are required to experience one drill before we leave port; a sensible regulation that resulted from that traumatic incident at the Costa Concordia. Our bold Italian captain sounds the alarm, and all passengers, willing or not, have to make their way to their rescue points, and don their life jackets.

Then, a sneaky cruise photographer jumps out of the shadows, and takes a picture of the freshly rescued passenger. This is actually fun. The guests are still new to the cruise experience, and are ready to engage in these playful photo opportunities. They do not yet know that we will approach them three times more before the sun sets over the North Sea, and they have no idea that one photo print costs more than does a light meal in one of our restaurants.

Hamburg retains that "Merchant of Venice" charme

Hamburg retains that “Merchant of Venice” charme

Oh, blessed be the young and inexperienced! Maybe these new responsibilities will invigorate my dull experience aboard, and propel my interest in the job to new heights. I certainly feel much less constrained, now that I can sleep and work in my cabin whenever my schedule permits, not when my grumpy crew mate feels like allowing such luxury. Having a bath room that does not stink like an ash tray is a huge bonus.

On top of all that we have a new manager. Ash Ketchum is a big, jolly fellow from the Southern part of the Eurasien continent, and against all odds he seems determined to work with us, instead of having us work for him, as was the work ethic of our previous manager. Who knows, I may yet stay for the full duration of the contract, and get promoted to a salary level above that of a cargo rat. For the moment I shall lay back, relax, and reenergize in the comfort of my own cabin.


If you’d like to bask in the beauty of Hamburg, here is a pretty photo gallery:

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