Friday, 30 March 2012

Of slow rivers, lazy airports and mockingjays

Despite being about as close to home as I could be, without actually working in country, it took me close to a day to actually get home. That was mostly because I flew back and forth over roughly the same area (that sharp triangle formed by Yangon, Bangkok and Dawei) three times!

I suppose it could have been worse :). The flights were all short and the stopovers not too long. Unfortunately, that also meant the only time I spent in Yangon was mostly inside the rather posh new airport building.

I made some progress with Bryson while travelling. But thereafter my attention was rather abruptly hijacked again, this time, first briefly by Seneca Crane, and then completely by The Hunger Games! It is definitely a lightning fast read. And having come off American Gods, not an altogether bad choice for a follow up as far as rocking dystopian action goes. :)

Insulated as I usually am to all but those goings on in the world that I take an active interest in, (well, most of the time, wars and nuclear disasters are a bit difficult to stay away from) the books had completely escaped my notice till the buzz over the film gathered some force. But now that I'm through with the first book, I've gotto read the other two before I think about watching the films!

Currently: no longer sleep deprived
Listening to: Jose Gonzalez - Teardrop

Monday, 26 March 2012

Happy days!

Allegedly :).

Things were going quite well, this last week! But then certain things were done that possibly irked the seismic gods. Luckily, we seem to have gotten away with merely a slight taste of the gods' wrath instead of a significant blow :).

Nonetheless, the last couple of shifts have been interesting. Exciting even. Something one does not want to happen at all! Especially at this point of the trip! On the up-side, a couple of small boat trips happened, and in beautiful weather too.

All in all, it has been a good month I'll say. Went by pretty quick, which is usually a good thing. Oh, and for the first time ever, I won a lucky draw thing on the boat! I guess you can put it down to beginner's luck :D.

It's been a while since I've had to worry about the weight of my back-pack. But this place has its own crazy limits, so I'm really hoping I am back on this boat next trip. I'm leaving behind things I would definitely want to see again.

I'm not a big fan of the day shift, but I have to say, the fact that you stop working earlier in the trip has to be a slight positive. Now if only I can wake up in time for the chopper tomorrow :|.

Currently: already packed!
Listening to: The Chemical Brothers - Music-response

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Only the gods are real.

aka No spoilers, just impressions

It is by no means a quick read. By which I mean that you can't just skim through, you can't turn the pages just as soon as you've read the words. You have to pay attention. Remember the details. But the story, it flies! It twists and it turns, and it grabs a hold of you.

The more I read, the more difficult it became to stop as the hands of the clock pointed to 5 am. The deeper one goes, the darker it gets, but doesn't quite make it all the way to evil. And then the narrative began to play its tricks.

For the most part, the dual forces of suspended disbelief and exemption from reality served me well. Like it says in there somewhere, we believe, in bits and pieces. We create, the angels and the demons. Then we cast them all into the dark corners of our dreams and nightmares and pretend to forget about them.

By the end of the book, I wasn't so sure why Shadow was any more. The who, I guess that depends on the perspective. Unfortunately, by then the short hand of the clock was pointing at 6.

And then today I find out that the man's planning a sequel!

Currently: contemplating heavens in an alternative universe
Listening to: Vitamin String Quartet - Sweet child of mine

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Slipping knots

It's that time of the trip again, when time slows down to something of a crawl. Something I didn't honestly think would happen at all this trip. There seemed to be a very real chance that the whole thing would simply whoosh by me and I'd suddenly find myself getting ready to leave! Wishful thinking, in a way :).

In another way, this is good. Time enough for exploring - music, stories, theories. Randomness. The idea that different ages bring different patterns in thought probably only needs to be explained to the young (relatively speaking, of course).

Numbers count, and where the accumulated years point to a lower number, certain discussions, shall we say, take a turn for the more bizarre, often hilarious and almost always entertaining :). It appears that here, twenty-past midnight is that time of the day. Or night, rather.

The patterns are slowly solidifying. Past patterns have merely an incidental influence. Each present has its own rules. It's the sense of impending doom that does me in. Well, not doom quite in the doom and gloom sense of it :). More like the LOTR fate sense.

Single digits now. And as the trip plays itself out, sometimes slowly, sometimes in a hurry, so is the book. There are hurried progressions, and pauses to catch a breath. Sometimes evilly fantastic, sometimes less so, always troubling. I feel like Shadow, nothing's quite as surprising after the beginning. That hurt, the rest is just a wild dream! I am hoping I'll finish it before the week is over.
The Iceman is back :). And the ton of tons finally done with. I remembered to notice each happening. Moments ticking along, some more significant than others. Although the significance is merely a thoroughly subjective construct. All in all, life is good, and rope is way easier to braid than hair :).

Currently: bemused
Listening to: Los Amigos Invisibles - La vecina

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Enter, Shadow

I'd started with the Bryson, you see. Short flights don't do much for reading, but long waits in airports do. Still, in the humdrum of the last fortnight I haven't had much chance to so much as look at it. Or at that surprisingly handy copy of A Short History of Nearly Everything that I managed to grab in IGI Terminal 3.

And then the other day I noticed the copy of Gaiman's American Gods, hulking on a shelf around the last corner before you step into the mess, kinda by itself. And I was reminded of the last time I went back and forth between the two. Thunderbolt Kid was what it was. Reality with a little faint sprinkling of the fantastic. Neverwhere, on the other hand, now that was imagination on steroids!

So here I am, thumbing through a rather bruised and abused copy. Wrinkled and dog-eared :(. But barely a fifth of the way in, the scope of it all is astounding. Shadows in a storm, indeed. I have, however, learned not to let books keep me up too late on a boat :).

Ever feel you reached just a little too far out? And no matter how much you try to reel yourself back in after, there's always that question. Did I burn that bridge? Or am I just over-thinking it? There's a reason why I hate first impressions.

Currently: couched in mystery
Listening to: Dominique Cerejo - Yeh tumhari meri baatein

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Suddenly, I see

The more things change, the more they stay the same. I say that without hinting at distress :). I was a little worried, of course, about settling into a new boat after such a long time spent on one. Circumstances, it would seem, have taken care of most of it for me!

It's been a while since I've ranted about a tough stint on the back-deck, I think. There's nothing like bringing on the bruises with that first stint on a new back-deck though :). There's always way too much to figure out in way too little time. But somehow, you figure it out anyway. With minor scratches and a few days of sleeping like a log when you get the chance to finally drag yourself to bed!

No, I have not missed that washed out, thoroughly battered feeling! And now that things are somewhat less insane, I'm left to reflect on some habits I seem to have worked out. For one thing, I've somehow managed to wake up at least a full forty minutes before start of shift every single day. I honestly cannot remember that happening on the Trident. Like, ever!!

And I managed a small boat trip today! My first on the Spirit, and here I was, driving! I couldn't help but think back to my first trips off the Trident and smile :). I'm merely passing through, I'm told. But I've come to feel rather abruptly at home on this compact, messily arranged, sometimes confusing ship.

Currently: settled in
Listening to: David Guetta - Turn me on (feat. Nicki Minaj)

Friday, 2 March 2012

New sails in old waves

It's been 3 days and now that we are finally under way, things have calmed down. Only a little though, mind you :). I can't say I've managed to settle in completely, but I've made something of a start.

Crew change itself wasn't without a hint of drama! I haven't worked this close to home in quite some time, so the flights were not long. However, upon arriving in Singapore it became evident that I'd fallen through one of those cracks that often appear when there's altogether too much going on. For some, I had appeared quite on time, for others, a whole day too early. Still, Changi airport isn't the worst place in the world to have to wait around in for half a day. I do speak from personal experience :|.

As for the new ship, I really must say that the photo does not do it justice. The Western Spirit, despite its looks from that particular angle, has its moments. The first day or so, I spent religiously getting lost on every deck. And although I can't be sure, this boat seems to be even more convoluted in its stairways and corridors than others. By now, however, I think I've got my bearings more or less right :).

We are currently sailing through the Malacca Strait. And the crew's religiously on pirate watch :). This isn't quite the Horn of Africa though, so things aren't too dramatic. In a few days we'll be in Myanmese waters, more of the familiar settings. As familiar a one stretch of water can be compared to another I suppose :).

Currently: finding my way
Listening to: The Fray - Maps (cover)