Antwerp - IstanbulDAY 10

- by Ward Hulselmans

- Saturday 30 November 2019

We're laid out. At 9 a.m. we'll meet with the agent for permission to go ashore. At 11 we really know we are in Greece. Nobody shows up. "Those wretched Greeks" growls at the captain who has an appointment in Piraeus. "With the weekend in sight, you won't be able to reach anyone Friday afternoon at noon. Everyone just goes home. No wonder this country's gone bankrupt!" The captain promises to call. I'll wait, with Francis who's watchman at the gangway again. He knows I'll be home soon and envies me, he has to wait until March; then he gets married. In order to still be able to disembark, I hope for a delay during loading and unloading, because my spare time is dwindling by the minute.

"We sailed in with 4,222 containers."

so chance enough for an unexpected delay in the maneuvers. At 13h it is clear: Greece will have to do without my footprint. Nobody shows up. I can't go ashore and I feel bought. I would have loved to have visited the city. But it's Saturday. The cop just doesn't feel like coming here. I'm not the only victim of this mentality. In fact, all Greeks are the victims. Piraeus isn't even Greek anymore. The state just sold this huge port to the Chinese! Piraeus, always the pride of the Greek fleet, is no longer Greek because the state is in debt. Selling heritage is then the easiest way to get money. Similarly, the 14 regional airports have already been sold. To the Germans. The Greeks have long since put their honor and national pride in the garbage. Will the Parthenon follow soon? After leaving the port we sail along the city for a long time, one white line of buildings in the sun. And - in a glimpse that lasts only a few seconds - the sun then falls on an even whiter, even bigger city behind it, between the hills. This white spot is called Athens.

"I've seen Athens. Well, that's something, anyway."

We are now on the Aegean Sea and the rest of the time I'm loafing up and down, I can't find my turn. Maybe it's because the last night on the Alessia is coming up. Tomorrow I'll sample.

*

It's a warm night. I'm gonna stop by Lawrence and Gleb's on the bridge one last time. In pitch darkness the twenty-somethings pilot the ship between the islands in the direction of Turkey. Gleb is silent for the first time. He is counting down the hours. His seven months at sea are over. Lawrence yawned. He was a duty-officer during loading. He's knocking double shifts and sitting through it. I'm looking at the sky. There's not one star. Something's starting to change. It's in the sky and I can feel it by the sea. We're approaching another area, we're approaching unknown territory, but that's not all. There is something that stretches even further, but I can't describe it.

***

- DAY 929 November 2019

preceding day

- DAY 111 December 2019

subsequent day