After letting us know he had arrived, Dan sent another text saying it had taken two hours to get his visa at Dar es Salaam airport, and another saying that the lock was broken on his cabin door so someone had to kick it down! We texted back but had no more response, then a week after he left we received a lengthy email which was written on the Monday after he arrived.

I finally got my computer username to work. Crazy auto-password. I am really enjoying my time on board so far. (Note, if I miss out any spaces in this email, it is because of the weird keyboard. Made in Malasia in ’94…) Today we at last found out where we will be working. I am going to be on Deck! Great, this is what I wanted. I will ask the chief Deckie tomorrow if the hours would count towards a competant crewman… I hope so.

The first flight out was fine from LCA, no problems. Dubai was beautiful, very Modern Arab style. The hotel was very close by, the airport hotel and reached by minibus from the airport terminal. Very cool hotel. HUGE room. Met Dad’s friend in the airport about 4.30 ish. Cool. I had not slept, but read a bit, and done karate & stretching for the 3 hours or so that I was in my room.

Flight from Dubai was long… at least it felt it. The airplanes (both to and from Dubai) were nice modern Airbus, with (oh so posh) per-seat TV screens that worked! Well… mine was buggy, but they all kind of worked. You know, I’m glad that I read that “plug in drug” book*. It’s true! People don’t sleep any more on flights. They drift into a TV trance. And sit, heads 20 cm away from the screen for hours, watching junk. I didn’t watch more than about 5 minutes, before getting bored, and turning on the classical radio channel. Cool.

Arrived in Dar, looked through “forward camera” view on TV, rough runway, no lines and painting. Inside the “terminal”, it was chaos. You had to get these blue forms, fill them out, and then take them to the VISA desk. About 2 score people trying to get VISAs, and one guy sorting them out, and 4 desk dudes doing the actual work. It was a “African” queue, in other words, big squash.

1 and ahalf hours later, my passport and blue form and $50 was on the desk, and a lady said from behind me “are you joining the Doulos?” it was an ex-LogosII person, bookshop manager, come tojoin the doulos. 30 mins later I got my passport back, and visa, and went though passport control in about 10 seconds. didn’t even need to show the International Vaccination Certificate! oh well.

Met a whole bunch of Douloids outside, got in minibus and drove to Ship. I didn’t need 5 pairs of shoes!!** Mad! Most people only have 1. OR sandels. hah. haa. haa. Oh well. Apparently local people keep asking for one’s shoes. Hm.

On board, my Big Brother is Deiter, a South African guy. He remembered me from last year! Also other people keep saying “do I know you from somewhere?” heh.

Anyway, The cabin is right up in the bow. Apparently the WORST place for seasickness on board! Fun fun fun. We sail in about 2 hours.

I am really enjoying it on board, slowly learning peoples names, I am about out of computer time now, so must go.

PS – No direct internet access. only email.
PPS – no big attachements please. 1 56k modem for whole ship!
PPPS – Windows 2k. MS OUTLOOK. ugh.
PPPPS – Nice big library.

* See Marie Winn’s site
** Dan was sent a kit-list from the OM UK office, which said – among other things – that he needed to take one pair of dress shoes, one pair of sandals, two pairs of casual shoes or trainers, and another pair to keep in a lifeboat.