Vote 1 Grzic

Being the change you want to see was one of those mantra’s that I have often harped upon, especially in light of the changing world. For years I had felt that leaders seemed less impressive, as the clown car dispensed one joker after the next. With the latest election being held in Australia, I knew that there was little to get enthused about so my intention was to split my votes across those who would have little to no chance of getting elected, but were willing to make the effort to throw their hats into the ring.

Then up stood my brother. It’s a funny thing when a person close to you decides to run for public office. It wasn’t really an idea that came out of the blue, (he had mentioned it a few times as we were growing up,) but certainly one I wasn’t really expecting at this election. That being said, being politically engaged and doing community minded things seem to run in the family. Across the family, they make regular donations to causes around the world, argue about social justice over pancakes as well as make regular submissions to government reports.The more I thought about it, the more I should have realised it was inevitable.

Like a good brother, I did what good brothers do and agreed to help where I could. I spent a few lunches handing out How To Vote cards to those heading in for early voting, offering suggestions on how to articulate a position, or even just helping my brother to clarify in his own mind, positions on issues that he had never really had an opinion on. All of this was also good for achieving some clarity on my own points of view. (I even had occasional flashbacks to when my father was involved in politics and he used to “encourage” us to drop party political junk mail into peoples mailboxes.) All in all it wasn’t the worst way to spend a little of my time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Candidate in repose

It was also interesting to meet people who traversed a world far removed from my usual bubble. People actively involved in national politics who were passionate about their candidates and their positions. They ranged from the very young handing flyers out for a relative, (Tweens, I believe the term is now.) to the octogenarian handing out for the euthanasia party. Some were quite vocal and theatrical. (The Greens candidates had their own greek tragedy performance about the current government and it’s heinous attempts to cut funding to the CSIRO.) All the groups, from the very left, to the very right were there, and to be honest, it was all quite light and relaxed. After all, these people had several hours to kill each day and the only people to talk to, were others in the same boat. In the quiet times, candidates were compared and people would happily discuss the overlaps between each others choice.

Election day arrived and it was still a civil affair, though with more people handing out flyers, there were those who made it inadvertently entertaining. Everyone had their styles. I for one, having worked a stand selling gluten free, cholesterol free, dairy free, nut free sugar free chocolate (Far tastier than it sounds.) at many a fair was using much the same approach. Polite but light. sweet william Making it fun on a day when people were queueing and wanting to get on with their days. Being moderate left, I was an easygoing person to strike up a conversation with about politics when the queue dropped off. I chatted with the Liberals (Conservatives), Labor (More lefties, democrats for my American friends.) Greens (Who always seemed convinced that this was their election.) and so on. One of the highlights was a man I was convinced was mentally unbalanced and may have been drinking for a large portion of the day. (His candidate got a seat on the senate.) One lady who represented a salt of the earth farmer by the name of Bob Katter whose gal on the ground took the passive aggressive approach to handing out flyers. “Support the farmers, vote for Bob Katter.” and when a person trapped helplessly in the queue declined, she followed it up with. “Oh, so you don’t support the farmers? I guess you don’t want to eat then.” (Her candidate made it in too.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A good old fashioned rally.

Then there was the Labor mob. A well oiled machine with uniform red hoodies and beanies. They wanted their people out there regardless, and with a big party behind them, they had the numbers to pick you off no matter how to tried to sneak in to the voting booth. The Liberal party had their blue and white t-shirts that highlighted the fact that they looked pretty, but were essentially useless when it came to the realities of being a person on the ground doing the work on a freezing cold, windy Sydney day. (On the plus, they had the numbers and cash to be able to afford regular cafe runs.) One of their members had developed a style where he would stop and chat with people in the queue directly in front of people from smaller and independent candidates so as to make it hard for them to hand out their flyers. Amongst all of this was the humble Australian Electoral Commission workers trying to monitor the chaos. I spoke to a young guy who had just turned eighteen and had seized the chance to get involved. When I asked as to why he was passionate about supervising the process, he told me with a gleam in his eyes, that he would earn $400, for the days work and that would cover his beer for a month.

It was interesting being involved and it became clear how slim the chances to get elected would be if you didn’t have name recognition or a massive party machine to crank out the supporters, flyers and billboards, posters showing the same heads with their plastered on smiles in perfectly coordinated outfits. The amount of printing that had gone into a few small hours of activity would be, mere hours later, consigned to the scrap heap of history. (Hopefully recycled.)

madmax

It only feels like being in Fury Road…

Well the day was done and the battle fought. My brother didn’t get elected but the learning curve was high (for all of us.) and if you follow  the news, Australia still hasn’t got itself sorted. The fear is that with no result, it all will happen again in a few short weeks. I shall put my hand up to help the Australian Electoral Commission, after all, I will certainly need $400 worth of alcohol to get through another election.

 

Advertisements

Being a change

One of the things that I love about traveling is meeting different people and sharing their experience of their own country. On my last great trip I met some amazing people who in their own way are shaping their country.

Recently one of the places I had spent some time has been in the news. It was a fairly secular country but more and more, under the present leadership that country has been changing. One of the things I tried to do when I travelled was to just stay in one area for a while in the hopes that I could see a little beyond the surface.

One of the friends I made on the journey was quite concerned about the changes that were taking place in their country. Months later when I saw them again they remarked over a beer that they were feeling less safe walking down the street in than they did only a few months ago. Freedoms of the press were being curtailed, a more hardline religious tone was coming out of their leaders and many terrible things were occurring in the country as it was heading towards an election.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Effort required.

My friend was justifiably concerned about the direction they felt their nation was going but they also were living in a position where they were less comfortable saying anything in any format that might have been interpreted as negative of their leaders. (Even as I write this I was conscious to not provide anything that might make them easily identifiable.) It seems strange to me, as I follow the news of that country, to see what has happened in such a short period of time.

I take a lot of things for granted. The idea that my country will always remain my country as I think of it is one of them. Maybe that is why I went to the protest a couple of weekends back? For those of you in Australia, I would hope that you are aware of what has been happening in New South Wales and especially Sydney in relation to the changing of laws to limit where and what time you can go to bars. The removal of elected councils that fall into the same development areas that the government is trying to push an infrastructure project through, the new powers that are being given to police and law enforcement agencies that given them greater authority as to where I can go and whom I can congregate with.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So many reasons to protest.

All these changes mean more to me now than they previously did because I have witnessed just how quickly these little changes can impact on the life I want to lead. Don’t get me wrong, I have no interest in breaking laws or getting into trouble, but now the police can decide that a group of people coming together over an issue could be considered a threat to public safety and they can make us disperse. They can decide that if I am gong somewhere they don’t like they can pass a law restricting my movements. There is also less recourse for people like me to challenge these decisions and even less transparency from our officials to justify their decisions.

I watched and I listened and the more I listened the more concerned I became. The people cheered at the right moments, the speakers were loud and angry. The police stood around and made certain that the protestors stayed in the designated area. Walked the designated route at the designated time. Several undercover police moved through the crowd. All in all, it was a perfectly acceptable protest.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Exercising your freedoms over designated routes only.

I found myself chuckling as one speaker announced that if things didn’t change, the elected officials of our state would get a nasty surprise in three years. Yup. Three years. Does anyone remember Kony 2014, or even what you were doing last weekend? This protest was likely to achieve nothing because the people in power know that in three years, if by some miracle someone remembers, they may get voted out of office.

It would scarcely matter by then as they will have destroyed Sydney’s night life enough that the developers can move into the parts of the city that have been off limits to them because of thriving businesses. The elected councils that were removed and replaced with people beholden to the same corporation that is trying to get the massive building project up and running may go back to the people but by then all the official approvals will have been passed and the project commenced. Perhaps even a few brown paper bags will have been filled with money or the promise of future employment secured.

How do I know this? The corruption is always there. Not limited to any nation. Everyone knows it. I have heard people speak of former ministers well known for such flexible behaviour. These days it appears less and less like something they care to hide and I am complicit in this. I vote once every few years and then I go back to my life. I bitch and moan about my leaders but I never joined a party, or took any time to find someone that would stand up for what I wanted. (Or God forbid, stood up myself.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And perhaps we should be.

Be the change you want to see in the world is a quote I see get bandied about from time to time. Perhaps it is time for me to figure out how to do that beyond the walls of a Facebook like.

Interpretation

One night on my travels, whilst I was in Split I ended up at the Marcs Marvlvs bar. (as I frequently did) This night in particular, there was a poetry night on. Random strangers crowded in and recited poems, original or ones that just stuck with them. My friend, Tin, the bartender was an accomplished poet and had several on hand, (in Spanish) and knowing that it was a passion, I thought that I should make an effort to contribute to the evening. One poem was scratched out over a glass of Dalmatian Red on my phone.

I charge to damage and wound

The absence of malice irrelevant

The rhythm of the feet a drum

The blood rises, the fever overtakes

I fly and the fire explodes

Sanity returns

The fever subsides

I press off the ground and charge again.

What I didn’t realise that was after every poem people would talk about the poems and about how they interpreted the poem. It was an interesting experience. The depth that people brought to my poem was astounding. I’m certain that the alcohol had some impact but as I listened I was amazed at how wrong some of the ideas were.

All through high school and college, I struggled with the idea of breaking down epic works to what the author was really getting at. “Clearly the author was referencing blah…” Time and again the discussion raged and I couldn’t help myself attempt to disrupt the class by asking the same question. “Isn’t it possible the author was on drugs or something and just telling a story?” Usually the only response was a glare from the teacher.

Now I don’t pretend for one second to consider myself a writer of the calibre of Twain, Shakespeare, Atwood, Keats, Yeats and of course Wilde, but the poem above was nothing more than me trying to describe the feeling that occurs when, in the midst of an Aikido rundori (basically a group of Aikidoka, Aikido students, attack a single target in a series of attacks), you get thrown across the room, and land on the hard floor, your legs slam together and catch your balls between them basically knackering yourself. Not wanting to make the Tori (Executor of the techniques) look bad, you drag yourself from the floor and keep attacking.

When you read what I actually meant, the poem, (such as it is) makes more sense. I guess this is my verbose way of saying that the next time you are dealing with someone whose behaviour frustrates you, consider that perhaps, despite your own insightful observations, you may not be reading the tale with the same context as the author. Slammed

The end of the road?

“Are you sure you really want this job?” The lady asked. Hair up in a bun, glasses and eye infection which prevented her from shaking hands but didn’t prevent her from sharing the gruesome details.

Very much Croatia

Very much Croatia

Holland was the last stop on my trip. I had seen family I hadn’t seen in years and some children that I had never seen. I noticed an interesting transition place in me, as my return date was growing closer. I really started to feel fatigue. Despite the numerous sights and limited time to see them, it was hard to find the motivation to head out into the Netherlands and explore. My bank account was drained and mentally I just was hoping for the day to arrive when I could jump on the plane and head back to Oz. That being said, even as I was driving to the airport, I was missing my European family and new friends. As an Australian, you are acutely aware of just how far everything is from where we are and the idea of simply being able to jump on a plane and visit some of these countries for a long weekend was soon to be impossible.

Back to Bondi Beach

Back to Bondi Beach

I have now spent enough time in airport limbo that I am getting quite effective at finding ways to survive the downtime. I try and keep moving, as I know that the flight ahead of me will force me into a seat for a prolonged period. Every step prior to the commencement of the journey becomes something to be treasured. Screaming kids aren’t a huge problem for me. Having a hoodie cuts down extraneous light and noise. I had a strange passenger who decided that he liked my window seat so much that he had settled into it by the time I got on the plane and with every bathroom trip I made, I would find him sitting comfortably in my seat when I returned. In exchange for not getting the seat he wanted, he would elbow me quite hard every time I rested my elbow on our common armrest and kick me whenever my feet crossed what he perceived to be the boundary between out two seats leg space. After a few beers his mood did not improve. And he got so vocal that the flight attendant had to come and tell him he was causing problems. There were no window seats available for him to be moved to so he refused to move. When the flight attendant asked if I wished to be moved I politely declined, after all, if I moved this man would then get the seat he wanted and screw that guy.

Good old Taj

Good old Taj

Getting back to Australia was a fun experience. Clearing customs was honestly quite painless, the guards happily steering people through the latest and greatest in tech to register and document my movements. Standing at the carousel waiting for my bags was the first sign I was back in Australia. The voice came over the speakers announcing that they were experiencing technical issues that were causing delays in the arrival of our luggage. “Bullshit.” Said one of the airport staff to me. “Fuckers are understaffed as usual.” Yes, I was indeed back in Australia.

Coffee Time

Coffee Time

The joy of seeing family and friends again after a long absence cannot be understated. My trip was only seven months but seeing my dad waiting at the gate was a great feeling. A bottle of water waiting for me I the delays were enough that I got to experience the joys of Sydney weekday morning traffic. The weather was typical early spring weather, cool and sunny and to be honest about the same temperature as the Dutch summer I was leaving.

Settling in back at home presented the usual issues, not the least of which was the fact that I was coming back to a life I had packed away with no clear plan for when I returned. Clothes in boxes and scattered through family homes and garages. (Some clothes remain with friends.) No job to go back to, or even poorly defined career path. I hadn’t had any writing breakthroughs that would allow me a career as a writer, (though I would be lying if I did not say I felt I had made substantial progress.)

Celebrating with a mate

Celebrating with a mate

On the plus side, I now have more than one pair of pants and clothes start to have a little variety again. The washing machine is accessible and any food I leave in the household fridge overnight will be there in the morning. I headed down to Bondi Beach to soak it all in. Coffee at my favourite coffee/second hand book store, a walk on the beach, dinner at one of my favourite eateries. Amusingly over the course of a meal, six of my good friends all came there for dinner and my quite evening became a catch up. Being home has it’s benefits.

Lunch in Slovenia

Lunch in Slovenia

I’ve been back two weeks now and I have caught up with the immediate family and friends that I could squeeze in. I have started job hunting for anything that will pay money to fund my next adventure, (though I recommend never mentioning that at interviews) and I have started to find a routine of sorts. I have gone up a belt notch and my body is craving those days of 12 hour walks through strange cities full of undiscovered sights, sounds and smells. A friend told me that he always felt depressed after a long vacation and I could see what he means. I sat on a bus after the interview with the woman with the droopy eye and considered briefly that perhaps this was the life that I get now, full of nine to five, and full of the ordinary. I didn’t really want the job, and as fate would have it, I didn’t end up getting it. To be honest there was a feeling of relief when I got the news.

Waiting for the train from Normanhurst

Waiting for the train from Normanhurst

The feeling passed, as with all feelings. The travel has sharpened my senses to look at the mundane and look for those little treats that often get overlooked in a life of routine. Things as simple as, the trees at the train station, the smell of the air and the joy of a meal with friends. I imagine things are going to be topsy turvey for a while and until I find some direction, I have plenty to look back on and plenty in Sydney to keep me occupied.

Home again

Home again

A song in each step.

Music is part of every great trip, be it a road trip or something more epic. The sounds are certainly important when travelling. Sometimes they are a link to home when you feel overwhelmed and sometimes a link to the amazing sights and sounds when you return home after your adventures.

The first time I went to Europe was with my family this was the song that seemed to follow me around. I didn’t find out what it was and it was a few years till a woman named Agnes managed to help me figure out the name of the song. The first time she played it for me, I had an instant flashback to my first wanderings across Europe.

Cosa Della Vita – Eros Ramazzotti

India is a land of sounds, colours and flavours, but amusingly it is a place often without form and so there was no one set sound that ever summed up India for me, perhaps though, it was this song.

Chayya Chayya – Dil Se

When I was walking toward Mount Everest, the was little music. Most people were trying to conserve energy (as recharging of equipment was expensive) but I remember one time walking along and hearing this song hanging in the air. I never did figure out the source of the music but it really fit with the journey.

Wake me up – Aloe Blacc

The song I most identify from my Turkish adventure wasn’t actually from Turkey, but rather a song a friend introduced me to. The song was a nice reminder of amazing sunrises and sunsets, ancient ruins and amazing people.

One day like this – Elbow

Croatia was my next major stop and a place where I got quite settled. I found a yoga/pilates studio that liked to play a little music. No matter the variation, this was the song that seemed to end up on every teacher’s mix.

Waves – Mr Probz

My trip to Germany was driven by the chance to see Roxette perform at Munich. Roxette was the first proper concert I saw when I was young and it has always held a special attraction for me. The concert was fun and reminded of me of the reasons I always enjoyed the Swedish pop duo. Their warm up act was Eskobar so as a tribute, here is one song from each.

Silver Blue – Roxette

You Got Me – Eskobar

My final song, came from my time in Split sitting at Marcvs Marvlvs Spalatensis and was a bittersweet ending to my trip but was a nice song to reflect upon looking back on my journey.

Martha – Tom Waits

By the time I had reached the end of my journey, I had an exhaustive list of songs I had never heard that all linger in my memory and forever remind me of my journey.

I would love to hear from other people about their special songs and where they heard it.

The Netherlands – art in every corner.

It rains in Holland. There is no denying it. The common commentary I heard as a tourist was, if you don’t like the weather, wait 30 minutes. This is not an exaggeration either. After a while you just get used to it. The summers are sometimes perfect and sometimes chilly. It rains, and is windy, then sunny and still. The weather though is one of the things that make the Netherlands so special.

The Blaak Market

The Blaak Market

Living in a country that is small, has constantly fluctuating weather and so many canals that, waterfront living almost a necessity, the Dutch appreciation for art is evident everywhere. Driving along the freeways, you can see the landscapes that come alive in the light, buildings that do their best to stimulate and illuminate, and food that makes your mouth water.

Because buildings can be so much more.

Because buildings can be so much more.

The Netherlands is a cultural buffet squished into a small green land mass. When the days are good, people drop everything and race out to embrace the sunshine. Tables and chairs fill up, the people enjoy bitterballen and a lazy beer (or several.) Ice cream is on tap and the conversation is lively. You walk around the streets, enjoy the window shopping, random sculptures, flowers and canals.

I've been thinking

I’ve been thinking

The weather changes quickly though and it seems, because of that, the Dutch have apparently mastered the art of making the hours inside something special. The museums, galleries, Even the buildings are works of art unto themselves.

My time in Holland outside of Amsterdam was spent in Alkmaar, Rotterdam and Den Haag. They are three very different cities. Alkmaar, the smallest of the three is famous for it’s cheese market and chasing the Spanish from it in the 16th Century by flooding the region. These days the city is a quiet place. The obligatory cafes, bars, cheese shops and historical buildings accentuated by the occasional event transforming the town square make it a place that perhaps could be considered the typical Dutch city.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Getting around

My time wandering around Rotterdam was stumbling from one distraction to another as interesting building after interesting building caught my eye. Even the humble Blaak Market is a work of art and the selection of foods and snacks is as engaging as any art gallery, random buildings and sculptures mean that when the sun comes out there is as much to see as some of the amazing art galleries and museums. Tucked away under a bridge is the World War 2 Resistance museum. It is a small reminder of everything that had befallen the city before it’s resurgence as one of the worlds leading ports.

Den Haag is a very different city. As one Dutchman remarked, “Money is earned in Rotterdam, distributed in Den Haag and spent in Amsterdam.” As you walk the streets of Den Haag, it is hard not to believ it is true. Den Haag has the feel of a city of a statesman. The buildings clean and regal, (and to be honest I found them a little sterile.) The galleries are beautiful and Mauritshuis houses the famed painting of Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earing. (For me that alone was worth the visit to Den Haag.) You will also find the Peace Palace, which is the most awesome expression of optimism created by mankind, and a place to feel inspired.

Art should be fun

Art should be fun

The Netherlands surprised me with just how much it had to offer, people, places, food, coffee, that I even after all the time I was there, I felt that I barely scratched the surface.

Guns in the pram. Being in the resistance was not easy.

Guns in the pram. Being in the resistance was not easy.

Old and new

Old and new

Gridlock

Gridlock

Under the sea.

Coffee served in a plastic, disposable cup. Watery, hot and with a strange taste, this was the first drink that I had onboard a submarine. When you travel you find that unusual opportunities present themselves. When the offer was made to go for a ride on a submarine, there was no way that I was going to say no. It was only after I had said yes I remembered how much of a fan I was of tight closed spaces. I had flashback to the time my little brother took me canyoning and I got stuck on a small ridge fighting through the urge to flee instead of leaping into a cold dark pool in between some rocks. Pushing my discomfort aside I sucked it up.

Submarine flags, an ominous sign.

Submarine flags, an ominous sign.

I had seen the submarine earlier when I was in Amsterdam and to be honest, it didn’t seem that big at a glance. I later learned that when it is on the surface, you are only seeing about 20% of the actual sub. Earlier that day, I had witnessed the submarine as it pulled into port. And later on the water when it dove below the waves and later surfaced. Out on the water, we witnessed the submarine coming up behind the boat. There is something decidedly creepy about the periscope moving through the water towards you and I was very glad that this wasn’t war-time and they were not looking for me.

Climbing down into a submarine is a sobering experience. I was heading down for a short ride but as I passed the lock I started to wonder what it must be like to live in the belly of this big steel beast for months at a time. Make no mistake, a submarine is not a big place, but as I was given a tour of the boat, I realized she was (yes, boats apparently are “she”.) bigger than you expect but at the same time, not that big. The doors are small and require a degree of flexibility to walk through, walking between the engines is a balancing act and if you were to drop something, you would need to be quite the contortionist to climb down and around just to collect it. I have seen my share of submarine films and you would have to consider calling bullshit on some of the scenes of crew running the length of the subs.

Submariners themselves were a surprise. Being submerged in a massive cigar shaped steel tube and being subjected to intense pressures is no job for a pussy and they seem to take a perverse pleasure in this fact. Their uniforms are completely functional and to be honest, remind me of pirates. If ever there was a group of men (there are no women at this time on Dutch Submarines) that would lay claim to the image of the buccaneer, they are submariners.

Submariners in uniform waiting for the boat.

Submariners in uniform waiting for the boat.

The men on board are also not as small as I would have expected considering the cramped conditions. The chief of the boat was so big, I felt certain that he must have eaten another unfortunate crewman. Large men in cramped conditions celebrating in their identity as buccaneers of the modern naval world. You can only imagine the type of Captain that is required to manage such men in a stressful job. How stressful a job? Consider the helmsman. His job is to steer the boat. Till I watched him do this I never considered what was required in doing that task. Picture for a moment, driving a large semitrailer that is sluggish to handle, and does not stop instantly when you slam on the breaks. Add to that, the fact that he cannot see at all where he is going and relies completely on instructions given, often by someone else who is relying only on maps that he has to obey without question.

The Captain is not what you expect either. He is an easy going and a nice guy to chat with. On the bridge he is focused and yet still relaxed. Taking civilians around is probably the least stressful thing he has to deal with in the realm of Captaining and yet, when they are doing their jobs in these conditions he and his crew maintain an impressive level of focus. They are relaxed about the work, and as you can imagine when getting a group of men together for a prolonged period, quite funny in a blokey sort of way. (I have been assured that the Captain has a pair of underpants that has the boat’s motto “Small but brave.”)

Tugboats. Plenty of guts but no glory.

Tugboats. Plenty of guts but no glory.

The chefs (including a baker) work out of a tiny kitchen and produce masses of food. The crew has the barest space available to them for sleeping and yet still make do. The air conditioning below decks is incredible (Though from time to time on mission the crew can go weeks without showers, so I would not want to be the newcomer walking below deck at the end of that.) and I was surprised that for my brief time and with excessive numbers of people walking below decks, aside from the engine room (which was very hot) most of the time I had no trouble breathing and never felt stuffy.

Space is, as you can imagine, at a premium and as you walk around below the deck you start to realize that submarines, and their crew, are geniuses at maximizing the use of space. They manage to fit a functioning gym complete with rowing machine, free weights and even an exercise bike below decks. Extra beds appear in the most surprising of spaces and if you take the time to look in the nooks and crannies, you find everything from sauce for chips, girly pics and windex alongside toilet paper for keeping certain screens as clean as possible. (Yes I am being intentionally vague.)

Captain and the XO watching docking

Captain and the XO watching docking

Riding inside is also an unusual feeling. You can see nothing yet at the same time, you can feel the waves hitting the sides of the boat, the sounds of waves crashing against the outer hull. Inside the air conditioning hums persistently, annoying you with its noise, at the same time comforting you with the knowledge that you are able to breath. Evacuation suits hang from pegs in case of the need to abandon ship. As the klaxon rings out the appropriate number of times before you dive, I found myself getting excited but at the same time I was watching the readout telling us how deep we were. For the record, not deep at all but deep enough to confirm that there was no easy way out til the boat surfaced again.

Returning to port I was lucky enough to sit on top the corning tower as the boat returned to port. The Captain looking on as he watched two other crewmen practice the art of getting close enough to boat so that the tug boats could get a rope on and take it the last bit of the way, then the frustration of the XO as he barked orders to the various crew members to get the boat secured at the dock ordering each team to pull on their specific rope to align the boat perfectly. (Seriously not as easy as it sounds.) Life on a submarine is certainly not for everyone, but if you are going to do it, it is not as bad as you might think it is.

If you witness this, you may already be screwed.

If you witness this, you may already be screwed.

*Please note, there are no pics taken inside the submarine because it is classified and speaking with a foreign accent on a submarine and a camera could have had me end up in some rather unpleasant accommodation for the rest of my trip.