Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Six months at sea, 11 and a half hours in the air.

Six Months at Sea

I had an 11 and a half hour flight ahead of me on 7 August. It promised to be a drag. I had left Jakarta 3 hours earlier and boarded the flight from Singapore to Frankfurt last night.

Once on board the 747-400, I realised my seat was hard up against the galley and there was no room to recline the seat. It looked more uninviting each minute. But I hadn’t counted on my two lively companions. I heard bottles clinking in plastic bags as the pair sat down. They introduced themselves as Alex and Mikhael. Alexander Alexanderov, is a 23 year old from Sevastapol, in Ukraine. And Mikhael Mikhaelov, a 50 year old from Sofia in Bulgaria.

“It is time for drinking” said Mikael in Russian. As he drank, Alex told me his story. Born in Ukraine, he was lucky to have a good English teacher at high school. From school he joined the Ukrainian Navy as an able seaman and a few years ago, joined a German shipping company where he is a deck hand. He gets US$ 1200 a month and works for six months at a stretch and then takes a few months off before rejoining one of the company’s ships. His friend Mikhael is the ship’s cook.

“ I don’t like the f---ing Germans,” he said so almost all the Germans on the flight could hear. I tried to shrink. They are still bitter after the wars they fought with Russia and our Ship's Captain treats us badly,“ he added.

At the rate they were drinking it appeared they would exhaust the stocks so I dropped off to sleep for a few minutes.I awoke to see Mikhael making a stop sign with his hands and arms in front of my eyes and he said “stop sleeping and join us for more drinking.” Alex filled my glass with whiskey, it tasted like a single malt.

“ We left our ship after six months today in Singapore and are drinking,” shouted Alex. If I hadn’t noticed. They were speaking so loudly that various flight attendants came up and asked them to be quiet so people can sleep.

Alex told me he was single and supported his Mother and Father, sister and grandparents and was able to save a little. “Money is everything, that is all people think about in my country,” he said.

“I hate nationalists” he said. “We had the orange revolution and everyone wants to be totally independent from Russia, but without Russia we are nothing, “ he fumed passionately.

Mikhael started telling me in Russian and broken English about his wife and two daughters. His eyes were misty as he told me lovingly about his daughter being seriously ill.

“ Money, and looking after your familiy is what life is about,” said Alex as he scoffed another whiskey. Despite his alcoholic haze, Alex continued his story, and told me he wanted to become an officer and go back to school.

I have a great lovee of Russian poetry and opened the subject with Alex. ”Puskin was a great poet” said Alex as he broke into Russian quoting him with gusto Alex was winding up now as an attendant tried to quiet him down. “Then there is, Dostoyevsky, and Anton Checkov, now he’s a joker, and our own Shevchenko,” he puffed proudly.

Meanwhile Mikhael was getting agitated as Alex was ignoring him and talking only to me. They pushed and shoved each then embraced. They had another drink and vowed to their undying friendship.“

“ I love the sunsets at sea and seeing the dolphins and whales playing near to our ship, “Alex slurred to me.

Mikhael and Alex fell asleep after ten hours of flying time. A potentially long and boring trip made the flight pass in a flash.

Story telling is alive in Ukraine and Bulgaria.


Anonymous said...

This site was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found
something that helped me. Thanks!

Here is my site - best diet

oakleyses said...

nike free, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet store, tory burch outlet online, coach outlet store online, longchamp handbags, michael kors outlet online sale, polo ralph lauren, michael kors handbags, louis vuitton, prada outlet, ray ban outlet, burberry outlet online, nike air max, coach purses, coach outlet, nike outlet, chanel handbags, true religion outlet, christian louboutin shoes, red bottom shoes, gucci handbags, coach outlet, louis vuitton outlet online, tiffany and co jewelry, michael kors outlet online, oakley vault, cheap oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton handbags, nike air max, prada handbags, true religion, louis vuitton outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, longchamp outlet, louis vuitton outlet, tiffany jewelry, kate spade outlet, burberry outlet online, christian louboutin outlet, jordan shoes, christian louboutin, kate spade outlet online, longchamp outlet online, michael kors outlet

oakleyses said...

air max pas cher, hollister, longchamp pas cher, converse pas cher, ralph lauren, nike air max, air jordan, sac vanessa bruno, abercrombie and fitch, scarpe hogan, sac michael kors, louis vuitton uk, michael kors canada, new balance pas cher, ray ban pas cher, nike roshe, hermes pas cher, true religion outlet, ralph lauren pas cher, tn pas cher, nike free, vans pas cher, north face, nike roshe run, nike air force, nike air max, hollister, sac louis vuitton, burberry pas cher, oakley pas cher, michael kors uk, ray ban uk, mulberry uk, north face pas cher, chaussure louboutin, guess pas cher, louis vuitton, nike blazer pas cher, air max, barbour, lululemon outlet online, lacoste pas cher, timberland, longchamp, louis vuitton pas cher, true religion jeans, nike free pas cher

oakleyses said...

bottega veneta, ugg boots clearance, north face jackets, herve leger, wedding dresses, insanity workout, jimmy choo shoes, soccer jerseys, ugg outlet, mcm handbags, beats headphones, canada goose outlet, chi flat iron, ferragamo shoes, ghd, ugg, canada goose outlet, uggs outlet, asics shoes, giuseppe zanotti, nike trainers, longchamp, soccer shoes, vans outlet, p90x workout, valentino shoes, north face jackets, mac cosmetics, mont blanc pens, nike huarache, babyliss, abercrombie and fitch, replica watches, uggs on sale, celine handbags, new balance outlet, reebok shoes, canada goose outlet, nike roshe, marc jacobs outlet, ugg boots, hollister, ugg outlet, birkin bag, canada goose, lululemon outlet, ugg soldes, instyler ionic styler, nfl jerseys

oakleyses said...

iphone 6 case, timberland shoes, louis vuitton canada, nike air max, moncler outlet, toms outlet, hollister, air max, moncler, canada goose, pandora charms, pandora uk, hollister canada, oakley, louboutin, converse, ralph lauren, wedding dress, ray ban, swarovski jewelry, baseball bats, parajumpers outlet, pandora jewelry, canada goose, gucci, moncler, thomas sabo uk, ugg, montre femme, canada goose pas cher, vans, uggs canada, swarovski uk, juicy couture outlet, canada goose, lancel, converse shoes, hollister clothing, coach outlet, links of london uk, moncler outlet, replica watches, karen millen, moncler, supra shoes, moncler, juicy couture outlet, moncler