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Sunday 4 May 2014

Cadiz, Gibralter, Malaga, Barcelona, Toulon, Mahon and why I’ve been so Lazy with my blogging..

OK, I’m stalling with this blog. I started letting my one-post-per-port system drop in Cadiz.

Cadiz was a port where second time around, literally nothing happened. It was extremely boring, I only had two hours off.

Then came Gibraltar. The problem with Gibraltar was is was far, far too interesting.

In crew bar the night before, I'd overheard a conversation between two people I vaguely know, talking about finding a camera shop in Gibraltar. Ears burning, I butted in and said 'hey, I know where there's a camera shop in Gibraltar'. The girl who was asking, I'll refer to as L, as I’ve been trying not to name people in this public blog. The result was we went into Gibraltar together the next day to find the camera shop where I bought my card reader.

The shop was shut, so we started walking up the hill to find some monkeys (or Barbary Apes as they really are). We found some, but the castle turned out to be too expensive for either of us. By means of apology for dragging her up and down a small mountain, I bought L a coffee. On the way back down, I walked her down the main street, which, as I now know, is thick with pro camera shops. I'd made a friend for life.

First day I didn't know what L made of me, but considering we've spent most of our time together since we became firm friends that day.

I don't really want to bring any other characters into this blog besides myself, but as I’m barely leaving the boat without L at the minute, it's impossible to leave her out.

Malaga I spent the whole day trying to find an HSBC bank to register my pin with. After walking miles down a road tourist info said there might be an HSBC down, and finding nothing but Santanders I began trying my card with it's brand new pin in every machine I could find. Finally, I came up trumps. 'La Caxia' would not let me see my balance or change my pin, but it would give me cash. Nice to know that if my card was pinched they couldn't do anything with it – except steal all my money.

Barcelona, I overslept. Probably because the night before I'd spent several hours dancing with and chatting to L. Without making this into something it isn't, I’ve genuinely found one of the most fascinating people I’ve ever met. Anyhow, I only got to see a couple of hours of the city, and with the boat moored a half hour walk away from the city it took me an age to get there, but I ended up at the second hand market in the bottom of Los Rambles. I got a few pressies and a patch for my Uke case. It reads 'Cat Power' who are a band I saw at Glastonbury, but somehow I don't think this patch was made for them. I have to find out what it means.... it makes me uneasy knowing its on there without knowing its other meaning.

In Malaga I'd bought rope and thread. I'd already found a needle in the carpet of my cabin and I set about making an adjustable carry-strap for my ukulele case. I’ve realised in previous blog posts that the Ukulele is a flirting master-tool. Sorry, friend-making master-tool I mean. Now my uke travels with me to every city.

The next day was Toulon, and I got up mega early with L to hit the port before she stared work. We accidentally found a rock festival, and listened to this amazing French jam band, a bit like Santana, but funkier, with two gorgeous dreaklocked girls singing and playing guitar. We walked around the port, L with her SLR, talking and occasionally she'll freeze, turn the camera on and photograph something inane. When I look on the view screen at the back, the mundane has become beautiful. It's weird.

My sets have been getting better and better this week. My playing's just dropping into place, mainly thanks to Steve, who's back on board today, raving it up with us in Crew Bar. Today L heard me properly for the first time, be it from around the corner where she was photographing passengers in front of a giant fake sunset. 'It frames you nicely!' I told her as we chatted, her SLR in her hands as always, like an extension of her body.

It was Mahon today. I love Mahon.We wondered up through the town, and walked out in the non-obvious direction, right from the port. We found a track leading out into idyllic countryside, unfamiliar plants and wildlife. We walked out as far as we could, both photographing everything. We were rewarded by a few of true rural Spain. This is what Laurie Lee must have seen and experienced, and a side of Spain neither of us had seen before. On the way back we got wonderfully lost, and climbed down the giant port wall by a different method. Tiered with gardens and wonderful views, L climbed over the wall, thrusting her camera at me. 'Hold please'. So as L climbed precariously out onto the port wall, photographing the perfect abyss of the harbour, with silt diggers on barge penetrating the blue, I sang her songs on my ukulele.

We came back down to find L's Indonesian colleague, a cheerful photographer, also with a permanent SLR addiction. Only N is most commonly found deeply lost in her phone. We played on the swings, taking turns and crazy pictures with all three cameras. I lay on the floor singing nonsense songs.

'We're sailing in the Majesty
On the Mediterranean sea
If only had wifi for free
You would be our heaven'

All to soon we had to get back on board ship, but things are changing. I was wondering how I was going to get through 3 months of solid Majesty ship life, now I don't know how I’m going to leave it behind.

'Two months was a very long time now
Two months is a very short time
Toulon is-a bright sunshine and
Gibraltar is a very long climb'

Well, at least I’m writing again.

Love you and miss you all,

Sam xxx

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