Back into real time, I thought I would share with you the magnificent view from my porthole as I am writing this at, midnight tonight.
June 28 2009, 12 midnight at 60 degrees north, en route from Helsinki to Stockholm.
I would call this the midnight sun – or as I was corrected by our resident Russian, “White Nights”
We only have one resident Russian dancer left now, as everyone’s favourite Russian was let go for an alcohol related incident. *actually there was no incident, only that he was drunk and tested for alcohol The rules are getting stricter by the day, and of course with increasing fears of insurance and lawsuit cruise ships aren’t what they were 5 years ago. The lone Russian sits at the bar with his own bottle of wine, morose that he is the only straight man left in his group. Luckily for him the band has gained a Russian, or a Moldavian but close enough. One of a long string of trombone players of which none have seemed to work out yet – except the previous guy, a temp, who by coincidence was sharing our stage with his elementary school to college music teacher on Saxophone! What a funny world.
I am really enjoying this Scandinavian Summer – it has been sunny for a change this year – something I was wondering about, because I often refer to our Scandinavian Summer Season as my ‘winter,’ it often being that cold. After saving what I feel is my quota I am learning to relax more about spending in euros and having that coffee or ice cream ashore. And combined with the weather and my new sport of Geocaching, I am having a great time ashore. Helsinki today was possibly the warmest I have ever seen it. Traditionally it is raining every time we stop there.
Russia is an ever-increasing rip-off, but I still love it. The price for a daily shore pass has risen to $16 (was it not $7 in years past?) but I will still go each and every day I can. It’s truly amazing to watch a country grow richer and richer. It wasn’t even 5 years ago that I would don my oldest clothes in an attempt to blend in. Now I have to dress as fashionably as possible to avoid disdainful stares from Devoushkas on the train. I was feeling a bit of a ragamuffin in Bordeaux the other day so I got a new sundress and luckily my Brazillian friend smuggled me the latest Havaianas ($45 euros here, 15 dollars in Brazil!) That and a swanky new pair of shades, and all the Russians were calling me ‘Devoushka,’ my big fear being the day they will stop calling me that (it meaning ‘young lady’)
As far as the people go around here, I am continually losing faith in them. It still retains a high school atmosphere among the crew and members of the entertainment staff, and I long to get away from this. Sometimes I feel that once someone decided that I wasn’t ‘cool’ it became acceptable for people to disrespect me. Is this the real life? (or just fantasy)
I don’t really blame them, as their leaders are the same – when we were putting up the new show, the two ladies who choreograph and build the shows (who are very good at what they do) would come up and talk to me – for example, about what I planned to wear on stage. I said, oh, a dress, a black one – and they said – ‘can you please bring it to us so we can approve it? We just want to make sure you look like a Lady’ and on that (as if choreographed) they turn on their heels with a very audible sigh of exasperation, and roll their eyes without thinking that I am seeing this. It was like ‘Mean Girls’ except with 60 year old’s.
Luckily I have the other musicians, who are the best, and help to remind me that the others surrounding us are living a life of fantasy. And Sherwin, of course, who brings me cheese. (I am currently living on a diet of goats cheese and brie, smuggled of course) Where else could I live a life of such luxury?
The other day, a friend hooked us up with some sushi. When I say this, I mean a whole fish.
Have you ever bought sushi fish in the store? You will know that a small piece of 200 grams could fetch 8 dollars or so. This was a whole, giant, frozen, yellow fin tuna. It must have been worth a hundred dollars. We were dumbfounded. We thawed it out in the sink and carved it into sashimi pieces. Keeping it in the fridge, we tried to eat it all within three days, which was mostly at midnight when we finished work. Unfortunately we couldn’t share it with even our closest friends, being such extreme contraband. The day after we finished the fish, I got a surprise cabin inspection. Security is getting wise to my tricks, because on this day they neglected to yell their usual “Security! Cabin Inspection!” and all I heard was a very friendly knock, to which I immediately opened the door. No time to hide anything, and they saw the forbidden wasabi and soya sauce, and commented that it looked like I was running a sushi bar. They also saw my ten apples, rotting kiwi fruit, and coat hangers on the curtains. But no ticket, or warning.
I have been writing for nearly an hour now, and since we put the clocks back one hour it could very well still be midnight. Below is the latest from the porthole and you can see nothing much has changed. Or is it getting lighter? Might this be sunrise, sunset, or both at once?
Goodnight, Sherwin will be coming home soon (to the cabin) and bringing an insanely large (industrial-sized) log of goat cheese.
*He usually doesn’t put it in the buffet line because it makes such a mess to clean. ‘Sayonara, Goat Cheese,’ he would say to it as he threw it in the trash, until, of course, I volunteered to take it.