A series of anecdotes with or without any connection to the running of a restaurant.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Navel what?

I came to Britain to study Naval Architecture.
When I mention this to people, they either laugh out loud or just look at me quizzically while trying to decide whether I have just told them some kind of obscure joke.

"Navel what?"
"But Algeria is all desert!"
"Ah, camels, ships of the desert?"

I smugly climb on my little folding stool, and with a lot of gesturing, pointing, sketching, etc... I begin to explain that, although Algeria is indeed made up mostly of fine Saharan sand, its sandy coastline stretches 998 km from Tunisia on the East to Morocco on the West.

From the 17th to the 19th century, its Ottoman-backed Barbary Coast pirates led by the ruthless Barbarossa and other bucaneers roamed the Mediterranean, plundering passing shipping no matter where it came from or where it was heading.

So, as I climb down and fold my stool after a short two-hour History-Geography lecture, the stunned listeners are ready to call me Captain or Admiral!

After two years I gave up on my serious attempts to get to the bottom of this slowly-dying profession. Naval Architecture now belongs, along with everything else to Asian computer whizzkids.

I left to spend a year oiling ship generators around the Med and Africa, discovering lands, beyond the tourist trail and modest means. Places like Liberia, Kenya, Madagascar, etc...

Rather than stretching this post to boring lengths, I will look for my old, wrinkled diary to include bits from that year on the ocean waves in future blog entries.

Watch this space.

The above picture is that of a play ship taken on snowy Friday morning from one of the restaurants' windows. I once climbed to the crow's nest...No kidding, it was great!
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Blogger annie said...

Can't wait to hear your stories, you intrepid traveller you.

Also v envious of your fine photos.

27/11/05 9:24 PM  
Blogger Guyana-Gyal said...

So...you were going to build ships for the desert? To transport the camels? Oh, slap me, I'm being silly :-D

It's great that you knew you didn't want to do naval architecture anymore, and gave it up. Some people would continue doggedly, and get into a job / career that made them miserable.

Oh! Did you hear that Liberia got a WOMAN president? :-0

27/11/05 9:38 PM  
Blogger cream said...

Annie, thanks about the photos. As for my intrepid traveller's tales, I can assure they were just an insight into places I would never have seen if I hadn't worked on a ship.

Yes, GG and she was up against George Weah, a famous footballer who knew balls about politics!

As for the Naval Architecture, I used to dream about becoming an Algerian shipping magnate, but instead ended up being attracted to food like a fridge magnet!

27/11/05 10:12 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Hi Cream - isn't it funny how we take these detours in life - makes the journey all the richer.

27/11/05 10:14 PM  
Blogger ValGalArt said...

amazing story and adventures, it makes me realize I have not been to very many exotic places, only in my mind! So I can't get over that this is a play ship, at 1st I thought you mean child size and when I really looked you mean it is for all people. Really magical! you are lucky to have this so you can play pirates and swashbucklers in between cooking and greeting,haha.

28/11/05 1:21 AM  
Blogger cream said...

Caro, I once read a book called The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart. Life is really a succession of throws of the dice and road junctions. On the whole, I am glad I took the one I am on now.

Val, the play ship is for kids really but I was invited to the inauguration and that's why I climbed to the crow's nest.
Ale said she'd loved to visit the whole world. Who wouldn't? But it is pretty impossible. Life isn't that long but we can give it a go and visit as many places as possible.

28/11/05 3:11 PM  
Blogger Janet said...

You take us all along when we read your wonderful stories.

28/11/05 3:38 PM  
Blogger cream said...

It's great that someone somewhere reads what I write. Thanks, Janet.

28/11/05 7:31 PM  
Blogger Guyana-Gyal said...

Wanting to travel the world is like wanting to read every single book!!! Oh drooool.

28/11/05 7:42 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

On dice throwing - funny you should say that - I had a friend who stood for president of a student union as the dice man unfortunately no-one trusted his dice throwing...

3/12/05 11:15 AM  
Blogger cream said...

Isn't it nice to go back every now and then to old comments to see what's been said! I do that often.

Yes the dice man is definitely not to be trusted, Caro! Can you imagine leaving all the decisions to a little cube!

3/12/05 8:51 PM  

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