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March 21, 2007

The Ship's Crew

Crewonly_80days

I am developing an obsession with the crew.  Their lives seem substantial imbued with arc compared to the leisurely routines of the guests. Beneath their smiles and courteous nods, there is the aggravation and frustration of working life. There must be.

Every time we bring Greta out, the Filipino crewmembers crowd around, say hello and smile at our daughter. We strike up conversation. Invariably, each Filipino crewmember has three or four children they haven't seen in six months and will not see for another two. They will only tell you this if you ask, and they do their best not to seem sad. When Laura was getting back onboard in Hawaii, she saw the Filipino crew crowded around pay phones, calling cards in hand, waiting to talked to loved ones.

The crew is packed into the lower decks. Only their top floor--the fourth--has a button on the elevator. It says "crew only." I am told that they have their own restaurant and also their own bar. This has become the only bar on the ship that I want to drink at. A beer goes down well enough after a morning of bridge and an afternoon by the pool. But this beer pales in satisfaction with a beer earned by a day of vacuuming, delivering room service, picking up socks and making beds, or changing an oil filter on the engine, or studying navigation charts and relaying messages to the Chinese Coast Guard. Life is being lived down there.

I overheard two room stewards talking in the hallway. There is a staff toga party coming up. I don't know when, and I don't know where. But I plan on finding out.

Comments

I'm very supportive of you finding that bar. I'm sure you'll find people with some very interesting stories and perspective. Besides, you've already seen the sanitized parts of the boat. Now it's time to see the underbelly.

On a side note, check out this website. www.confluence.org. Maybe you can use your gps system to find one of the incomplete confluences along the way. Here's mine: http://www.confluence.org/confluence.php?visitid=4791

Checked out that confluence page - that is pretty cool! Going to be on a cruise up the CAL coast in May, so may come close to some offshore. If so will post. Thanks - Lori

If the cruise was not comped, why have you not mentioned that you are on the Crystal Synphony? Your name (and a link to this blog) is on the Crystal cruise critic board --- and the chips have Crystal logos. Anyway, Crystal will spoil you.

Long time reader, first time poster...okay, actually, I only just discovered this blog a week ago. I'm glad I started reading it early in the trip!

Good luck getting into the crew area...it seems like that may be difficult to do. But I bet it would be worth it!

Hi Mark,

Sounds like things are going well. Yes, losing a day can be very confusing. I once flew from Canada to Seoul, and was supposed to be picked up by a friend. Had forgotten all about the dateline and my friend came to meet a day earlier!

My English reading students have been reading your blog for the past week (or they should be!). We meet tomorrow, and I am anxious to hear their comments.

Have fun!

Mark:

Just curious. Any idea how far away from land you are? I may have missed this, but where is the destination for the cruise that you are on?

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