Saturday, February 7, 2015

See Spot Run, See Heather Come Unhinged

When you travel, you realize that not everyone thinks the same way that you do (frankly, I hardly feel like anyone thinks the way that I do, but that’s for another introspective posting).  There are regional, municipal and certainly country-wide differences.  We all know that the Germans like things to be “just so”.  And if I could categorize and generalize a bit, the Dutch and Belgian folk seem to fall into this group too.  Those Danish and Scotsmen….well, they are “thrifty”, to use a politically acceptable word.  You head further south where the weather is warmer, and you’ve got those freewheeling Greeks and Spaniards.  Their weather allows them a bit of leeway, where if the job doesn’t get complete today, there is always tomorrow.  And then there is the middle east…..where being a woman, I don’t get to tell you what I think. 
We are here in Latin America.  I’m not really sure when it becomes Latin, and when it’s just South America, or Central America, but for now I’ll just call it Latin America to encompass the entire region from the US/Mexico border to the tip of Cape Horn.  And as you all know, we’re coming up on 4 ½ years being in this neck of the woods.  I must be a slow learner, or adapter, but I CANNOT SHED MY NEED FOR LOGIC, AND FOR COMPLETING TASKS IN A TIMELY MATTER WITHOUT A BUNCH OF BULLSHIT THROWN IN.   I have tried, truly I have.  Perhaps I started off with more than my fair share, but honest to god getting things done here boggles the mind.  

Yes, I am aware that everyone comes to each task with a different set of experiences behind them and driving their actions.  Yes, I know that sometimes I just want things done when, and how, I want them done, because, forgive me if I am in error here, but am I not forking over money to get something accomplished?  A man I worked with in Zambia used to get so pissed off when people would explain away ineptitude by exclaiming…”ah, but it is Africa.”  As if that is somehow an excuse.  I get it now.  

We just wanted a tank of propane filled.  The ENTIRE world uses propane to cook their meals, and heat their water.  We wanted to be able to do that too, but due to a slight bit of underfilling at our last stop, (let’s just call it thievery, shall we?!) one of our tanks had come up dry after only 6 weeks of use, where we normally could go for 2-3 months.  Now here on the most remote island in the Galapagos, and with a grounded tanker several islands to our east, we were coming up with a few shrugged shoulders and it looked like it was going to turn into a mammoth task.  I will not bore you with the blow by blow details, but suffice it to say that it took a monumental effort for me to keep from strangling a few unsuspecting Ecuadorians.  Ah, you say, but she isn’t on a schedule.  She really doesn’t need it to be done “right now”.  My reply is, “you’re damn right I’m on a schedule.  I’m on a life schedule and the clock is ticking, and the time I have left will NOT be spent getting the bullshit runaround!!!”  I’ve written about how difficult it is to get an egg on board, well multiply that exponentially by at least 1 million, and getting a 20 pound propane tank filled is harder. 

We got it done.  


I have less hair.
The ulcer that I’ve been working hard at eradicating after the last 10 years of my so-called life while still in Canada….yes, I can feel it growing again.  

Rant done.  

Until the next time.

1 comment:

  1. Heather, on Isabella we split a standard island steel tank among several boats. Pretty cheap, when you bring the tank back for your deposit. We had a decanting party, no smoking allowed!!! cheers!