There's no NHS here!

Trip Start Dec 31, 2011
Trip End Apr 20, 2012

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Where I stayed
Khor Fakkan Container Terminal

Flag of United Arab Emirates  , Al Fujayrah,
Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gulf of Aden          23 Jan. 12

Today has been one of those instantly forgettable days.  Lots of haze, visibility reduced to 6 miles, not many ships, no pirates, not particularly hot (because of the haze) and we crack on as normal. I sent the last blog update to my PA this morning and I have found the appropriate photos to accompany the text when I get to an internet connection.

It would appear our next port is good for duty free purchases and there is an expectation that people will stock up on essentials as well as luxury items. They sell Cadbury's products by all accounts, so that hits the mark on both accounts!

Given that so little has happened today and as a consequence I have spent most of it in my cabin, it is fitting that the accompanying photo will be of my palatial accommodation. I must admit that I do like having the space – a luxury I will positively not have on the next, smaller ship.

Off Oman               24 Jan. 12

When I opened my black-out blinds this morning I was met with the sunshine streaming in – a very welcome sight. (Cabin on the starboard side – which general direction were we heading? Sorry no prizes!) Together with the sunshine was a stiff breeze that makes the boxes moan particularly in front of the accommodation. It is a most odd noise – a cross between creaking, groaning and even crying. It is sub-human with no appreciable pattern. We were rolling a tad but it didn’t increase or decrease as we went from side to side.

A look at the charts on the bridge showed that we were clear of the traffic separation lanes that the navies patrol but what really surprised me was the extent that the danger area (from pirates) extends. It is the whole of the Arabian Sea – draw a line from the coast of Somalia along the equator and another at right angles from the equator to the pointy bit of India, (to the right of the Maldives). It is that whole area bordered in the north by Iran and Pakistan.

One odd aspect of being on this ship is that I have no idea what is happening in the world. Are DC & NC still in charge? Does the Euro still exist? Do we have a 2 tier Europe yet – a north & south? And more relevant to us here, has Iran blockaded the Gulf of Oman as it was threatening to do before I left? I guess the answer is 'No’ to the last question but it will be interesting to see if there is any evidence of sabre rattling when we get there tomorrow.

Gulf of Oman          25 Jan. 12

For the last couple of days I have been feeling off colour. A bit sinusy and shivery at times, but I am eating regularly and going about my normal routine (visits to the bridge AM & PM etc). It has affected my voice so it is obvious to those I speak to that things are not as they should be. I have a stock of proprietary tablets that I started to use yesterday but I was hardly expecting a phone call from the bridge yesterday evening. The Chief Mate, Antonio, was calling to ask how I was. In fact he went further and a few minutes after the call, brought me some Croatian made syrup that clears the bronchial passages. It is his own, not the ship’s stock, but he says he has first hand experience that it works very well and hopes I feel better soon. To say I was touched is an understatement.

I have come back to my cabin after the evening meal and Antonio has asked if I would like to see the doctor in Khor Fakkan tomorrow. He said we have a two week passage ahead after this port so if there is a need to get further treatment, tomorrow would be the time to do it. I will assess the situation in the morning. I must admit that feeling low is not a good experience with so much time to think – all sorts of things start going round – should I be doing this is one! I hope my spirits lift in the morning.

Khor Fakkan            26 Jan. 12

Still not feeling my sparkly self this morning and given the next leg of this trip, I decided to seek medical advice as suggested. A very thorough examination including a blood test showed that apart from a sinus infection I am in rude health. The service received was of the highest order, but so too was the bill! I struck a deal with the ship’s agent to pay him in Euros – 210 in fact and he would settle with the medical centre. Apparently it was the blood test that racked the cost up and that showed my blood/sugar, cholesterol and everything else were all fine – none of which I was concerned about! I just hope the travel insurance will pick up the bill.

As we drove to the doctors, the agent pointed out that there were no women walking on the street. Until he said, I hadn’t noticed, but as soon as he had pointed it out I was acutely conscious of the fact. It is a concept that I struggle to understand. The women I saw wore the burkha but there were very few of them. The odd thing was, the doctor had a female nurse who took the blood and did general nurse type things and she was dressed demurely but not totally covered.

Time now: 22.40

The agent came back for me this evening and has driven me round the area, pointing out things of interest and generally being a really good host. He has let me borrow a dongle and I intend to put some photos on the blog.

Thank you to those who have posted comments, I will answer them over the coming days and of course a BIG thank you to my UK based PA.
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sachabrakenbury on

Hi Peter.

Sorry to hear you are not feeling ship shape and all that... :o( Hope you soon feel better. Hope you have a good supply of vitamins..and guiness is good for your iron levels if you can get hold of any! :o)

I remember being very ill in Thailand after my sea snake bite and the first village hospital was a shocker..There were no toilets..just a tiny hole in the centre of a shiny floor! Thankfully a shower hose was provided! Not easy when you REALLY need to go!

It wasn't until I was being wheeled off to Intensive Care at a city hospital that I noticed the real toilets on the way out! I'd been to the loo in the shower!

Hope you continue to travel increasingly better health..and manage to avoid all showers that may previously have been used as toilets! LOL!

Do take good care of yourself. Our bedtime reading depends on it!! :o)
Lots of love. x

Chris Hesketh on

Note to self: when in Thailand avoid the sea and the showers. I laughed out loud in a hushed restaurant when I read that bit.

The UK Public Address system is working fine. Listening to you from Ipswich at the moment.
Blog continues to be very entertaining, thanks Dad.
Bon voyage

Eoin Buchanan on

Do Cadbury's really offer a Single Malt in their extensive catalogue? No chocolate...the milk is not good for infected sinuses...often found a Bell's Douche is the answer to sinus problems, probably why mine are shot to pieces!

Do hope things improve for you, not good hearing a down-in-the-mouth Peter.

Now, as to your political questions:
DC thinks he is still in charge and NC was never in charge.
We do have a 2 tier Europe; Corrupt and very corrupt
Someone has blocked someone else but lost track of who is offering Queensbury Rules and who has simply slapped a lump of nuclear something on the negotiating table.
Rowen Atkinson is now AofC and I have applied for the position of Bishop of Bath & Wells and preseident of the Order of the Black Monks - so its a red hot poker for the next PC that gets out of line (come on all you Blackadder's the episode with the turnips and false breasts!)

Anyway, back to being sensible vicar (no, not the title of a Vicar of Dibley episode) and cheers for now.

God speed


eoin buchanan on

...and the typos in y comment are...

Blocked should be blockaded
PC should be PCC (Parochial Church Council)

chrisg46 on

Get well soon, Peter!

Cyclepath on

Don't blow your nose too loudly, Peter, or those pirate watchers will be reaching for their guns.

Get well soon.

(A bowl of boiling water and a towel work wonders for sinusitis.)

David Hesketh on

Peter. All seems to be going very well. As an Assistant Purser I thought you were trained to administer medicines to sick seamen. But perhaps that was for other illnesses. Not sure I like the idea of not wearing uniform in the bridge and the second and third mate on the bridge wing look a bit doddgy too. Have you had a chance to read my papers? David

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