I miss Ramadan

24 Jun

Ramadan is over. Too bad, I was just getting used to the loads of food that my Muslim friends shared around the table each night. Well, I am a well-trained academic; I know where to get more food. Still, this is another one of those rare occasions where I can report some gratitude among the otherwise miserable cruise experience.

Ramadan started on the 26th of May, and ended today. Finally the fasting time is over, and all the Muslims aboard can return to eating and drinking throughout the day. That’s actually a great enough thing to celebrate, because cruise jobs are demanding enough without having to wait ten hours for your next glass of water. As is tradition, the month of hunger and strife ends with a big buffet, so for one last day we get to bask in the glory of cruise food.

Breakfast buffet for cruise crew

This is the usual presentation for crew meals, so naturally any better selection is praised as grandeur.

For one month all Muslims had to fast; today they get to feast. Since I am a nice guy, I am invited to the celebrations. People usually only invite me for food if they a) don’t know about my extensive stomach, or b) have way more food than they can devour themselves. I’m not sure which of these options fit tonight, but I am happy to once more share the table with friends. We laugh and eat, talk and listen. For about an hour the hardships of this cruise endeavour are downed by the cherishing joy of friendship lived. It is quite ironic that greater suffering brought us together, but I guess what really matters is the happiness that we are united in.

This is one of the aspects I will miss about my job as cruise photographer – the bond that I share with so many of these people. One might call it friendship, but apart from dining together and having the odd conversation in port we don’t actually spend any time with one another. We don’t share common interests, or explore ports together. We just share a work place. And a common hatred for our supervisors. But when times of need arise those simple bonds form important connections between people. I guess this is the same force that makes poor people fall in love with each other more easily than rich people – it is easier to value what you have, if you have little else.

I am looking forward to leave this cruise life behind, but at least the connection to my fellow henchmen is something I will miss.

deck of the ABC RypMeOff

Every public place aboard the ABC RypMeOff looks grand. Unfortunately, the crew area looks quite the opposite.

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