Culture Club

Thursday February 24, 2011 – Houston, TX/Galveston, TX

The endurance test continues. I ended up pulling an all nighter getting caught up on all the emails I couldn’t answer on the ship last week. The hotel had free wi-fi, so I took full advantage and cranked it out. Too bad it took until 5:50am to finish, but at least it‘s done.

My shuttle from the hotel in Houston to the port in Galveston was scheduled to leave by 7am, so that means I was ready by 6:30. I get paranoid about missing transportation since it’s my responsibility to get to the gig on time. Being packed and in the lobby is a must.

I was there, and so were about 30 other people of all nationalities who were going to be living on the ship for various contracts of several months at a time. The makeup of ethnic diversity in the work place on a cruise ship is about as wide spread as I have ever seen.

It’s a smorgasbord of colors and cultures collected into a common place and people live and work without any racial dustups, at least not that I’ve ever seen. Someone told me on a ship recently there were 37 different nationalities represented with on board employees.

I think I’d have a hard time even naming that many countries off the top of my head, so I was pretty impressed. I try to be nice to everyone, so when I pass people on deck I smile and nod and try to at least acknowledge their presence on the planet as a fellow human.

It’s got to be lonely as hell for those people. I have a hard enough time lasting through a couple of weeks, and I’m on the upper end of the food chain. I get my own cabin, and I’m paid extremely well for the amount of actual work I have to do. These people have to peel potatoes and mop floors and make beds and wash dishes…over and over and over again.

And, they have to double up in a cabin…for months at a time. My life isn’t so bad when I think of that, and I have to admit it did cheer me up a little. It could always be worse and I’m grateful for what I have – even though I’m still glad I’ll be going home in a few days.

The shuttle ride to the ship was postponed due to a foggy port, and we ended up waiting until 11:30 for the bus to come get us. I did two crossword puzzles and caught up on USA Today from cover to cover but there was nothing any of us could do but shut up and wait.

Our trip was about an hour, and I sat next to a very nice Croatian guy who had so many consonants in his name he could have put Wheel of Fortune out of business if they used it as a puzzle. He was a waiter, and is just coming from six months on another ship. He had a lot of stories that made me even more grateful I have the job I have. Life isn’t that bad.

This is all a big adventure, and I’m not going to let the parts I don’t like cloud the fact I really am glad I was able to do it. The good outweighs the bad, and the experience of it all has made it one of the most memorable things I’ve ever done. I’m going to finish up these last few days and give it all I’ve got, but I’m not going to lie and say I won’t be thrilled to get back home either. Adventures don’t have to last forever. It’s time to live a new one.


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