Sunday, November 26, 2006

Days on the Doulos

Once we had returned from our break, Daniel was pretty busy, partly with his general waterman work, but mostly because he was involved in two types of training: one to pass his 'efficient deck-hand' qualification, and one to train as cox-swain for the lifeboats. That meant we got evenings together, but not so much time during the day - although the first course had a couple of much shorter days, as the people involved were all fairly knowledgeable. There was a written test at the end, with a pass mark of 70%, and Dan said he got about 97% so we were most impressed.

The really good thing about the Vivo Centre port was that we could pop off and on the ship whenever we liked, directly into the mall or elsewhere. It was good from the ship's point of view too, since it was a brand new mall with thousands of visitors, many of whom decided to see the Doulos too. Singapore's newest shopping centre right next to the world's oldest passenger ship... a good combination. On the last day at the berth, there were apparently about 20,000 visitors.

One evening we took Dan and his colleague St├ęphane, the senior waterman out for ice creams, and ended up at the highly priced but excellent Haagen-Daaz shop, where we could choose from a wide variety of ice creams and toppings. There were even some sorbets, so Tim could have a dairy-free version. We only went there once - other ice-creams were a lot less expensive on other days! - but it was fun as a treat.

The top of the mall had an open deck, with a paddling pool, plants, wooden floorboards, and curvy structures. All built according to the latest feng shui principles, no doubt, and very attractive too. We liked looking down at the Doulos in her dress lights at night. Although as we watched there were a couple of power cuts!

Another day we bought a dragonfruit, something Dan described beforehand as a cross between apetunia and a pineapple:

- inside the consistency is a bit like soft pears, or kiwi fruit with black seeds. Refreshing, though a bit bland. But pleasant enough - and much nicer than most tropical fruits, in my opinion!

During the daytimes we read, or went out, although I gave up trying to upload photos or blogging as the connection at McDonald's was too slow and we were only allowed half an hour at a time. It was nice to relax and do very little, at least in my opinion!

On Monday 20th November, the book exhibition was closed and the Doulos moved to another port, the Cruise Centre berth - not far away, but with no easy access. To get off and on the ship in this place, we had to go through a long corridor rather like an airport terminal, and through extensive security - bags scanned, passports and Doulos passes checked each time. I gather this was still much easier for the Doulos folk than many of the ports they had visited!

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