Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Long Journey

First I would like to send a message to Anonymous. I was stunned to read the list of passengers. I am so glad that I try to write carefully and sticking to facts. The list of people you found were the passengers who got on the ship in Columbia. We had many people disembark in Venezuela and in Columbia. I'm a novice in the computer world and am so surprised to learn what you can do when you learn to speak computerese. Thank you for showing me this startling ability one can learn by getting more education.

Later I will go back and learn the names of the people who began their trip in Sweden. One was a German woman, elderly but much younger than I am now. She became a good friend. She should have been sitting at the captains table instead of me. I had read about her family in Time Magazine during the war. They settled in Venezuela and became successful in dealing with oil and steel and manufacturing. USA dealt with them, but suddenly it was discovered that they supported the German war effort and they were declared tabu for American businesses. They had built an empire of sorts in Venezuela. When she left the ship, she said she would send her chauffeur the next day to pick up another passenger and me to come to Caracas for lunch. She lived in a Castle-like home and it was an unbelievable day. We kept in touch for years.

The reason this trip took 45 days was stored in the hold of the ship. Cranes would bring up the freight from the hold and the freight could only leave if there were trucks to haul it away when it was produced. It was slow going by todays standards. And what we learned from the young engineer in Stockholm lent promise that it would change in the near future. Since we were one of the first freighters there since the war, a lot of port dignitaries came to visit the proceedings. Many of these were invited onboard for lunch and the next day the towns people would reciprocate and invite the Captain and his entourage for lunch ashore. I was lucky to sit at the captain's table, for we saw things tourists were not generally able to see.

When we got to Columbia, we lost some of our friends. But their berths were filled with new people who wanted to get to Los Angeles. One was the man who had been Consul in Paraguay. He was Columbian and we called him the tobacco king. He brought lots of cigarettes onboard. He also brought a huge entourage onboard. His doctor, his wife, his secretary. reading the names from anonymous, it appears to be a gang fleeing Columbia. But some of us were lucky to have him on board. Every morning, around 11, he invited a group of people to share his supply of Aquavit and beer and rye-crisp and Russian Caviar. Each day, it was a short interlude before lunch.

The Panama Canal was a sensational experience. I stayed on deck through the entire delivery. I felt I had filled every stall with water and helped the ship up and down. I suffered for days with a terrible sun burn but it was worth all the pain. I consider that day one of the best days of my life. I have been through the Canal twice since then and it affected me as monumental but nothing like the first time.

Then we stopped at all the pacific countries of Central America. We did not go into any harbours but were ferried in to ports in small dinghies. We saw tons of bananas and we saw a mountain bulging with lava and towns without sidewalks and beautiful basketry. I bought a beautiful basket that I sold a couple of months ago at my garage sale prior to moving here.

Next stop Los Angeles.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a gorgeous photo, beautiful and dressed to the "9's". Did you get to know the passenger with the last name of Liden on board? We have friends in Jarpen named Liden, wouldn't that be something?
Take care and can't wait for the next chapter!!

K & M

Skye said...

Can I make a suggestion? If you're going to speak as you for part of the post and as someone else for part of the post, which I think is what I'm understanding here? then maybe put the part of the post where you are speaking as you in italics? I'm trying to follow along, and it would make it easier.

Or did I misunderstand?

Skye said...

OK, more reading, and I think I made a mistake. Sorry! I think it was the difference between the present (mentioning the computer) and the past (going back to the story) in the other post that confused me.