Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Chicken soup

There isn't really much to say. Except that I'm quite comfy with the reversal of day and night I guess. What with the sunsets, when I can make it out of the windowless-ness that is work. And the bustling afternoons. And the midnight soup experiments! That would actually make a cool name for a band! No? :)

Still can't get used to the almost ghostly silence of these early hours of the morning though. There's a whole lot less people around to play table tennis with. Which has made me start practising darts some days. With decidedly mixed results :S.

Right, so no, not really much to talk about. Just needed an excuse to put up some pics. No, no one plays basketball at night either, which is a shame. With the kind of weather we've had lately though, might just wake up one of these days and find the back-board missing or something!

Currently: rolling, rolling!
Listening to: KT Tunstall - Paper aeroplane

Monday, 16 May 2011


The sun is a light bulb...
So says Steven Wilson. I now have proof!

I might be wrong here, but are sunsets longer than sunrises?! It sure feels like it :). Several possible reasons suggested themselves as I lingered on in the unseasonally cool breeze as the orange darkened to crimson and then to something more sinister.

I discarded each one in turn and eventually decided, it didn't matter. I like the fact that sunsets seem to bring the promise of quiet. Yes, the trip's not going badly, one might say :).

I suppose I should really get out more during the night. But as on the night shift, it seems there's never quite enough time off shift :D.

Currently: practicing knot tricks
Listening to: Chicane - Red skies

Sunday, 8 May 2011


So far, this trip hasn't been very nice. Granted, it could be worse, but then it could always be worse, so that's not saying much. The trip to the boat wouldn't have been too bad, even with the unexpected nine-hour wait at Duba. Except that I was then informed I was to do day shifts this trip instead of nights.

I suppose on the face of it, it's not that big a deal. However, take into consideration that I've done nights for the last five years, and it becomes somewhat significant. Habits, I tell you, they are at once brilliant and terrible things :(.

For one thing, it took me a while to get used to the fact that the sun is up way before I wake up every morning! And of course, there are way too many people up and about at midday, which puts in rather sharp contrast my usually groggy appearance at work. Then there is the food situation. Lunch has turned into breakfast, dinner into lunch and breakfast has disappeared altogether :|.

Sunrises have been replaced by sunsets. Not unexpectedly, decent examples if the latter aren't any less elusive than of the former.

But the worst part really is how at the end of shift there's no longer the forays into sunshine. There's only darkness through the port holes. And since sunset, there's only the slow trudging progress towards eventual slumber...

True, there are the charms of the clear night sky. But that presupposes decent weather at night. Which is sadly lacking these days. And to top it off, I, along with at least a third of the crew, am in the clutches of a rather annoying bout of cold :(.

Sounds rather miserable doesn't it? After five days, it's beginning to get a little better I think. One set of habits grudgingly giving way to another. I shudder to think what will happen when, eventually, I get bumped off to another boat altogether :-S.

Currently: sore and sniffing :(
Listening to: Massive Attack - Teardrop

Tuesday, 3 May 2011


How often is it that you find yourself stuck in a place surrounded by mountains and desert, with nothing by way of significant evidence of civilization visible as far as the eye can see, and in the middle of this, there's free (albeit somewhat slow) wi-fi?

Okay, it is possible that the no 'significant evidence of civilization' bit might have been a little harsh, but not very. Welcome to Duba. No, again, I haven't missed the i. And we're stuck here with no boat to take us to the ship and rather tired after the long bus ride from Tabuk and the early flight out of Jeddah before that. Yes, mountains, desert, astonishing rock displaying fascinating erosion patterns whose astonishing and fascinating nature respectively themselves get quite eroded by the fourth trip through the otherwise barren, dry and forbidding landscape.

It is on that bus ride that some profound (but thoroughly pointless) thoughts occurred to me, as they tend to do when I make the mistake of leaving the book in the backpack instead of within quick reach and subsequently find nothing else with which to occupy my mind :|.

I shall spare you said profundity. However, having noticed the somewhat ravaged copy of Shantaram the chap in the seat next to mine seemed to be trying to read rather distractedly, I asked him about it. It's one of those books that I'd heard a lot about, but heard nothing specific at all. For instance, I had no idea about the plot, premise, or anything of that nature. I get the feeling I know a lot of people who've read it, but I don't remember ever having received a substantial opinion of any sort about it.

I soon found out that a lot of Australians that my friend hangs out with back home in Brisbane absolutely loved it... So I decided to give the first chapter a read. I must say, it was intriguing. Not least because of the nature of observations regarding Bombay. The foreign nature of the eye doing the observing rather patently evident. But then I should read more than a single chapter before forming an opinion, I think.

There is a method to approaching new places, I reckon. And it is by no means uniform across people. Take me for instance, the first thing I do in a new place is systematically reduce it down to known elements and patterns. It is actually quite interesting how easily this can be done with almost any given environment. All airports are essentially the same, all ports, city subway systems, hotels/motels/inns/lodges, food, traffic... It is possible to distil them all down to some universal fundamentals.

I suppose I really do it to prevent myself from completely freaking out in any new place, which, almost without exception, I find scary :(. It's kinda sad I suppose, but once I've managed to calm down enough, having found the symmetries and similarities and thus having brought the 'freaky newness' of the place within manageable limits, only then can I start looking at all the stuff that is in fact not the same. The stuff that gives each place its character.

Why am I going on about this? Besides the necessity to while away some of this wretched hot afternoon in the desert with not much else to do? I think I've only just figured this out. And I'm not sure if it's a particularly good way of going about things... Either way, I must say, I am extremely happy to be able to use a proper camera again while travelling :).

Currently: whiling life away
Listening to: Emily Browning - Sweet Dreams (are made of these)