OK, so here I am. 8:31pm... cup of Starbucks in hand... in my thermos from Singapore, I must add...
Let me give you a rundown since I got off the plane last night:
~ 7pm - land in Lome, Togo
~ 8pm - get through immigration and customs (they re-xrayed the bags... perhaps only as a semblance of security, since there really was no need... I just got into Togo!)
~8:30pm - arrive on the dock in Lome port; it was a crazy ride from the airport. Kind of like there were two lanes each way, but more like 3 lanes of traffic and motor scooters everywhere. that's the gist... There were people crowding around shops watching the world cup on TV... and our driver said most of the ship crew were watching the US vs. England game aboard the ship. :-)
~8:45pm - walk up the Africa Mercy gangway, drop off my bags in the dining room under a sign with my name and cabin number, and sit down to dinner... tuna noodle cassarole, rice pudding, and watermelon.
9:30pm - fill in paperwork, get my picture taken for my ID badge, get my room key and head to my cabin...meet two of my cabinmates, Silke and Damaris, both from Germany
10pm - collapse into bed completely exhausted... but still very much awake... put in headphones and listened to Lord of the Rings soundtracks on really low volume until I finally fell asleep. The cabin's pitch black because our deck has no portholes and it was super quiet... and to my lovely surprise, the bed is a twin XL... gotta love that 96" to stretch out!
8am - alarm goes off, hit the snooze... breakfast is until 9am anyway
8:15am - finally get out of bed and head up to deck 5 for breakfast... bacon, scrambled eggs, biscuits, juice, and cereal (boxed milk, btw)... made a sandwich for lunch b/c the galley is off duty for lunch on weekends. sit down to eat and finish at about 8:55 when another couple I met in on the plane comes up and sits at my table. They seem in no hurry for the mandatory tour at 9am... come to find out I had set my alarm for 7am not 8! Haha... gotta love my time zone calculations at 10pm after traveling for 2 days...
9am - get a tour of the ship... it's huge... maybe I'll take a picture of the deck plans and post it here... basically there are a ton of stairs, some only lead to certain decks. I'm on aft deck 3... hospital is stern deck 3. More cabins on deck 4. Main entry, dining room, and Starbucks cafe is on deck 5. Internet cafe on deck 6 as is laundry. Deck 7 has access to the outside, and deck 8 is the crew-only outdoor deck (and the still-unfinished pool).
11am - journal some, have devos., get online in the internet cafe, and talk some with Abi and Jenny
12:30pm - we three meet up with Ruth, a nurse from NZ who was on our plane from Paris... decide to eat our lunches outside on deck 7.
2:30pm - unpack and meet my top bunkmate just moving in. Julie's a nurse from NZ too.
3:30pm - back up to deck 7 for some fresh air. I'm falling asleep so I just watch the rain come down and feel the ship roll a little more with the larger waves. Talk with the Frances, and the other Ruth, two older ladies I met from the plane.
5pm - dinner. Met Rhonda and Brittany, two best friend nurses from Canada... "sloppy joes," baked beans, corn/peas, and sandwich leftovers
7pm - got online via wifi finally. FB, email... Starbucks cafe opened and hence the coffee...
I start work tomorrow. Orientation at 9am... I'm looking forward to learning the ship well enough to give tours... but all those stairs are going to be grueling...
*I love it here*