Current Events 3: Captain and Crew

January 24, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

       Peter, the ship's captain, was a Hungarian who looked younger than his years, despite the weight of responsibility for the Aria and all aboard her that he bore.  The Danube is a major shipping channel, crowded with barges as well as pleasure craft.  It has natural hazards, too, so the pilot's duties are constant once the ship is moving.  Though English was only his fourth or fifth language, the captain was aware that his surname, Titz, made Anglophones chuckle.  Hearing it, Miri and I looked at one another and turned away quickly, lest we provoked one another to giggles.  Captain Peter was wise to have mentioned it himself during his first address to the passengers, all of whom came from The States.

Captain Peter of the Amusing SurnameCaptain Peter of the Amusing Surname

Captain Peter of the Amusing Surname

       My fellow passengers failed to pique my interest as much as did the crew.  We had little contact with the sailors and navigators, but soon were acquainted with the rollicking Serbians, Croatians, Bulgarians and Romanians who tended our rooms and served our meals.  They were personable and vivacious, trim in their uniforms.  It was obvious that they had been selected for employment on the basis of personality as well as any professional criteria.  Whether or not it was feigned, their enthusiasm was charming.  My later observations of Eastern European countries confirmed my initial impression that the crew members valued their jobs, which paid more than most positions in their home countries.  They toiled together with few breaks for the five months of the tourist season, and had developed a palpable camaraderie. 

Some Members of the Aria's CrewSome Members of the Aria's Crew

Some Members of the Crew

       My fellow passengers failed to pique my interest as much as did the crew.  We had little contact with the sailors and navigators, but soon were acquainted with the rollicking Serbians, Croatians, Bulgarians and Romanians who tended our rooms and served our meals.  They were personable and vivacious, trim in their uniforms.  It was obvious that they had been selected for employment on the basis of personality as well as any professional criteria.  Whether or not it was feigned, their enthusiasm was charming.  My later observations of Eastern European countries confirmed my initial impression that the crew members valued their jobs, which paid more than most positions in their home countries.  They toiled together with few breaks for the five months of the tourist season, and had developed a palpable camaraderie. 

       In Budapest, Miri and her cycling companion, Paige, reached the ship only slightly before HL and I did.  On our first night aboard, the passengers were divided into four groups of forty, each with its own tour guide who would travel with us on the buses as well as the ship.  Ours was the Green group, organized by a photogenic young woman from Bulgaria, Radostina.  Eventually, you will see quite a few photographs of her, as she became one of HL's favorite models.  Radi, as she encouraged us to call her, had introduced herself to us via E-mail a few weeks before our departure from The States.  She was twenty-nine, and had been married for about a year.  She was a native of Varna who had wed a Serbian man nicknamed Miki.  The couple had no children as yet, and had adopted a dog of no discernible breed that they called Lola.  Lola had some pit bull in her ancestry, I decided towards the end of the trip, when Miki brought their dog to his meeting with his wife, but I am getting ahead of myself.  

Radi, Our Intrepid GuideRadi, Our Intrepid Guide

Radi, Our Intrepid Leader

     In her initial address to her group of forty, Radi divulged that she was exactly a year older than her only sibling, a sister.  She was born in mid-December, and had the Sagittarian enthusiasm and stamina that one would expect.  She needed every iota of both qualities in order to maintain her schedule.  When Radi was not on the ship for two weeks at a time, she operated her own travel agency in Varna.  She had resigned from her Grand Circle Tours job after her marriage, but she had missed the intense interaction that being a tour guide entailed.  So Radi had resumed her career after only a few months at home.  She had studied tourism and foreign languages at her Bulgarian university, and had five years of experience with Grand Circle.  Two of her fellow guides, Irina and Stefan, were Romanian, and the other one, Bojana, was Serbian.  I overheard Radi speaking to each in his or her own language.  When all four were together, they used English as their lingua franca, if you will pardon the expression.

 

 

 

       

 

 


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