Monday, September 20, 2010

Ship Life

Life here is becoming increasingly comfortable, and starting to resemble something of a home. It is especially nice to return to after being away for several days, with the promise of healthy, clean food, air conditioning, privacy and our personal belongings even if they are few.
I was extremely ill earlier this week. The doctors in our community are well-versed in anything that might come up with all 700+ of their patients on board. They arrange for sick trays to be delivered to our cabins during meals, and there are full hospital facilities on board just in case they are needed. I was well taken care of and feel WAY better! Yay.
Our beds are made daily and our cabins are cleaned, and there are crew-members and employees always bussing tables and serving drinks in the dining areas. Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a fancy hotel, but then the ship lurches and everything falls off the nightstand and I remember I’m on the ocean. I think I’ll need a hammock when I get back to be able to rock myself to sleep, I’m getting so used to this!
Yesterday I took a bridge tour of the area where the captains command the ship. It was very cool to see all of their navigational equipment, and reassuring to know that they plot everything on paper as far as our progress and location just in case of a blackout on board! I asked them what we would do in case of a pirate attack, and they said that since we are one of the fastest ships in the sea with a potential speed of 39 knots, we would flee! Apparently it would be hard to mount a ship moving that quickly. For relative comparison, our current speed is 17 knots and it is pretty fast as it is right now.
We each have between 2-3 ½ hours of class everyday. There are intramural teams that have started to form that use the basketball court-sized area on the top deck for volleyball, basketball or small games of soccer. We also have times designated for pick-up games of all 3 of these, and dodgeball, on designated days in the same place.
At night, beverage service is offered on the top deck. We are limited to 3 between 9-11pm. I’ve been picking my nights for this wisely, limiting myself to football gamedays (2 so far), and seeing how I’m pretty small, 3 drinks is quite enough. Clubs also meet at night and there are all sorts of board games available, so there’s lots to do. I started a Scrabble Club on the ship, and so far have enough members that I need to pick up a new board in South Africa (if I can!).
When the sun comes out, there is a huge amount of people laying out with their textbooks on the top deck, jumping in the tiny pool for a quick dip from time to time. It’s a good way to socialize and still get work done and also get a tan! Because we are rapidly approaching the equator (eep!), the sun is getting stronger and the Midwest-kids on the ship look like tomatoes because they are not used to it. We also have dining areas outside. Weather permitting, I don’t eat indoors. One teacher started a sunset club, and goes outside to watch the sunset daily. It’s always beautiful out here, even if the sun is hidden, because the colors are echoed in the clouds.
I’ve been active in the Jewish community on board, am holding 2 positions in the photo-club and instruct the kids on board in photography every other day. There is a ping-pong table on the top deck, so I plan to be a champion by the time I get back to the states. I have also read Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger this week and restarted The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, on top of my reading for class. It’s quite humbling not to have a television (even though I miss HIMYM and Grey’s) but keeping me productive in other areas. Trying to keep busy, but always anxiously awaiting the next port! I will post pictures to my blog by the time I leave South Africa.

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