>I am woken by the shuddering of the ship, and a rising elevator feeling. It’s Panama Canal day, yet again. I can’t begin to count how many days I have spent going through the Canal. We don’t have much to do today, only 45 minutes of playing. I hesitate to tell my roommate this, as she is a hard working musician and probably has to sing for 5 hours today.
I take a shower, and the curtain sticks to me the whole time. My roommate has started a coat-hanger forest in the bathroom. Instead of hanging the towels on the prescribed hooks, she has hung hers on coat-hangers and hung these from the hooks. They taking up all the towel hooks. I don’t want to join in on this insanity. I decided yesterday to lay claim to my hook, and hung my towel over the coat hanger on the door. Our bath towels serve as hand towels, so you need to have it somewhere accessible. There are 3 towel hooks, plenty enough for me to claim one for my own. But today when going for my shower, I discover that my towels are now participating in her little game, happily hung on coat hangers around the bathroom. It was a little hard to identify my personal towels, as they are all a non-descript shade of white, and I took a guess.
I asked her about it after. Apparently my towels were blocking her towels.
I went up to lunch, this time on deck 10, taking advantage of my not working during the scheduled 15 minutes when we are permitted to eat there. I meet some of the guys there, and we make sure to load up on fresh salad and chick peas and fresh fruit. Who knows what’s for dinner – but it will probably be fried or boiled.
We find a table inside, away from the Canal heat, and away from the guests. We sit and joke. The Drummer tells a funny story about something that happened in the gym. The Russian orders a beer, which he is known to do at lunch time. A pair or male dancers add to our conversation from across the way. A food fight almost breaks out. We debate ice-cream. Nope. There is a lot of time to kill before going to work. I am not sure what to do with myself. I check the internet. I have to keep an eye on my internet bill, so I make it really short. I read, nap, then decide to go outside for a run.
There is an arrow on the 360 degree teak deck, telling you which way to walk. I go the opposite way, jogging. It is much easier to jog this way, as people see you coming and leap out of your way. Feeling guilty about doing this, after a couple of laps I switch, and keep getting stuck behind people who can’t hear me coming.
We have just cleared the canal, and we are in the Atlantic now – I can see the small boat lined up for transit, and there are cargo ships everywhere.
After running, I go and sit on the bow, and watch as we sail between the breakwater that separates the canal zone from the Atlantic.
I go to eat supper – there’s nothing much to eat. There’s some kind of fish with vegetables. Some pasta, and some weird fried eggplant covered in blue cheese. I try 3 times with different plates of food. All are weird. I am coughing up scales from the fish for the next 2 hours. On my way out, I see Daniel coming in to eat, and sit with him and have some tea while he eats. He seems really excited about the Goulash soup. He says; “I hear there’s no piano upstairs, what are you going to play?” I laugh. Where could a piano go? “They took it away to be painted” he says. Yeah, right.
I get ready for work in my black suit, and head up there. I walk the 10 flights up, as it was my resolution to walk the stairs as much as possible. Sure enough, the Steinway is gone, and a purple keyboard sits in its place. It’s missing a pedal , so I go running around to find one. No way I am taking the stairs now, I already did my bit. I take the elevator down then up, not finding a pedal anywhere.
We play our 45 minutes, and then retreat back downstairs. We go to forage for leftovers in the mess. I lucked out with a huge bowl of fruit salad, from which I picked out all the good fruit for myself.
There’s a movie playing in the theatre, and we all go to see it – Little Miss Sunshine ( a hilarious movie! I laughed so hard I was crying )
After the movie we go to crewbar. I love the bartender there because he gives me free juice. There is no-one there except 40 Croatians, celebrating something patriotic, and singing songs to go with it. “This is how wars start” I say.
The lights come on early, as there is another hour forward on the clocks tonight, and I climb up on my bunk and go to sleep.