13th January, 2020
These new passengers are SAVAGE!
2 days into the 99 days World Voyage, during the $10 sale I’ve been already told:
“I wouldn’t want this crap if it was free.”, and been asked: ”Have you been a failure your whole life or is that a new thing for you?” - that’s because we had no further discount on $10 watch. A world of difference from the uber regal and uber wealthy Brits on our UK to US Transatlantic Crossing.
My favourite is Aida. Full of hilarious stories - she worked as an accident emergency dispatcher for 25 years and kept diaries all throughout, so I think she might have a book inside her yet. The first time we met, she leaned over our promo table, looked me right in the eye & said:
“I pitty you. Chained to the table, having to sell this load of rubbish.” And I nodded and replied: ”My thoughts exactly.” Which is strictly against the code of conduct and I care very little about that. In that instant a friendship was ignited, which would make me hunt & smuggle some pastel de natas from Lisbon onto our ship for her, as she mentioned how she enjoyed those and that she wouldn’t disembark today.
Each port day we get to explore the world outside for a few hours (usually back to the ship 3.30pm, back to work 6-10pm). Straight up at breakfast I run to the window with a child-like exhilaration to see the endless gray & blue of the world’s oceans & seas replaces with sometimes industrial, sometimes Lost World-like backdrop. Today, however, there’s literally nothing to see other than a thick milky fog (another thing - together with the iconic red bridge - Lisbon stole from San Francisco). I thought for a moment we might have died during the night & we’re now in the Limbo...well, trapped inside & in the roles of shoppees for eternity that’d mean surely we’re in Hell.
As you find often in life though, when the sun travelled higher up in the sky, we saw the misty blanket lifting to reveal a colourful puzzle of Lisbon city underneath. We navigated between the street vendors trying to get you to buy knock-offs the famous brands of sunglasses (and when you seemed disinterested in those, they’d straight up follow with a bag of weed), worked those glutes climbing the famously steep streets up to the viewpoint.
My favourite bit of Lisbon exploration is Convento Do Carmo - Game of Thrones meets Harry Potter former convent with several churches dating back to the 14th century, now housing an archeological museum and some creepy Peruvian child mummies, guarded by a cat that miaws strangely.
The ‘25th of April Bridge’ experience totally turned my legs into jelly, so very grateful the bridge museum assistant offered us some vouchers for free beers in the nearby Village Underground - a place that felt like home (London). I could literally picture this type of hipster sea containers eatery in Shoreditch or Hackney and yes, I am ashamed to say we ordered burgers (although vegan ones) & totally abused their wifi to download some music, tv shows, Joker & Judy that once again - I’m ashamed to watch on our small tablet screen, but there’s no cinema in our life for at least the next 6 months. The exploration into the pleasures of Portuguese cuisine postponed until the next time.
Lisbon reminded me of my uni city - Brno - if it had the sea it always wanted and lacked, with a ton of pastry thrown on top.
It’s just a few hours to explore each time, but when it goes well, oh it’s glorious & you come back to work with a refreshed mind, palette & feet (foot spray finally purchased!), and a litre of $10 vodka from the port’s duty free shop - all of which combined makes for much more enjoyable return back to work for an evening shift & being hopeful and excited again about his whole ship life experience. Two days to Sicily!!!