Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mini

I've been wondering how I should explain our trip and I know that several of you have asked for photos. I took some photos, but not a real lot; I just used my phone to record a few memories and I'll share some with you.

But it seems to me that looking back on such a fantastic trip the things that stand out in my mind are the people we met, more than the things we saw. It took us a day or two to unwind and get used to the rhythm of the ship (we have never lived before in such twenty-four-hour luxury!) and it was the people we shared the voyage with that most drew our attention.

I mentioned that there were over a thousand crew members making a ratio of almost one staff for every four passengers — an amazing relationship that required enormous coordination but things couldn't have gone more smoothly. We quickly noticed that almost all the crew were from Asian countries. We seemed to notice a lot of Indians and Filipinos and later on we received a detailed presentation of the ship and found out that, in fact, Filipinos were in the majority with over five hundred on board.

There were also many Indians, as we'd noticed, and people from south-east Asian countries like Burma and Korea. What made this so interesting was that each crew member wore a lapel badge giving his or her full name, country of origin, and a representation of that country's flag.

At our first port of call in Katalono we noticed a pretty girl working the security desk — scanning disembarking passenger's cards and checking oncoming luggage, and so on. A glance at her badge told us she was from Nepal, which was an unexpected surprise and an obvious conversation-starter.

Her name was Mini and we immediately struck up a conversation with her to find out how she liked her job and how long she'd been working here. She is from Kathmandu and when we told her that our daughter has lived there for many years now (must be over ten, anyway) she was very excited! She said she was the only crew member from Nepal and there were times she felt a wee bit homesick but she brightened up to here of Evangeline and wanted to take her address.

Mini said she's already been working on this run for eight months and she'd had her contract extended for two months bringing her expiration date to the middle of March, at which time she planned to go home for a break. We encouraged her to get in touch with Eva and then Sarah remembered that Eva stocks up on Earl Grey tea when she comes out to Europe so we decided it might be fun to buy some and give it to Mini to convey to her. We picked some up, finally, on our stop in Palestine (Ashdod) as well as a little box of chocolates called "Merci!" which we thought was appropriate.

Mini was quite touched and took her courier job very seriously saying that she'd call Eva on March 16th and give her the tea. We got to see her every time we disembarked and when at last we said goodbye in Savona we felt quite like we were leaving a friend.

I'm very sorry to say that I realized too late that I hadn't taken a photo of her to remember her by or to share with you so you'll just have to imagine her lovely smile.

Having told you about Mini I'll now try to dig out a photo or two to give you some idea of the wonderful time we had. This first one is a quick shot of Sarah at the moment we first boarded our ship to discover all it had to offer: the Costa Pacifica.

This next shot is not illuminated by a flash; rather you're seeing the very thing we went to get — sun!

Here is our first sight of Greece, the little port of Katakolo.


Later on we entered into Athens' busy port of Pireas. Here we took a bus tour of the city of Athens as we travelled up to Corinth to see the ruins of the old city and the amazing canal which was apparently first started by Emperor Nero and then Napoleon but was not finished until 1893.

I'm going to stop here, so as not to make this page too heavy for you to load and also because I have a dozen more important things to do than this (forgive my candour!) :-)

I'll be back tomorrow with some more pictures of Corinth as well as a few of our memories and impressions of the area. Drive safely and be kind to someone today!




1 comment:

  1. You didn't take a camera with you? Well, these are good photos anyway and I'm enjoying the play-by-play...

    ReplyDelete