We will be in dry-dock in Baltimore for the weekend. It’s very exciting with loads of people bustling about.
It wasn’t long after the old crew disembarked that they had the new owner’s crew and contractors arrive. They are all here for the changeover ie. to rip shit up and give it brand new look.
Previously on the ship, we had a ratio of about 9:1 men to women. But now, it’s closer to 30:1. Seriously, anyone who looks remotely feminine is stared down like a jelly donut at a fat kids’ camp.
I made a mental note not to wear anything pink for the next few days.
Work carried on with equipment packing and stuff. And later on in the evening, we were told that we had shore leave. We get to go out on a Saturday night?! Yes!
Until you’ve worked on ships, you can’t really appreciate how awesome it is to be in town at night, let alone on a Saturday night. It’s similar to when when you were a teenager and you were allowed to go to a club for the first time, except now you have less pimples and more money.
So off we went, me in my trademark winter coat, The Beast. We were a ragtag bunch of crew. There were too few of the old crew left to be bothered anymore with cliques. Funny how people are more open when they have less choice.
We went to a pub for dinner. It’s hilarious watching a senior officer, expecting to get preferential treatment on land. You’re stripes mean nothing here, you need to have personality. Who am I kidding, you only need to have money.
After dinner, we wanted to go out dancing. Now, when I think of dancing I think of clubbing. But I guess when white people think of dancing, they think of a bar with slightly less furniture and better music. Basically, they need to be somewhere they can drink enough so that they can sway to the music, without the commitment of actually dancing.
Whatever, I wasn’t fussed so off we went. This bar seemed really weird though. There were women everywhere. There was also a small stage with a stripper pole is always good time. It’s like swinging on a swing except you don’t need anyone to push you. But sometimes you lose a few clothes.
Unfortunately, I was quickly told that I wasn’t allowed on stage. What was going on? I also saw a couple of drunk girls kissing. Were we at a lesbian bar? It was then that I remembered that in the real world, it’s normal for a bar to have 50% women. Wow.
This bar was so divvy that it was actually good. The bartenders were gorgeous blondes who were very skilled at opening bottled beers. Unfortunately, they did not seem to posses any other qualities one may expect from a bartender ie. how to make mixed drinks. The Long Island Iced Tea had the wrong ingredients and tasted like bleach. The Sex On The Beach tasted more like sex in prison (ie. not as enjoyable). We ordered some B52s from one but had to guide her on how to layer each spirit. Once it was done, she was so pleased with her handiwork that she took a photo of the shots!
And of course, there were the mandatory dodgy immigrants, walking around selling roses at the bar. I’m always surprised that this business model actually works. And if so, why not extend their brand potential? They could sell potted plants, seeds and maybe even fertilizer. Why not?
One thing I forgot about drinking on land is that it’s 4x more expensive than on the ship. Ouch. Also, at 1:30am we were suddenly told that it was last call. 30 minutes later, we were all kicked out.
It was absolute chaos outside. We were in the bar district so there must have been hundreds of people milling about, unsure of what to do now. Fights were breaking out everywhere and there was a cacophony of shouting, laughter and cat-calls. Someone walked by one of our girls and asked her if she was a hooker. (Kinda funny because she does kinda dress like a hooker. Not a high-class one though.)
I asked someone for directions to where we could get pizza and he replied “at the gay bar“. Now if someone wants to start trash-talking, they better get themselves a tissue because I’m not going to let down. So I replied “why is your mom there?”
Next thing I know I hear the guy shouting “Taliban! Taliban!” and him and 5 of his mates started running towards us 3 guys (the others scattered). We stood our ground but one of our guys decided to run up to one of them. Somehow he got sucker-punched from the back and went down. The 6 of them proceeded to kick him so we jumped in to pulled him out. They began to wildly swinging at us and all of us got punched in the face. Over the years, I’ve had a lot of stupid things happen to my face. I’ve been kicked in the head by a bull, ran into a door once and flew off my bike and landed on my face. But l’ve never been punched in the face so I was expecting it to hurt a lot. However, these guys obviously learnt how to throw a punch from a Wii rather than from the streets as their soft hands hardly did any damage. Seriously, I’ve been in pillow fights that have hurt more.
I never understand why guys enjoy fighting when they are drunk. All I want to do is hug, kiss or fuck. So I guess technically this is the first time in my life that I’ve been in a real fight. The closest time before was in London, when a guy threw a table at me and then ran away. And there’s that time back in uni when someone wanted to start a fight with me so I slapped him in the balls. They called me Ballslapper after that and no one messed with me ever again.
But this time, it was serious and it looked like we had to fight. 6 vs 3 were bad odds so I had no choice but to reach for an empty bottle to even the odds a bit. Fortunately one of crew stopped us and said it was not worth going to jail for. We were all foreign after all and I didn’t need the cops to think I’m part of the Taliban as well.
So we walked away. They still followed us and gave a few cheap shots but eventually stopped. I imagine it’s not much fun to punch someone if they aren’t getting hurt.
Truth be told, I thought it was quite funny being called a Taliban. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me. Unless those words are “fatty fatty bom bom”. That’s what I was called in primary school. No wonder I have image issues to this day!