|Home gown and bottled Tannat|
One day we went to a barbecue, held on a beach nearby. It was a public holiday and this was a community gathering which involved the roasting of a whole cow. This was fun, but not as much fun as a ride in the back of Andy's 1926 Model T Ford pick up for the 5kms down to the said BBQ. Restoring old cars is a national habit and one Andy enjoys a great deal… Fantasising about driving his Ford back to Detroit where it was made one day.… Boys and their dreams!
|Andy in his Ford|
|Markus, Isabel, Andy & H|
Ever the enthusiasts, Sean suggested going to a football match. Something I've never done before and happily signed up for. The match was the finale of the local derby between two arch rivals; Nacional and Penarol. This annual match was in the same grounds that the first ever World Cup was held back in 1930 called the Centenario. It was probably like going to a Manchester United vs Man City game. The guys who organised the trip were National fans, so we wore blue, not yellow, and were funnelled to one end of the stadium. Tens of thousands of people hugely excited about the game converged, revved up by cheerleaders and an insane amount of fireworks. Unfortunately our team, who were said to be the favourites, were squarely beaten four - zero. Possibly the sun shining directly into their eyes may have hindered them, but what the experience lacked in footballing prowess, was more than made up by frenzied and electric atmosphere generated by the fans.
|Some fans being frisked by the police|
|Taka, H and Sean fine dining.|
Nervous excitement was how I felt coming on board, for the beginning of a 3 week voyage to Hamburg, Germany. I had been anticipating this near final leg of the journey a great deal. Alas this feeling dissipated rather rapidly as there was little sense of welcome or engagement from the crew. Whilst polite it was quickly apparent that this was a working ship and passengers were there as a very minor part of the ship's purpose. We were shown our windowless cabins, perfectly comfortable in a utilitarian way, told that breakfast was between seven and nine, lunch at 12, and dinner at six. And that was about it. We were left to find our own way around. This did irk us all, feeling like unwanted guests was not what I had understood from others who had raved about these trips, who had had been given quite a free rein in terms of visiting the bridge, seeing the engines and generally interacting with the crew etc. However after a couple of days it was clear that this was not going to be the case, so we just had to accept it. Language was probably the main reason, as the crew is largely Italian, and their English pretty basic. Apart from Wayne, the other passenger's English was pretty limited, making conversations fairly basic and general. That said we seem to get along alright in the main and have enjoyed quite a few laughs.
|The wide angle did not capture the 220m length of this monster|
|Batty strapped down for the voyage|
As a result of this re-reading, for the moment I think that it is not a particularly extraordinary story, nor one I have the skill or wit to make into one. There are many very well told accounts of great journeys around the world on motorcycles, and if anyone is particularly interested in Batty's journey, they have the blog to wade through.
That all said, I have been writing a fair amount as a sort of summary/conclusion of the last two years, and in fact I'm grateful for the near prison like isolation the ship has given to do that. In the fullness of time I suppose I will put them on the site, but may wait till the perspective of a few months at home before doing so.
|Ship's graveyard outside Montevideo|
|The top deck that took about 3 minutes to walk around...depending on the route|
|The Captain said that they would do something to celebrate crossing the equator...he did not, but the passengers managed a glass of wine|
|One evening there was a BBQ for the ships company, but not a party to write home about...|
Amazingly after 2 and a half weeks we have still had no safety drill whatsoever...
We have been able to get off the ship twice, once in Brazil for about four hours at a port called Vitoria, and then seven days later at Dakar in Senegal. Good to touch land, but not long enough to do much other than grab something to eat and connect to the Internet for email etc. A few flying fish and one family of Dolphins have been spotted on the whole trip, along with a few companionable gulls, but no albatross sadly. It has been a fascinating exposure to commercial shipping, and one I would have loved to have had the opportunity to find out more from the crew, but it was not to be. Sometimes we see loads of other ships, as far as the eye can see, mainly near the ports we are heading to. In mid Atlantic several days pasted without anything on the huge 360 degree horizon.