News From Mistral August 26th-28th, Tallin, St. Petersburg


Monday August 26th Tallin, Estonia

Manuella and I got up so we could go out, it was 12 noon so we had lunch first and then went shopping and found a café with internet and a beer!


We had to be back on board for safety training.  The instructor is a very good and he likes me a lot, his sense of humor and mine just match, so we always joke around and he picks on me!  Today I wasn’t wearing my uniform and he gave me a hard time about that.  I didn’t know we were expected to wear our uniforms for safety training classes!

A couple of girls had training after me but they walked into the room early.

“Oh sorry!” they said, “we are not late, we are soon!”

Sometimes their choice of words is amusing, “soon” instead of “early”!

I have learned that “eegen” is Hungarian for “yes.

”  I also noticed while walking through the corridors that when I open a door I kick the bottom with my heel and there is a rubber flap, like a doggy door.  Guess why?  It’s so that the hose during a fire, can be hauled through the doors and the doors can still close completely.  During my training that was always a problem, the hoses would get caught in the doors!  So clever!

There are five colours onboard, Ivory, Evergreen (me), Red, Orange and Blue.   My job only requires one of me so if I want to change colour so I can get off the ship when it’s Evergreen, I only have four people I can switch with.  Other positions have loads of people they can change with!  Typical!  I am one of a kind…

There was no show tonight so we were to have rehearsal, but Bori was too tired so Roman asked me into his cabin and played me a song.   “You are so beautiful to me”!  Just a teeeensy bit awkward…

When the awkwardness wore off I went upstairs with Roman and Manu for Gala Night.

We dressed up in very fancy clothes


and I had my first espresso since leaving England. It was divine!  (remember, only instant nescafe in the crew mess!).  We listened to Javier sing and watched some of Capello’s magic show. Even though it was in Spanish, it was very funny!

We all hung out a bit then everyone went to bed, for some reason we all seem to be tired lately.  All these mixed up hours!

Tuesday August 27th Saint Petersburg, Russia

This morning I had to get up for our show run at 1045am. I was able to have coffee and a bit of a snack first.  Afterwards I ate pineapple for lunch and headed out with Norbi and Bori to take in the sights of St. Petersburg.  We took the bus into the town and took a very beautiful 45 minute walk. We saw so many brides today; they all looked about 18 years old; one was smoking which looked verrrrrry classy; another was coming out of a port-a-pottie in a bus,


which was highly amusing.

We ended up on a beach! It was good to feel sand on my feet, through my shoes, but still!  We enjoyed a beautifully sunny day.

We went to a stunning church/cathedral


and found a place to buy an entrance ticket which struck me as stupid because churches should be free. The ticket we bought, with 50% discount because of my student I.D. (courtesy of Collin College, thank you very much!) allowed us into the cathedral and the nearby Kresty prison on the banks of the River Neva. We looked around the cathedral for about 10 mins, not a whole lot to see, then spent 15 mins trying to figure out how to get to the prison.

We passed this red pole on the way,



and The Bronze Horseman,

BronzeHorseManRussiaa monument to Peter the Great, the founder of St. Petersburg.

We didn’t spend long at the prison either once you’ve seen one cell, you’ve seen them all. They were actually very big.  The walls and doors were freshly painted, all the graffiti had been covered up which was very disappointing for they were covering up history, why put it on show as a historical sight and then ‘doll’ it up?  One old inmate had drawn beautiful murals (graffiti) on the walls of his cell all that was left were photographs in an exhibition of the in-mates’ work.  His original art work in his cell had been painted over.  The overall feel of the prison was one of a concentration camp I had visited in Dachau, the whole enclosure felt like a town within walls.

After 3 hours of walking non-stop, we decided to make our way to the nearest McDonalds, our internet hot spot!  We ordered some delicious (compared to the staff mess hoopla they have every day) food and mooched on their internet for a little bit then rushed back to catch the bus. I got off at the port not needing to get back on board for a while and sat in the café and skoped (past tense of skype, yes?) a few people.

Tonight our show was Mitos, the one I have the most trouble learning.  There were only about 10 people at each sitting, a terribly disappointing turnout but it made a very good rehearsal for me!

In show numeros dos, my Gladiator costume broke on stage and I had to gracefully exit.  I couldn’t go back on to do the partner work or finish the number and Bori was very angry with me afterwards.  There was no way I was going to stay onstage with my costume falling off me.

After the show I ran to get off ship midnight when the color changed, talk about Cinderella!  I made it and was able to use Internet again and talk to Marge!! It was amazing!  The temperature must have dropped to freezing outside…LUCKILYYYYY I had my down jacket in my bag, so I was very snuggly in the cold wind.

After my body had been convulsing in shivers for 45mins, I went back on board and tried to eat some food, but it was a dreadful pasta with a bacon and cream sauce, which sounds like it would be delicious but believe me, it was blech!!!  We hung out for a bit and I found out that Daniel, my friend the second engineer who is very funny, might be going home in 3 days :/

Wednesday August 28th Saint Petersburg, Russia


The hotel manager woke me up this morning over the loudspeakers telling us to go to the crew drill. I rolled out of bed and put my uniform on. We stood at our muster station for half an hour and then at our Abandon Ship position for 20mins. It was cold and everyone was talking, in their foreign languages and I was getting very irritated. However, they did the Lifeboats today to show us how it all works and I found it very cool.  The lifeboat was lowered as if passengers were going to get on and the staff captain walked around telling people how to stand and to tighten their Life Vests…

Immediately after the drill, we had an entertainment meeting. Now by this point my head was pounding because I hadn’t had my Nescafe yet. I didn’t expect the meeting to be any longer than 10 mins as it has been before but no!  We ended up sitting there, shivering, for almost 2 hours.  It was all in Spanish, Anoushka, the Crew Director, said she would do half and half for us English speakers (there are 9 people who don’t speak any Spanish) but she didn’t.  So there I was sitting, bored out of my mind, not understanding a word of what was being said, people were speaking and yelling and arguing all around me.  I think it was an extremely pointless exercise for me and the other non-Spanish speaking entertainers to be there.

While I’m speaking of Anoushka (I’m not really sure how to spell her name, but that’s how it sounds), she has yet to say a word to me. She is our Cruise Director, and as such is head of the Entertainment Department. You would think that she would have told me,

“Good job for learning the numbers so quickly.” Or even,

“You look terrible on stage!” or SOMETHING! But she hasn’t ever said anything to me other than, “Hi!”  She does speak English, so it’s not as if she can use that as an excuse. I think her ignoring me is pretty unprofessional of her; she has her favorites.   Smiles are universal!

After the dreadful meeting we ended up having only having 10 mins before lunch time was over, so we all ran to eat. They had black beans in the staff mess today, so I had rice and black beans, it was a good change.  For dessert I actually ate the cantaloupe, which I really don’t like, but it was something sweet and healthy.

Since I have color, I went back to sleep for a little bit. Javier made me some tea, it was black tea but had vanilla and caramel flavoring and was . It was mouey bien. (Muy bien!  I need to learn how to spell Spanish words!)

Javier and Alex

Javier and Alex

When I went to do laundry, a guy noticed my nametag and started speaking to me about Galveston. I read his nametag; his position on the ship is ‘Ordinary Sailor’. Not too sure what that means, but that’s what he does…

Today I learned 3 more numbers after the shows, I was very pleased with myself.  Manuella and I wanted to go to the passenger decks so we got all Fancy Schmancy,


and went to hear Javier sing.  He has such a good voice and she found she had tears in her eyes…

We watched some of the passenger talent show which was terrible by the way.

Then we just hung out together and talked! We ended up watching Chris Angel in Spanish and Manuella was laughing so hard, she is super amusing!

Manu & Me

Manu & Me

Then I watched another beautiful sunrise!


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