I’ve been off the ship for a week now, having completed my 4th contract. The last cruise for people tends to be quite enjoyable, as everyone gets nostalgic and extra friendly. It’s like it’s your birthday. (The second last cruise, however can be a bit weird because sometimes, people think that it’s your last cruise and they’re extra nice, then halfway through the cruise they realize that you’re not leaving just yet and get all awkward on you. Like it was some sort of one-night stand of friendliness.)
Anyway, after each contract, I try to look back and review how things went. Sort of like a year-end review. I’m not sure why it would be significant. Maybe it’s just a good measure to take stock of what we say we would accomplish and what we actually did.
Looking back, my first contract was by far the best and I was very sad to leave. But isn’t that always the case? When you do something for the first time, you’re going to be bright-eyed and bushy tailed. Everything is new and shiny. The draconian rules are a novelty and the quirks of ship life are amusing.
But my second contract was not as smooth sailing, so to speak.
The same Caribbean iteniary got old and some quirks of ship life stopped being cute. Towards the end I was quite looking forward to leaving. However, after having spent a few days in dry-dock my opinion had changed. People suddenly acted nicer to each other, as the prospect of everyone leaving that ship, for the final time, bore reality. When it was time to go, I actually felt a bit nostalgic.
My third contract was a dream. I was in South America for the first time and was seeing lots of new sights. Apart from being jumped by 2 men in Peru I would say that it was a good contract. For one thing, I had to return to the ship with one ass cheek exposed, as my attacker had ripped my shorts in the kefuffle. Having an ass cheek exposed in the middle of a foreign city really makes you re-evaluate your choices in life.
Anyway in the end, I was not looking forward to leaving the ship, to the point that I was worried I was becoming institulionalized to ship life!
Which brings us to my fourth contract. On paper, it looked like it would be amazing. It should have been amazing. I was in the Mediterrean, visiting Italy, Greece and Turkey. I visited the ancient cities of Pompeii and Ephesus. I saw the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Parthenon in Athens and the Leaning Tower in Pisa. I really can’t complain. I should have been blown away but instead I felt dead inside. Defeated, like a battered wife in an abusive marriage.
Okay, I’m totally kidding. I just wanted to write all that for dramatic effect. The truth is, although I’m not one to call myself a tourist, seeing all those famous ancient landmarks gave me that same giddy feeling I felt, the first time I went to a strip club. Well, maybe not the same. But quite similar.
However, I found that I had much less time to maintain this blog, which was disappointing. And I did notice that I was becoming more emotionally detached. Perhaps it was the lack of human interaction as I mostly worked by myself in a refrigerated, windowless room. Or maybe I had become jaded from having to say goodbye to people every cruise. People can come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime, but when you’re traveling it very much feels like just the first two.
Whatever it is, it was still a good contract. I liked it and I’m glad I did it. Mostly!