Saturday, August 18, 2007

I picture you in the sun...

...wondering what went wrong
And falling down on your knees, asking for sympathy
And being caught in between all you wish for and all you've seen
And trying to find anything you can feel that you can believe in
May God's love be with you
May God's love be with you

It's somewhat ironic that the day I decide to update my blog is the day my little sister (hi, Jess!) leaves a comment on my last entry, asking me to update my blog - funny little coincidence there. Ahem.

Well, we're well and truly in the Burning Lands now. The temperature's been cresting a 100* Farenheit every day, the humidity ranging between 80 and 100%, the sun bright and cruel. This is our second time ducking into Jebel Ali, the port area of Dubai (or a neighboring city to Dubai, I'm not entirely sure - this whole area is very, very peculiar). We're working hard - running into port, loading massive amounts of cargo, unrepping the local battlefleet and running back in to rinse and repeat. It's pretty miserable, and the heat is murder - but the money's good, and it actually feels pretty nice to be working. The pace on the Supply when we're in the States is slow, the work pretty boring - it's good to be doing something for a change, and the faster pace of the work fills the days and makes them rush by pretty quickly. Well, usually - standing on the pier under the sun, a minute feels like an hour.

I'm keeping hydrated, refilling my Camelbak M.U.L.E (3-liter) two and even three times throughout the day, but I keep sweating it out as fast as I can suck it down - had some serious trouble with heat rash and chafing when we first got into the Gulf, but I think I'm over the worst of it now - just gotta keep changing my shirt as it gets soaked. I've found wearing an undershirt helps a lot, too... but that's probably more than anyone really wanted to know.

My external harddrive, "Wanderer", finally died on me the other day - it's been giving me a lot of problems lately, and finally gave up the ghost. I was lucky it did so on a day when we were in port - Dubai has a lot of electronics stores, and I managed to replace it within the day with a 160 GB model. Also picked up a nice set of headphones - together, the two cost me 700 dirham, about $200. After dinner at the Emirates mall, I had a couple pints of Guinness at the Seaman's Center in town, where a shipmate asked me to play wingman for him when he made his approach on a tableful of British chicks. Figured what the hell, ended up spending much of the rest of the night talking with them - turned out they were sailors off the HMS Richmond, although they kept Dino (my shippie) preoccupied by claiming they were in the UAE on a cruise ship, on holiday. Pretty amusing watching him try to prove that they were military - he finally got one to slip and spill the beans, probably 'cause she was the drunkest of the bunch. They eventually split off, and after hitting a couple more clubs Dino and I called it a night.

Next night I had duty (again - hurray for money!), and was suckered into washing the ship. We hooked a firehose up to the pier potable water source, and got busy spraying all the dust off the bulkheads and deck. Had a nervous moment when I spotted three women on the other side of the wall of connex boxes that surround our section of the pier; they seemed kind of off color. When I saw one of them gesturing at the ship and making counting gestures, I tipped off one of our security det. When he and I walked outside, they split.

Might be nothing; might be something. It's the thing I hate most about being over here, other than the heat; you never know when someone's being friendly 'cause they're friendly people, 'cause they're trying to get you to buy something, or 'cause they're getting ready to stick a knife in your back. They say Dubai's safe for us, or they wouldn't be letting us pull in; but there are way too many people with guns on board for me to really relax out here.

The odd cultural blend around here throws me sometimes, too. The stores one sees in the mall are often the same ones you'll find in the States, and people, I've found, are basically the same everywhere you go - same clothes, same attitudes, same mannerisms. Then you walk by a pack of women in burquas, or the mall PA system starts playing the call to prayer, and you suddenly remember you're a stranger in a strange land. So, in conclusion: I hate the sun. I miss home. But I love the money, and Lord knows I could use it right now. Keep on keeping on.

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