Flat out like a lizard running...

To my lovely friends,

I have been slack and extremely busy and haven't kept the whole blog-thing as updated as I should've. I'm sorry! Forgive me? I hope you will!

The month of June has been NUTS! Birthdays almost EVERYDAY, Internet access being down because the Satellite was broken/down/broken, and having many special friends staying onboard [Cara - till 14th June, then Jessie, Emma and Michele from 13th-27th, then Liza and Mieke from the 20th-ish till the 4th] while doing many things i've never done before and having a blast in a city I was sure would scare my head off!

So - for those who get my newsletters, I am aiming to shoot one off any day now. But don't hold your breath [you might pass out].

But i'm still alive! And in 6 days we sail to Cambodia! Oh my goodness!

Pray for us! For the 5.5 day voyage [where i'll be working in the Engine Room - no injuries I hope!] and that we'll arrive safely in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

Love you and love your stuff! Leave some comments - I like comments! :D

The 11th day of June.. one not to be forgotten

I woke up on this day and had to be amazed. Why? It wasn't just because another day had begun, or that the birds were possibly chirping out side - only we can't hear them inside the ship. No. It was because I realised I live on a ship, I'm in Hong Kong and - its my birthday [well it was on the 11th anyway].

Then the excitement began. I would have to face the Mob [the Mob is the crazy Douloids I live with who - on someones birthday - make alot of noise]. I had barely stepped into the Dining Room when a roar of banging began [and when I say roar I am not exaggerating] as Douloids who were present in the Dining room began banging the tables before beginning to sing the Doulos "Happy Birthday"... it is like your usual birthday song, only with alot of "Woo!"'s involved. And everyone looks at you. And its just embarrassing.

So I smiled and thanked them and preceeded to get breakfast when I was 'presented' with a McDonalds bag [egg and bacon burger] from one of our STEPers [short termers onboard], and then after sitting for not even 2 minutes, was then presented with a plate full of French Toast from another STEPer. And then mobbed by others with hugs. Oh my LIFE!!!

Its actually quite hard to have a birthday onboard a ship with 300+ crew. Lots of people want to hug you and have a short chat but there are often people behind them who cut infront. Its a little awkward! Ha!

My big birthday was complete with a teaching session and working the late shift, but that was nice because it meant I got to chill in the afternoon for a couple of hours. The teaching session is for crowd control, dealing with situations onboard involving the general public, reporting hazardous things or suspect looking people and stowaway searching. Joy. But our speaker, Al White, was an entertaining man, full of random statements, a flying monkey intended to wake everyone up with its evil scream and complete with a few tattoos on his arms. Classy. He was great to listen to. And he was sly! He had a plan that involved me and I didn't know I was apart of...

About 3/4 way into the session he gets everyone to stand up, and after doing so he tells Gary, our veteran onboard, to 'take it away'. So Gary starts banging the table [sounding familiar, people?] and yes, begins another "Happy Birthday" sing-a-long! ACK! Embarrassing! Then the crazyness dies down and we get back to the REAL issue [dealing with frantic people who've lost a child onboard, dealing with drunks who wish to come onboard, dealing with people who act suspicious after leaving a room onboard]. Then Al says "We have one final thing left to do - Gary..." and no kidding, once again, Gary starts Happy Birthday. Oh-my-goodness!!!

So in seeing that the ship is full of crazy people at meal times, I was more than happy to get off the ship for Lunch - and I did so with my great mate, Jessica [Melb, AUS], who infact had her birthday on the 14th [there was SO many birthdays in June!!!]. We went to this cute little organic place called MIX and its SO delicious! We had a great time just chilling out and not seeing anyone else from the ship.

The MIX place is at a far distant end of the mall that we are attached to/next to here in Hong Kong. Infact, the place we are next to is called Harbour City, Tsim Tsa Tsui, Kowloon. And we are located at "Ocean Terminal" - so if you wish to come visit, please do!

Then Jess had to get back to work so I wandered through the mall just browsing in all the OVER expensive shops here. This mall is really for those who do the whole 'wad of cash in the pocket' type mafia type people thing. Not really but you must understand what I mean? You need a LOT of money to buy here! They see us walking through the mall with a hint of disgust at our attire as we look at their outfits and wonder what were they thinking. But its cool to walk past the stores when i've only heard of the lable. D&G. Versace. Calvin Klein. Yeah. WOW. So many...

Then I had to get ready for work and so... I did. And it was great. Work was just nice and I had birthday songs sung to me in different languages and I got hugged and smooched [no kidding! On the cheek of course!] and had my last position at Crane Deck also known as the Deal Deck, but it was SO quiet! We've really struggled with people visiting here in Hong Kong because of the H1N1 [Swine Flu] spreading around the world. Primary schools in Hong Kong have been closed for 2 weeks so far and during the day there are SO many people in the mall but not many want to visit the ship. Please pray for that!

So, as I was tying up the sides of the Crane Deck, one of the Port Workers popped his head up, signalling for me to come over. I thought "He probably just wants help taking the end of their gangway off our ship, I'll just have a look." So in no rush I walk to look over the railing to double check when I see James lying on the car-deck at the bottom of the stairs. I honestly thought "What is James doing? He's probably avoiding work and he's just lying there on the ground in protest!" and then my brain clicked in and I realised it wasn't James, it was Albi, but - what was he doing down this end of the ship, and, where are his glasses? Albi was the head cashier for the evening and should've been at the BookShop, not down on the cardeck.

A maze of thoughts rolled into my mind as I realised the Port Workers didn't call me over to help them, they called me over to help Albi. I got down to Albi to 'asses' the situation. A lot of the things I'd learnt when I was helping my Mum train to be an Ambulance officer came back into my mind, aswell as things I'd learnt from Basic Safety Training. Totally "Automatic Pilot" mode.

I asked Albi if he knew what happened, and some other basic questions like what day it is, what time is it, does he know where he is, what he was just doing etc. Then I asked where he hurt, and checked for bleeding, and when I realised he had a head injury, I asked if he could move his fingers and his toes/feet and checked his pulse. It was so surreal and still feels like I was doing some drama.

Then, I called our emergency number, slowly explaining - despite feeling like I was talking extremely too fast - what had happened, who was involved, where I am, and that we needed the Stretcher Party to come. Then I went back to Albi and just held his hand and talked to him. He was in and our of 'dream' state and 'current' state and he was okay [as much as you could be at that point] till the stretcher party was there and then he began to panic because every 5 minutes or so he would close his eyes and say "It's so strange... I feel so strange... like I'll wake up and this will all have been a dream" and then he would open his eyes and realise he was still there, but not remember how he got there and then we'd have to tell him again what happened and ask some of our questions again. It was such a bizarre thing. I've not ever seen someone have an injury to their head where they honestly cannot remember things.

Then we got him to the Clinic and I was told to get some things for going to the Hospital. To Hospital? Its my birthday! But of course I wasn't thinking of that. I guess I needed to go because I was the first to get to Albi but also because I was the one who was with him after he fell, something about keeping things familiar with him while he's confused. But i also had to find Albi's cabinmates to get some stuff for him. So I quickly [possibly ran a little bit] to find anyone in Albi's room, and because Prayer night was on, I managed to find one. I asked him without much details if he could get some things for Albi and then went to my room. My mind was buzzing on what to take and I was thankful that no one was there because I was a little freaking out. So i packed a shirt, my bible and notebook, pen, ID, and I think i may have packed a game or something to entertain myself with incase I stayed overnight and wanted to do something. Other things were thrown in like Albi's glasses and watch and then i went back to the clinic.

He was on the bed, still on the stretcher, and they were doing blood pressure tests and giving him oxygen. So many people were fussing over him and he was getting worked up so I [possibly pushed my way past people, but i'll say...] "made my way" to him and grabbed his hand and held it and just told him every thing i could to calm him. I told him about the accident, and where I found him, and that everything would be okay. He was crying [poor lad] and he was scared but for that time we just had to reassure him until the ambulance arrived.

And then it did. We got him out to the ambulance and... I get stopped and question by the police. Are you kidding? They need my Passport details so I hand my card over while organising the stuff to be taken to the hospital, and they ask me a couple of questions and I tell them what I can and then go about getting ready to leave in the Ambulance.

Side Note:
The police were actually more interested to know why in the span of 2 days, 2 people were seriously injured. On the 10th of June, one of our Engineer guys, Lukas [SWISS] was doing work on the lathe when the lathe snagged his item and propelled it at his head, fracturing his nose. He was SO lucky not to lose an eye, and he looked pretty beat up for a few days. The police were very interested to know what happened with his incident because he had alot of blood everywhere but all is good for him now.

On the way to the ambulance, Albi was feeling unwell, and despite our effort to ask the Ambulance officers for a sick bag [complete with visual explanation to help them understand], poor Albi threw up. Wearing a neck brace makes it a little harder becaues there is a 'platform' to 'hurl' over. Poor Albi.

We made it to the Emergency Department where Albi went through a couple of examinations and had an X-ray an CT Scan performed, and it seemed that everytime he got moved, Albi got sick. His 'family' from the ship arrived to see him and that was nice for him but the girls who came were emotional and I was more keen for them to leave or atleast keep distance so they wouldn't stress him out and keep fussing over him, but in the end, he slept through most of it.

By 1am Albi's visitors left leaving just me and Silja [SWISS] - the nurse who came with Albi to the hospital from the ship. We were waiting to hear the results of the CT-Scan. Albi's Xray showed nothing but his CT Scan [which arrived at about 2:15am] showed a fracture and some bleeding. We couldn't confirm at the time but I contacted Yi-An [Adelaide, AUST] - our ships doctor, and he spoke to the On-duty doctor in all that fancy doctor talk. We made Albi comfortable and reassured him someone would visit the next day, then we had to leave.

We went back to the ship and called Albi's parents in Germany and let them know what happened. Then Yi-An, Silja and I were given permission to get Macca's and have a small break from the evening. Then I ended up sitting on the Quay-side till about 5am in a bit of a blah-state. I got perhaps an hour sleep and then needed to be up at 7:30am.

To let you know, Albi is doing fine. His results from the tests done on the 12th showed he had 2 fractures at the back of his skull and a bleed at the front of his brain. He was moved to Intensive Care for about 2 days before going back to a regular ward till the [not sure exactly] last Friday [25th June?]. It was so nice to have him back. He is still under observation and he may fly home but for now, he is as healthy as he can be. He had visitors for almost everyday he was in hospital, and now a guy that many people knew only by name is quite known by the whole ships community.

Happy Birthday to me...