December 2nd 1983

posted in: The way back | 0


Despite being inside the cabin, it was a most uncomfortable night.  The ship has a heavy list, so Val was jammed against me, while I was jammed against the cupboard.  It was also painfully hot, especially with 4 of us in there, + the room stank.  With the new day, tho’, tired as we were, we were determined to establish a new relationship with Yopi.  We just couldn’t believe our own lack of self-determination, that we had allowed him to dominate us in such a way.  However, so as not to hurt his feelings too violently, we simply stayed away from him as much as possible.  Not easy with so few places to escape to, but we solved it by spending virtually the whole day on the bridge.  We’re pretty friendly with most of the officers, so this caused no problem.  Yopi tracked us down in time, of course, + was a little concerned that we might be angry with him (which we were of course, as well as with ourselves) but we fobbed him off with some story about needing fresh air.  He was far more upset about Mrs Valerie than he was about Mr Walter – like a majority of the people we’ve met over the past couple of years, he greatly prefers Val to me.  He doesn’t seem to understand why I can’t laugh + giggle along with him.  Whereas Val not only is rather more sympathetic + giving, but also speaks a little Indonesian, that little growing daily.

We had a reasonably pleasant day – the only bad news was that, because of heavy seas, we would be late, not arriving in Surubaya until the evening, against an initial eta of mid-morning.  What was worse, we would have to anchor off Surubaya, + wait for the pilot to come aboard in the morning, making us effectively 24 hours late.  Despite this setback tho’, the day passed pleasantly.  We read, wrote, + played cards, + were even able to make ourselves a cup of coffee, when Leon procured some hot water for us.  We decided not to sleep in Yopi’s cabin, so we fixed up our beds out on the back, the place from which I’d lost my glasses.  There were a few other guys sitting out there, watching the lights of Madura + Surubaya slide closer, + like so many others in the past 2 days, they asked about my glasses (or kachamatas).  This lot seemed more friendly than the usual gloaters tho’, so I chatted with them.  This being our last night on the boat, I put out some last-ditch feelers about my glasses, even indicating I would be prepared to pay a little money for their return, no questions asked.  This seemed to provoke some reaction, + they all shot off somewhere, so for a little while I had some hopes, but they came to nothing.  The rain arrived shortly afterwards, driving us inside.  Even so, I was determined not to end up Chez Yopi, so we moved in to the corridor.

A slightly more comfortable day, mainly because we managed to avoid Yopi for much of it. But even in the most comfortable circumstances, life on board soon palls… and these were far from comfortable circumstances.

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