The Ether of Flaam

11 Jun

Today we are anchored in Flaam, another on of those beautiful agglomerates of mountain, forest, and mist-covered waters that the maker has dropped in the North Sea to ensure that Norway will forever remain the scenic center of Europe. Well, it worked, and I am jealous of that half of the team that has the morning off. As I know those scam bags, they are probably still in bed, fending off their head ache from last night. Doesn’t matter. FLAAM!

Five of us have a different task this morning. Fleet Manager Kosmos has set a new task for photo manager Ash: dedicate a significant portion of every work week to equipment maintenance. Since Ash wishes to keep his job, he set us the task of cleaning out the photo locker, and cleaning the poles that we use to fix the photo backdrops. Both are tasks that would be obsolete, if my team members were taking any reasonable amount of care with the equipment we have. But, as it stands, we will compensate for their laziness by spending the better part of the morning indoors, in view of Flaam.

Clouds of Myst in Flaam, Norway

Clouds of Myst in Flaam, Norway


Pushing some order into the equipment locker actually takes less than thirty minutes, so before long the five of us are bent over the thirty photo poles, trying to figure out how to effectively remove half a century of glue and grime from those thick aluminium pipes. After several attempts featuring blunt kitchen knives and fuzzy paper towels Jennifer surrenders to the dirt, and seeks professional help. When she returns from the bowels of the unmoving ship she produces a bucket of soapy water, a couple of sponges, and a glass bottle containing some volatile cleaning solution. So, off we go on our cleaning quest, for which every single one of us feels heavily overqualified.

An hour later we are still engaged in the task at hand, but all of us are in a much better mood than when we started this enterprise. Maybe that’s because someone opened the double doors to the gangway, so that we can at least see the beauty of Flaam from a far distance, instead of hearing about it from randomly passing guests. Ash actually opened those doors after realising that the cleaning solution that Jennifer procured gives everyone a headache who just breathes in the vicinity of the photo poles.

After two hours our cleaning efforts very slowly start to bear fruit, and a general happiness has descended upon the team. Everybody is rolling on the floor laughing, which must be a wonderful sight for the manager, who declares the exercise to be successful, and celebrates the day by inviting us for coffee at one of the desolate corner shops of the ABC RypMeOff. We gladly accept, still rolling in the general bemusement that expels from the bottle of cleaning ether.


Misty mountains and a hotel in Flaam, Norway

In Flaam, even the hotels looks cute.

Since this is our only stop in Flaam I make it a point to leave the congregation of ether victims early, so as to use the three hours remaining until the start of my photo shift. I’m so desperate for a great view that I even skip the lunch buffet for an extended hike through the mountains of Norway. Both the headache and the induced happiness fade away quickly, but I have hopes that this might remain the only scheduled disruption of my port mornings along this cruise.

If you are thirsting for beautiful pictures of Flaam, you should head over to the gallery, which is filled with pretty impressions:

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