[][1]Just got back from the town. So many contrasts, so much poverty, so much deception, so much weird stuff. Several million people, bigger than London, and this is nothing like the capital. Huge numbers of beggers, homeless, etc. and the other people just shoving them out of the way, not caring, or worse. And so strange seeing thousands of idols everywhere.

Traffic is insane here, there are so many auto rickshaws. Imagine a 2 wheel hand cart, attached to a motorbike, and its slightly less posh than that. All metal.

Weather is pretty hot. Not too bad, for me. But if outside a long time in sun, for the Finnish, or whatever, it’s bad.

[1]: http://blog.madprof.net/wp-content/uploads/2006/04/auto1-1.jpg



We’re in India! Whoo!! etc.

We arrived yesterday, on the 11th April.

I’m kind of tired, in a general way, but also kind of excited and awake too. Jumping to the firerounds schedule (11pm to 7am work time!) really messed up my body clock, and so I got very little sleep the first few days. And I know I need sleep soon. But I’m going to stay up til lunch, and then sleep from lunchtime until 8 this evening, as one of our k-group is going on a team away from the ship for 2 weeks, and we are going to have a goodbye lunch for her.

So I was filling up time until then.

I’ve been part of a group learning a jazz/modern dance since pre-ship, and had wanted to make a “training” dvd for the dance, with each section (verse, chorus, rap-section, finale, etc) able to be played, and explained on the dvd, so that if people miss learning sessions, they can catch up faster, but also so that we can review on our own parts, and also to allow the dance to be kept going if key people leave the ship.

So I went just now to the photography/graphics office, and looked through their video collection to see if they had any tapes which had the dance on, with the right kind of tape that I can play on my camera, so I could start working on making the dvd (or at least a demo of the dvd,
which I could then use to persuade the dance leader to schedule a few sessions to properly record it).

While I was talking to the photographer about this, she (first of all she wanted to talk about my toaster video — apparently her machine didn’t play it right, so she watched it about 4 times trying to get to the ending, but it didn’t work, and she was getting angry because she wanted to see how it ended! rather cool!)

.. anyway, she told me maybe I should apply for job of videographer, which is a post they have been looking for someone for for quite a while. I knew they wanted someone for the job, but thought they wanted a professional videographer, someone like dad. But she said no, in fact she had never even seen Adobe Photoshop until 2 weeks before they came to the ship, and had basically to learn on the job!

It’s kind of weird… Like, all during firerounds this morning I was thinking about my job as a deckie.

I love the job, doing all the physical work and all, all the painting, scrubbing, chipping rust, and so on, but a lot of the attitude of some of the other deckies really annoys me, and I find hard to work with.

For instance, on the fire-rounds, there are these little red strips on the walls in different sections. What you are supposed to do is go to each section, make sure there are no irons plugged in, or whatever, check the bilges, and so on. Then scan the strip, and go on. There are some strips which are outside a hold, or other room, and you are supposed to open the door, check inside the space, and then close it and go on.

When talking with one of the other watchmen, I mentioned that I really didn’t like going into one of the holds, as it’s so creepy down there… always sounds like someone is walking around, and hiding from you. And he couldn’t understand why I would go down there anyway, as the strip is outside the door, and “no-one ever bothers” to actually check inside. I dunno. Like some people are trying to get away with doing the least possible, but it seems like such a bad attitude to have, since we are here to serve God, and it’s not like the jobs are enormously strenuous anyway.

Yeah, I’ve been kind of feeling a bit fed up with deck department for a week or two now. I was expecting it, of course. Most people go through a “down” cycle after about 3 to 8 months of their first department. And I’ve done 4 months of deck work now (including my STEP). So I know that it’s just part of Doulos life, and that in 6 months more, I’ll probably feel a lot better about it.

But anyway, I was thinking for ages this morning during my watch, if I was to move department, where would I go? I am even feeling engine room might be better, and was so tired with the attitude that if IT asked me to join them, I might even do that. Not too happy. So quite a surprise to hear someone tell me about this position needing filling, like the same day I’m really thinking about this.

Right now, I’m thinking it would be so cool to do this job. I’m pretty tired, and going through a not too happy week with deck dept, so I’m probably seeing it brighter than it is (the grass is always greener, and so on). I dunno. That’s what I’ll be praying about for the next while, we’ll see what happens.



I won “Pioneer” DoulOscar !

I thanked the toaster, said how great it was to work with, and how generous it was, etc, and then told everyone not to grow up. Stay as children. Its much more fun. We had 2 mintutes max for speeches, then they started playing snoring sound effects. Only one person got that though.

One of the creative people told me I got the pioneer award partly because I’m the only one doing short videos. Most people are trying to make whole long things.

our preship has a lot of techie/AV/media people, which is cool, and we’re all (except I think 3) staying for 2 years, so hopefully we’ll get the Doulos media quality going up and up. I was the only one in our preship to have made anything for the DoulOscars though!



I just got nominated for the DoulOscar “Most Creative” and also for “Best Actor”. I have to prepare speeches in case I win… for the video I made about the Doulos toaster.* I was camera man, director, gaffer, editor, cutter, best boy, tea lady, actor, pyrotechnican, etc…

I want to make it again. Its kind of rushed in too many places but I learned a lot.

* note – to understand the significance, see the blog entry about the toaster



We’ve been doing India orientation training. It was good, though quite long, and nothing too new: mozzies, be careful of drivers, no physical contact between men and women in public, no tight jeans, etc, knee length shorts at minimum, etc, etc, and be careful about what water we drink.

We all started malaria pills yesterday: dailies and weeklies. Apparently less nasty ones than last time, as there are hardly any resistant strains or anything here. The dailies are proguanil, and weeklies (as well!!) are chloroquinine. It turns out all of the people who got malaria last time were not taking their pills.

I think the biggest worry is crowd control. Apparently we will probably be doing no deck work for most of India, just crowd control. They’re expecting at least 12000 visitors a day, maybe more.

One thing makes me very happy in India orientation: In most of the world, they talk of normal food, and veggie food. In India, they talk of normal food, and non-veggie food.

Food on board is very good now. Much pasta these days, the new chef Glenn is v. talented, and he has a hatred of “one each” signs. Most meal times there is fruit now, and also some at other times. Many times now we have signs up “ask galley staff for veggie option…”

It gets very hot now here… apparently we will have no visits to schools, as all the schools are closed for the next month, as it is too hot!!! And then we will start hitting monsoon season, I think. for most of Malasia, islands, etc. But we have teams out every day, loads of a-teams (23 weeks away from ship), and so on. One deck team per day is probably going out on visits too. We have only 5 teams, so maybe much more extra days out! whoo! Also the on board programme/conference schedule is up, and it is totally full. Like every morning, afternoon and evening, almost.

They had a couples night a few days ago, for all the marrieds on board. They interviewed over the last few weeks lots of them, talking about their families, pets, dogs, etc. and then mixed / edited them up. So they asked questions about the husband/wife, and then put in the answer about the dog, or something. eg: “what was your first impression of him? ” “well, he has a really big nose, like this… ” Funny.

i’m on firerounds or something next week, so I dont know what times I will be awake.



We will sail (in just a few days time) for Chennai, India. It is quite a long voyage, about 10 days. Hopefully not many people will be seasick.

I’m getting to do more dance on board, which is something I’ve wanted to learn more of for some time. I’m in the Scottish dance group, am learning a jazz/ modern piece with a bunch of others who joined at the same time as I did, and may be learning joining a Dutch dance group in a few weeks as well (time permitting). I’m also in the puppets workshops/teams thing.

Yesterday we did the big “International Night”, which I was involved in (3 items! I was changing costumes all evening!), and then from about 11.30pm when we got back, I was helping to unload the 3 book containers which arrived yesterday. We finished the unloading at about 4.30am this morning. I’m kind of tired, and also have a cold, have been coughing and all for the last 2 days. Poor ol’ me, whinge whinge, moan moan, etc, etc. I actually love days like this, it’s kind of unusual, but staying up crazy hours heaving heavy boxes of books about is really rather satisfying.

So, I’m still quite busy.



We’re now in Oman. Last week was kind of down, I was really busy, and still tired after watch and all.

The voyage was very nice, I was kind of hoping to be on sea watch, but wasn’t at all. During long voyages, they often arrange special tournaments, so we had a table tennis championship, which was enjoyed by all. It was per- k-group, so each k-group chose 2 people to represent them. It was all kind of rushed though, if they had told us a few weeks in advance, then I think it would have been better.

One of the other k-groups had someone who had been top in her country as a child, or something like that, but because her English was not so good, and she had not understood/replied to an email until too late, and so other people in her group played instead of her… which was kind of sad.

I didn’t play, by the way. 🙂

Anyway. This week looks as it if will be more fun. Tomorrow is I- night, the big programme off on shore somewhere. I’m in the Parade of Nations (bah), Scottish Dance (grand!), and a drama (whoo!), then on Friday, I’m doing a puppets sketch with one of the other Daniels in the service (yah!), so all in all, quite busy.

Today will be a bit hectic though… we have 3 containers of books arriving. Probably in various Indian languages. So our deck team is “stood-down” until they arrive, and we will be working with those. Possibly until quite late.

BUT… I have a drama practice tonight at 6, and scottish dance practice at 6:20! Also the Dutch dance have asked if I would be interested in joining, they need more guys, apparently. Next week… maybe. 😉

About the drama thing. Although I’m not in the drama team (still don’t know why), I think the creative ministries people still kind of like me (they know that that is where I would like to work, eventually), and want me in dramas, I just wont learn the more complicated long ones that the drama team prepare.

So yeah. And when we go visit schools and so on, I’ll still be doing drama at most of them, I think.

I should probably go now… I have many things to do. I need to listen to the audio of the puppets sketch (we are just doing lip- synch), and one of the school teachers wants me to play my clarinet for her students (4 year olds, I think!), maybe I will do that today. But I need to prepare the puppets more importantly.



I’m sitting in the dining room, typing this, after a children’s programme this morning. We went to visit the school at 11.30, and were told we had a 45 minute or an hour long cultural programme, they wanted. No problems. One of the other team members is a teacher from oz, and so she was voted to “MC” the time.

The kids enjoyed it a lot, as did the teachers, but one of the teachers _kept_ coming into the room, like, every 2 minutes, and calling for another kid to come because their parents were there. We should have really started the programme at about 11 o’clock, or 10 thirty. Eventually the whole thing dissolved at about 12 o clock when pretty much all the kids left as their parents were there to collect them. Oh well.

We taught them some (fairly) silly songs, performed a drama about friendship (they gave me the main character, which was fun), did a song about Doulos work (also quite silly, but impressive. Basically a short chorus about “if I was not upon the stage of the Doulos, I would be…” and then each “verse”, one of the people stands forward and pretends to be some job; captain, carpenter, laundry, etc, with a short chant, and actions. and each time through the song another person stands forward.

So it starts off with one person standing forward, next verse two people, the verse after that 3 people, until all of us stand forward. and the actions to each persons chant include standing up, bending down, stretching arms up and down, etc, which are choreographed so that each person ducks out of the way of the next person just as they do something. IE, the carpenter stretches out a measurement, just as the painter ducks down to stir paint, and so on.

The last character to stand forward is… a ballerina. and they are supposed to be a really strong masculine macho deckie, and so guess who that was? yes! me! wearing my deckie clothes (really grubby looking and “work” ish) and also a ballet skirt thingy on top. it always makes the kids laugh, seeing someone so tough and manly pirouette and leap across the stage… yeah. pretty fun anyway. this evening we are going to help up at the bookshop, and give tours and chat to people. but until then is time off, which is quite nice.

Yesterday was my off-day, and I went out to see the town with some of the others. we visited the souk, I wanted to try and find a new watch (analogue, with alarm and backlight, but not big and heavy, and nice looking. I’ll be using it on deck, so just simple and stuff.

heh.. anyway, I didn’t find a good one. I found lots which were almost right, but none I really wanted to get. the guys at the shops always started off prices of about 8 to 12 dinar, but by the time i’d looked at them all and decided I didn’t want to buy, were all talking off special offers, me being their friend, and 3 dinars only.

oh well. Perhaps I’ll see one in India or Oman.

We then went and had lunch at a place called “Hardees”, which is an American style fast food resurant. I had a salad burger. Then we walked to one of the malls about, walked around it for a while, went to a Haagen Daaz icecream place, each had an icecream thingy (v. nice. I had a waffle with icecream on top) and then walked a bit more, and went home. Over all, fairly relaxed day not doing very much. Then in the evening I played Rummikub with some others, and then hung out in one of the families’ cabins with them and just chatted and looked at photos and such. They are a really friendly family, and have people drop round many evenings, and have their door open. They were making a sign to put on their door, with “hi! come in!”,”we’re busy, sorry”,”not in!”,”go away we’re sleeping” or something like that on it, which they can then put a blue-tacked arrow at the approp. label, on the computer. So I helped with the design of that for a while as well. v. friendly.

anyway. I’m off now. It’s nice to have had these two not so busy days after the last 7 days of watch. Normal day deck work tomorrow, we’ll probably be starting to get ready to sail in 2 days, so finishing off paint jobs, perhaps loading some of the vans and stuff…I don’t know.



I’m pretty tired. drills today, after watch. and my cabin mate wakes up at 11.30, so by the time drills were over, it was too late for me to go to bed during the daytime, really, as I’d get woken by his alarm after half an hour.

And yeah. this evening is a birthday party for one of my group. this is a looong day.



We had three containers arrive yesterday! Almost all foodstuffs.

In the morning we went and did a presentation about the ship at a local Indian school, about 300 kids were there. We did a drama about being friends with others, no matter how different they are, taught the kids some silly songs, and so on. It went quite well, I think. Afterwards, they generously decided to feed us, lovely Indian food. I enjoyed it very much.

In the afternoon, I thought we were off until 4.45, but then the team leader came and told me I had to give a tour of the ship for some people on for a programme, and then do “parade of nations” in their programme at 3 o clock. Parade of Nations is something they put in many programmes, basically you get a whole bunch of people to walk up, say where they are from, and smile. So I quickly went and met the people, chatted for a while, gave them the tour, ran and got changed into my moderately smart clothes, ran back, did the parade thingy.

Then I ran back to my cabin, grabbed my mug and a tea bag, ran back up to the dining room for our meeting at 4.45. We were going to visit a group in the evening, and had to plan for it. So we planned for it, half the group of us to do a kids programme, and the other 3 of us to talk a bit about the ship, and how we joined, and so on. Once we’d done planning, we found that we were supposed to be at the port gate at 5, to meet them, so we managed to find a Doulos driver to shuttle us there.

When we got there, no one was there to meet us, so we drove to the parking lot (about 5 minutes away), drove around there a bit, met no one, drove back, and still no one. So we thought we should try phoning.

None of us had a phone.

So one of the guys went to try and get the port security officer to lend us his mobile. He succeeded, and was just dialing, when a big red land cruiser drove up, and it was our hosts. So we left with them (after giving back the phone, I think). They apparently had only asked for a kids’ programme… So we said OK. Then they said since we were there anyway, we might as well show a slideshow and stuff as well. So we did that, and a drama.

Now, about the containers…

They had been working on unloading them, and getting the foods into the holds since about 9am when they arrived. At about 9pm, when we got back, they were still going. So I offered to help, and was sent down into the dry food store.

I love when containers arrive. The atmosphere is wonderful to work in. It’s great.

You work like mad tossing boxes of noodles or cereal around, or push heavy ol’ bags of flour around, getting the lift empty, and then send it up again, and try and get it all packed away into some part of the hold. Everyone is tired, but working togeather. I arrived at about 9.30, after getting changed and all, and started working. We finished work at 1.15 AM. I loved it. I wouldn’t miss it for anything. Well, I would, depending on what the anything was. But it would take quite a lot.

The people who had been working since 9am were a lot more tired, of course, but still many of them would not take up the offer to let us work for them, but were determined to carry on til the end. At the end you feel great.

We have various different spreads to put on bread, but somehow I guess the order got confused, and instead of “enough jam for every day, and chocolate spread once a week”, we got mountains of chocolate spread, and virtually no jam… Odd. So I guess we will now have a lot of chocolate spread on bread. yummy. Not so very healthy though. Jam isn’t either.

Today is my off-day, so that’s cool. Next week I am on 4-8 watch, from tomorrow (saturday) morning, until the next saturday evening, I will be working from 4 til 8 in the morning, eating breakfast, doing drills, etc, sleeping for an hour, or perhaps working out, or playing clarinet, depending how I feel, and then eating lunch, sleeping for a few more hours, working again from 4 until 8 in the evening, and then sleeping until 3.30 the next morning when I get ready to start work again. Work is security duty. Mostly gangway watch, but also sea-watch (lookout and being at the helm) for 2 days, occasional fire-rounds (walking about the ship checking for fires, problems, intruders, etc). So not too strenuous, but not very fun hours.