On The Yukon (OTY) / On The Ayeyarwady (OTA) – 13

OTY: The only mutinous behavior I exhibited on our boat was when I refused to descend into the barge jet fuel tanks. My resistance was not from the claustrophobic conditions, since I had tried spelunking once and was not freaked by darkness or narrow passageways. My concern was that the fumes would kill my brain cells. The company equipment looked totally inadequate for the job. The first mate took on the task. He survived the plunge into the fumes, and we kept the air supply plump from failing. He did not fire me for insubordination. I did owe him one.

OTA: Every time our group came back on board, we were greeted by the cruise manager with a squirt of hand sanitizer. This ablution was mandatory. Any grumbling and they probably would have left you on the river banks. Contagion on a ship clearly is a prime concern. (As we know too well during the COVID crisis.) Changing our shoes when we returned from expeditions was another sanitary practice, and the crew was ready to put your feet into those onboard slippers if you were showing any hesitancy. This purification ritual was a cleansing of contamination from the outside world – a bit symbolic of our isolation and detachment from the Burmese people. Reach out but then wipe away the residue.

About Whittoons

Cartoonist, and community organizer who has covered the globe as a doodlebugger, gandydancer, supernumerary steward, Able Bodied Seaman, Wireman, monkey man, Night Baker and dishwasher, Hobo, hitchhiker and husband.
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