As per usual with the job, the information had changed at the last minute. A six day trip to Singapore with three (roughly) days of travel and an anticipated three days of work was always going to be painful. Especially just one day after returning to work in the new year.
Coming back to my opening line, they were never my strong point come to think of it. I arrived into Singapore and was told that I had around 24 hours to finish a three day job. “Right, I do my best” was my pensive reply.
The more marine orientated of my readers will scoff and jeer at my next observation…
Pulling up on the workboat alongside my target ship..I saw a saucy rope ladder dangling 10m down from the deck, just ripe for the pirate picking. Now there may be a romantic impression associated with pirates. Watch ‘Captain Phillips’ and your impression may change somewhat. Although I would dearly love a parrot, mostly for the entertainment value to be honest…having a pirate experience was never high on my agenda. Factor in the 25kg backpack giving that extra sinking factor, my stomach was doing somersaults as the workboat pulled alongside . The rope ladder leered at me like yesterday’s curry in the morning.
I ventured down the deck, mindful of my colleagues watchful eyes. His eyes joined by the eyes of the ship’s crew. Joined by the eyes of the workboat skipper. Joined by the eyes of the sharks awaiting their English lunch.
One hand on the rope, iron grip. First foot on the wood. Like a king I rose above my nemesis. Tentatively one wobbly step at a time. What happens when you feel like you have mastered a process? Of course life throws you a curveball. The damn ladder started wobbling and creaking, like it was going to snap. Delivering me to my watery grave thanks to the tools that I was carrying.
Ignoring the increasing sinking feeling in my stomach. Ignoring the hideous creaking noises emanating from the rope. Ignoring those watching eyes, my journey continued onwards and upwards…more eyes now peering over the edge of the ship.
Reaching the top eventually I felt like I had ran a marathon . Although I don’t have a fear of heights I didnt much want to verify my ascent. On with the abbreviated job…
Without providing too much information, at one point I did believe that I was going to be squashed under 150kg of antenna. The pipe holding the antenna during it’s movement was perilously thin and actually began to bend and fracture. ..whilst I was under the antenna. Fortunately it ended well.
So the end result of the job was on the positive side, which left me with a little free time in Singapore. Now Singapore is my favourite city in the world, closely followed by Seattle. I was not upset to have the extra time let’s say.
Choosing to eat amazing and cheap food in the food courts. Mastering the MRT system to get where I needed cheaply and easily, I really enjoyed it – even feeling like a local
However the hotel I am staying in is located in the CBD (Central Business District). Post 9pm there is almost nothing going on outside. Feeling tired and a little jaded, I headed towards the hotel bar.
The bar was subdued apart from the generic pinoy band playing. To be fair they were pretty good, mostly acoustic songs. The band were drowned out by the multiple groups of very drunken prople. Screaming and shouting, throwing back expensive bottles of Japanese whisky to almost Scottish proportions. One poor guy had fallen asleep on the sofa, his friends trying their best to wake him to drink some more. I nearly suggested stacking things on him as a game.
My mind was cast back to what I had seen in the non touristy part of Chinatown today. People who were very far from rich with severe health problems. Selling napkins and other small things in order to get by. It was a terrible sight to see. I could use other words but they are not appropriate here.
Looking around the bar and listening to people screaming in drunken laughter, This really feels like the wastelands of the playboy and playgirl.
I actually dont know how to end this.
Oh yeah…don’t climb up rope ladders…