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Thursday, 22 December 2011

Nomadic DHL and the last days of Rome

Written a couple of weeks ago...

While in Shanghai we went to an evening street market and there was this guy doing a bbq with all kinds of food on skewers - it was such good value and amazing tasting.  There was all kinds of meat (maybe some toad?!) and also skewers with shitake mushrooms and oyster mushrooms, plus everything had these really tasty spices added.  

Plenty of selection!

We are now DHL chartered!  We are delivering what seems to be a whole power station from Shanghai to Haldia, India.  You never really imagine deliveries like this being handled by DHL, but here we are.  

Loading is slow due to heavy lift cargo operations.  We have loaded two steam drums (for large steam boilers) each weighing 153 tonnes.  It takes both cranes and much skill to place them safely in the cargo holds - especially as the maximum allowed between both cranes is 160 tonnes!  Five large transformers are also to go in, and these weigh around 140 tonnes each I'm told.  I'm also told that these are extremely expensive (each one is millions apparently).  So, hopefully no mistakes...

Once finished we were stacked with cargo even on the top of the cargo holds.

Power station loaded

We are now in Haldia, India after stopping off en route in Singapore to bunker some fuel.  The total voyage was around 11 days from Shanghai.  Getting into Haldia involved a long manoeuvring as we had to pass through lots of locks en route.  Haldia is very dusty and there's a little fire truck that drives around the port spraying the ground with water to try and avoid as much dust blowing around.  Cargo operations are slow and we've been told it will take around ten days to discharge all cargo.  I've also been told that here the Chief Officer, one of the other crew, and myself will be disembarking - there are some new crew en route from the Philippines to replace us.  So, it's now a rush to suddenly get all the reports I am part way through finished and get all the paperwork done for the academy and my training record book.

Oh, and the on ship market came on board here.  This time we also had hairdresser and masseuse too.  When the Captain was getting his hair cut it reminded me of Prison Break Season 3 in the Panamanian Prison when 'El Patron' is getting his hair cut...

We're getting off at some point on 16th December and we will take a car journey to Calcutta, then fly to Dubai (only myself and Chief officer, as Chris will fly to somewhere else before the Phillipinnes), and then I will fly to Gatwick and Chief Officer to Moscow...


Back home now. Below are some photos of India, en route to Calcutta airport.  Really interesting driving style from the taxi!  You might notice the sensible following distance from a photo or too.  What was really interesting was that there were just people walking and cycling by what was the 'motorway'.    Excuse the photo composition and quality - for most of these we were flying past at about 60mph so it wasn't easy. 

These first photos were from when we had to wait at the agent's office for a few hours before taking the taxi to the airport.  Cyclists and cows were passing regularly (the latter just wander about), and there was a small lake/pond where the locals would come and bathe.

 Chief and Chris


 Bikes parked for bathing

Average traffic

Mika Hakkinen (Chief)

 Car loaded including very important luggage - the Chief's R/C helicopter

Chief at airport with crucial luggage.  Amusingly it was carried on the plane as hand luggage like this.  The air hostess even stored it separately from the other luggage especially for him!

These photos from here down were taken en route to Calcutta airport

A lot of the structures around Haldia were like this, but then closer to Calcutta there were more concrete buildings.

Lots of the trucks were painted with bright colours like this

 Bridge repairs...

 There were lots of homes right by the road, with washing hanging out - it must have got pretty dusty.

 Cycling, walking, all by the side of the road, in both directions

 On the way, we passed quite a few small provinces like this

Motorway services...

I was impressed by this.

One of the more impressive buildings en route

Wash time

Of the more permanent structures we saw, this was probably the most typical type of home around the Haldia area.  

That's it.  I'm now back home and loving being back with Emily, but also the climate, the beautiful look of England at this time of year, parking fines, queues, and all the other English staples.  Suffice to say, rice is not on the menu three times a day now - I've reduced it a little!