Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L. (emo_snal) wrote,
Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L.

Go: to borg!

July 16th, Wednesday - Having successfully gotten through the airport and only my aircraft without being thrown into quarantine, I made proceeded to my seat, still fearful that a suspicious coughing fit or nose blow might alarm fellow passengers and could still cause me to be ejected into a quarantine. There was a woman in my seat, I politely apologized for the confusion and showed her my ticket which had that seat number, and she showed me her ticket which had that seat number. Strange.
   I got a flight attendant and they sorted out that she had boarded the flight in freetown with a ticket for that seat but her seat was supposed to change at this stop. Weird!! I volunteered to let her remain there and take the seat she was supposed to change to. There I sat down next to a small squalling child and pondered whether maybe I'd made a terrible decision. But then the flight attendant came by and asked if I wanted to change to another seat that was open, so I changed seats yet again.
   Service seemed particularly bad on this air france flight. When they came by with dinner I was told "the choices are fish (poisson) or beef, but we're out of beef, is fish alright?" ... I try to be easy going but I loathe and despise fish so I had to say "uh... no, not really actually." Well no luck for me. But the fish was barely recognizable as fish and mostly flavorless so I survived. But also they didn't offer me any drink at all. I noticed they came by the other aisle with drinks but didn't do our aisle at all.
   Getting some wine to help me sleep was a key element of my strategy to survive this flight so I hit the flight attendant call button and asked for some wine. Then it never came so an hour later I hit the call button again. No one came but half an hour later I noticed the call light had gone out so I hit it again. Repeated it again half an hour later, and half an hour after that. During this time I noticed at least one other person ask for a drink and go unnoticed. Finally after my third call the flight attendant came by and remarked "oh I forgot about your wine!" and brought me some wine. My suspicion is that they had just about run out and were trying to shake off as many requests as they could. But seriously, what's with this remarkably terrible service, is it because we're coming from a third world country so they don't think they need to give us the first world service we expect from an airline??

Airplane Movie Review Intermission!
300 II - or whatever they're calling this shit. I dismal excuse for lots of CGI swordfighting. That I got through the whole thing was a testament to the lack of more appealing options being offered. D-
Pompeii - ALSO a flimsy excuse for lots of CGI and swordfighting, and fire and explosions! These two movies probably did nothing to improve my health, certainly did nothing to improve a pretty rock bottom flight experience so far. D-

Sunrise over a concord at the Paris airport

July 17th, Thursday - Arrived at Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) Aeroporto at 5:05am. Had an hour and a half or so there, which was just enough time to navigate the massive distances between terminals there. Two interesting facts abotu CDG:
   (1) every time I go through there I am absolutely shocked by how slowly people go through the x-rays. In American airports, everyone is very cognizant that there's a lot of people waiting to go through and does their best to get their stuff loaded on the conveyor and moving through in about 30 seconds -- I start to feel stressed if it takes long enough to interrupt the forward momentum at all. At CDG the person in front of you puts their bag on the loading station and starts sorting through it like they have all the time in the world, I've been standing for several minutes waiting for the person in front of me to take their sweet freaking time to load up.
   (2) It always catches people offguard that you have to go through security more than once. At the very least as you enter the terminal and as you enter the immediate area of your gate. People can never resist buying expensive wine as they pass through CDG and every single time I've flown through I see surprised people getting relieved of the 60 euro bottle of wine they just bought as they try to get to their gate. Paris airport security staff must take home so much wine every day. On this particular occasion the guy behind me handled it with a surprisingly good attitude, presenting his bottle of wine to the security guard with a relish and telling him to enjoy it as if he had purposefully brought it for that purpose.

   Boarded my flight from Paris to Frankfurt. Running low on tissues at this stage, still feeling pretty miserable. Every time I blew my nose I couldn't help thinking "these people would be so freaked out if they knew where I'd just come from and what that could potentially mean."

   Quick layover in Frankfurt. The airport managed to be very cute despite being pretty big. Boarding my flight to Sweden they looked briefly at my ticket at the gate but didn't match it to an ID. There was no passport control once I arrived in Sweden. I could have been anyone!
   How nice it was to hear people prattering svenska again once I was on the plane! Finally I can understand people (:
   Was around 3pm I think by the time I finally landed in the cute little airport in Göteborg, Sweden (pronounced "yo-te-bo'dee," (with the vague hint of an r where the apostrophe is) approximately. In English it goes by "Gothenburg" but that sounds over-anglicized to me). Friendly guy at the currency exchange had lived for awhile in Surfer's Paradise, Australia, just south of Brissie. He asked me where I came from and I cringed in preparation for him to connect the dots between my obvious sickness and the infamous outbreak there but he was apparently delightfully uninformed.
   Hour on the bus to the center of town (Göteborg Landsvetter flygplats is a bit out of town) for 99 kronor (appx $14.50). From there, following instructions that had been emailed to me I easily caught bus 16 to the Eriksberg neighborhood on the other side of the river. A short walk brought the ship Götheborg into sight.
   I stopped to take a picture of it and a proud local passerby started telling me about the boat. Walked down to the vessel and found the crew just finishing their end-of-day muster. Crew was mostly Swedes but included a German and a Netherlander, and so they spoke English when addressing the group, though mostly Swedish to one another. I joined them while they wrapped that up and then Jonas, the assistant engineer (though only engineer presently aboard) showed me around. Vessel is much bigger than the other ones I've served on, with three decked below the surface deck (Pilgrim and Chieftain both only had one). First deck is the "cannon deck" and the deck doesn't seem to be put to much use other than housing 10 large cannons, though there's some cabins in the back and carpentry shop in the front. Below that there's the galley and they sleeping quarters (forecastle in English, skans in Swedish). Since all the bunks were taken I had to string up a hammock the first day, which wasn't so bad, but I was glad to move into a bunk my second night so I wouldn't have to put away all my stuff every morning. Below that deck it looked like a modern ship, as one descends into big spacious shiney metal engine rooms.
   A few crewmembers happened to be making a trip to the grocery store, a ten min walk away, so after I had been shown around I joined them so I could get supplies. The boat provides lunch every day but we'd have to buy and make our own breakfast and dinner materials. I did my best to get some things, though at this point I'd been awake for way more than 24 hours AND was sick so I was feeling fairly delirious. As soon as I was back I flopped down on a bench in the skans and commenced napping. Was awoken for dinner, which I did my best to be appreciate for because crewmembers had voluntarily made dinner (well, put together taco fixings)for everyone else, but I was feeling pretty awful. After dinner I strung up my hammock and went to sleep.

July 18th, Friday -In my delirium I apparently mis-heard what time the morning muster was, and thought it was at 6:55 instead of 7:55 so I ended up getting up way too early. Had ample time to sit in the pleasant morning light of the aft cabin, looking at my buttered bread (certainly not up for anything more complicated) without an appetite, and wonder if I really might have ebola. Maybe now that I'm in Sweden I should go see a doctor. I pictured the doctor's office quickly emptying as I explain I want to be checked out for ebola. At least being quarantined here would be infinitely more comfortable than in Guinea.
   Spent the morning up in the rigging tarring, work I enjoy and have experience with, though I think they had more authentic tar -- it had to be kept hot so we had to keep refilling from a pot on a stove on the dock. Working aloft with tar is fun (really), but I felt fatigued and unwell and counted down the minutes until fika, the 9am coffee break, and then till lunch at noon. It turns out every day for the last two weeks at least (as far back as anyone can remember?) they've ordered lunch off "the fish list," from a local fish restaurant. Oh those Swedes. See also: my opinion on fish.
   There was a shrimp salad on the list though so I ordered that and found it quite good (as much as I could enjoy anything in my state). After lunch on Fridays they just clean the vessel and then end the day earlier, much to my great relief. I was detailed to help clean the shore head (bathroom), and then we scrubbed down the decks, and then I inquired of the people in other areas if anyone needed help but people were just finishing up everywhere so I went below to take a nap around 14:00.

   That evening around 18:00 we had been invited to visit and tour the modernistic clipper style ship Stad Amsterdam (pictured above). We took the ferry across the river and walked a short way to their dock. The While the Gotheborg has rigging authentic to the 1730s construction date of the original, the Stad Amsterdam's rigging is in the style of the last great sailing clippers of the 1920s, which is somewhat different. And while on the Gotheborg they make their own ropes by hand from hemp, the lines and sails on Amsterdam are of the most modern materials currently available. It takes 18 people to raise the mainsail on the Gotheborg, it takes 3 people and a jarvis winch to operate the entire sail rig of the Amsterdam. I have a running joke with a friend and fellow tallship sailor that the jarvis winch, invented in 1897 is "too new" and can't be trusted. Also it doesn't have a wikipedia entry because it's "too new." Modern "yachties" love their winches but admittedly you put me on a modern sailboat I barely know what to do with them.

our tour involved a visit to the lifeboat

   The Stad Amsterdam in addition to being thoroughly modern above decks is essentially a posh hotel belowdecks (we were unable to see this though, as they currently had paying passengers aboard), and it makes its way in life by plying the seas with paying passengers who want a delightfully comfortable sailing experience, with a well stocked beer. See also: "bartender" is a position on their crew, and there's more than one. Also they have a coat rack with magic coathangers that blow out hot air into the coats and jackets to warm and dry them. Such marvels!

   After our tour we went back to the Gotheborg with some of the Stad Amsterdam crew to give them a recipricol tour. As this was still only my second day I myself learned many interesting things about the ship.

   Presently it was getting late and the Amsterdammers (or are they Staddies?) had to go in order to make the last ferry across the river. That night many of the Gotheborggers departed either for the weekend or permanently, having just been there for the previous week and work not continuing on the weekend. We had also been advised that this day a guy had suddenly booked the Gotheborg for his wedding for the next day (!?) and we'd therefore have to make ourselves scarce Saturday afternoon (or just confine ourselves to below the cannon deck). The German fellow Jonathon had been mentioning going out to the archipelago of islands outside the mouth of the Goteborg river and that sounded like a larf so I made plans to join him in this in the morning. And with that, the sun having finally set some time around 11pm, I occupied one of the recently vacated bunks and called it an early night.

   Göteborg being a fairly nautical place, in addition to the Stad Amsterdam and Götheborg I sighted the barque pictured above and the one below. I think the one above took sail but the one below is permanently turned into a stationary hotel, I don't know it's name.

To be continued! Do I begin bleeding from the eyes? Does the cannon mentioned in act one go off in act two? Will I tell you what's in the locker of the gods? Only time will tell!

Tags: gothenburg, sailing, sweden, travel, travelogues

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