WanderingDan’s Weblog

Sittin’ there pickin’ at a chicken on a raft…
February 10, 2014, 12:29 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s day six of the cruise, the first of this, my second contract. The ship’s crew are finishing docking procedures in the port of Honolulu…gears are creaking, metal clanging. The gangway was being readied as I headed to breakfast. Not many people up and moving yet, but then again it is early, not even seven; normally I don’t wake up at five in the morning on a day off, or even on a work day for that matter, but exhaustion put me down at nine-thirty last night, so I guess it wasn’t so early, relatively. Besides, I like working out in the crew gym early, when it is empty…no waiting for weights or benches. There was actually one dude doing squats when I walked in, but he left after five minutes of my arriving…he must’ve gotten there at four-thirty.

 The Grand Princess is treating my like royalty compared to the Queen Elizabeth. Imagine that, going from Queen to Princess and my life is upgraded from peasant to prince. Walking in to my cabin for the first time, it was hard not to wear an impish grin…it is three times bigger than my last one, and there was a bowl of fruit on the table next to my reading chair that my cabin steward, Erwin, left for me. Yes, cabin steward. He is freaking amazing, and has already made my life so comfortable and easy; this spoiling can be gotten used to. The food quality available to me far exceeds my expectations. I am able to order food off the passengers menu in the officer’s mess (here I am considered a two-stripe officer), and the shit is good. Access to fresh fruit, veggies and good fish has inspired me to delve into the waters of becoming a pescatarian…well, I mean mostly…every once in a while I need to sink my teeth into a nice greasy burger.

 It still makes me uncomfortable being called ‘sir’ or ‘doctor’ at every turn, but I’m sure I’ll get used to the titles. The other night after the third of four sea days, nigh exhausted, I went down to check out the crew bar, or more specifically, the crew smoking room. No lab coat, no name tag, just me in jeans and my Beavis & Butthead t-shirt, lighting up one of my last smokes. There is a TV in the room and it was showing soccer highlights from games played that day. The room was filled mostly with dining staff on break, or crew hands just off work, most still in their respective uniforms, responding audibly to epic plays on the sports recap. Surprisingly, for those who know me, I actually enjoyed the ambiance or sports energy in the room. I got some weird looks, but they seemed to be more of a ‘who-is-this-new-guy’ look as opposed to a ‘what-is-a-guy-walking-around-in-a-medical-labcoat-doing-smoking’ type of looks.

 After eight months of vacation, jumping head first into the waters of fast-paced acupuncture practice on ships is a big adjustment. Work is the essentially the same as before: target-driven, teaching seminars, selling packages, treating back pains and sciaticas, the occasionally shoulder or knee injury or arthritis. My patients are great, mostly, very thankful and friendly. I forgot how much pressure I feel holding someone’s health in my hands, knowing for many I am their last resort to restoring quality of life. It is exhausting at times, albeit rewarding.

 We have a U.S. Coast Guard inspection today…ever since coming on board we have been grilled on emergency protocols and safety drills. Once the inspection is over we’ll be granted shore leave…and unlike most ports, we don’t sail away until eleven tonight. Wifi and Waikiki and cold beer will be the order of the day!




1 Comment so far
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Dan, it sounds awesome! So glad for you.

Comment by irina

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