Thursday, January 22, 2015

Community and geography

From Philip

Community and Geography

We are growing together as a community - with our own unique experiences - classes, meals, viewing the ocean as it changes, seminars, ship-board life.  A mobile new 'country' with its own events, hierarchy, climate, rhythms of the day and night.  At the head is the Master Captain, whereas there are States - the academic Thomas State, where governor Mark Thomas has selected the faculty, who as mayors rule over counties like Gender Studies, Mythology, East Asian Studies, etc. as their student / citizens learn more and more of their 'district.' And besides classes, participate in counties like Seminars.
     The administrative Bob State, governed by Bob with his districts and mayors on Trips, on Cabins, on Activities. There are overlaps and interactions with, for eg. the Cabins district, there there are directors in charge of Clean up, Laundry, etc. Also for the Seminar county, they are ruled or controlled by faculty and the county of the ship's Audio-Visuals.
   Ahh, well, you get the point and the perceptions.
There is also the geography which we are exploring, traveling in, and living with - our cabins on the 2d, 3rd, and 4th deck with our beds, bathrooms, windows, etc.  Whereas, there are other cabins on 5th and 6th decks with their marvelous private balconies.  There certainly are some separations and hierarchy on the ship - between and among the Crew, the Faculty, the Students, where all people are allowed to go, and some places and activities where only one group is allowed privileges or go to. Dining areas aft on 5th the Main one and on 6th the smaller Garden one, where we go three times a day.  The 6th deck Bridge where we signed up for a tour at 4:30 pm two days ago - got to see all the instruments, maps, the joy stick for steering, alarms, great views. There are long narrow hallways with cabins outside and inside, where one has to squeeze by carefully.  And other wider hallways on the 5th and 6th decks, where we pass people slanting one way and then the other way, trying to maintain a careful balance. There are the several (3?) stairways going between decks, two with elevators to go from 2 to 7 deck.  We disembark usually on deck 2 off the gangway (often mistakenly called the gangplank), and embark after our port leave and stay, going through the ship's own security system. Deck 6 fore has the largest room - the Union, which sits some 250, and where seminars and other events are held - and from which presentations are piped into and onto the cabin TVs. Above the Union is the Glazer Lounge mainly for faculty and staff, a quiet study place during most of the day and night, except from 5-11 pm where one can buy drinks at the bar (Abu, from Mumbai, is there) and talk or even dance. 
      The Union cannot hold everyone - not even the 629 students, the 41 faculty, and 35 or so Staff.  Some Union events are piped into cabin TVs. There are deck areas for weight lifting, ping pong, a volleyball court (fully surrounded by netting), riding and running machines, a small swimming pool, and other deck areas - full sometimes with sunbathers, or sunset observers, or watching us dock or leave a port. Yesterday, because of high winds, the doors to outside decks were closed. The sunny day before, several people got sunburned.
      Many afternoon and evening activities start at the 5th deck Tymitz Square, which has the Pursar's bar on the Starboard side and the Activities and Trip bar on the Port side. 
      And 9 different classrooms around the 5th and 6ths decks, mainly with room for 20 or so students. And above Tymitz Sq on deck 6 are the IT office with about 12 computers on the starboard side, and our Library on the port side.  Which often, in the evenings is the hub of people trying to study, or checking out guide books, but others in conversation about where and how they are going to travel and what they will do at the next port coming up. 
    And a lot more stuff, but that's a little bit about our growing mobile community or moving country, and its activities, and the geography we travel in every day while on board.  Places we've started to get used to, our new home, now and for 4 months.


  1. Much vicarious enjoyment.

  2. Enjoyed reading your descriptions about the ship and all the activities.