I’m out on the Holland America ship the Statendam performing and teaching steel drums. I am especially enjoying the teaching part! The passengers are so eager to get a chance to learn about and play a bit of Caribbean music, and I love to share that adventure with them. I feel like I’m in my element! It is a great chance for me also to develop a curriculum for a short, relatively informal steel drum class.

Some of the other crew members and I had a little adventure in Costa Rica today. We had rehearsals and such and weren’t able to do any of the excellent organized excursions that Holland America offers. So we tried to do it ourselves. However, this particular stop is a container port in the middle of the jungle. There is almost nothing there. A group of us started walking and since I speak Spanish I sort of became the leader. The port officials were discouraging us from walking, but they let us walk out of the port but said we had to take a taxi back in. We walked some distance in the hot, sticky, tropical heat with the rain forest all around and big loud semi trucks zooming past. We went to a restaurant and had some wonderful fresh juices and watched the iguanas and listened to the wonderful tropical birds. Then we started back but realized the taxis weren’t coming by and my roommate (a piano player) and I had to play a set in like 40 minutes. I told everyone else that Simon and I were just going to go ahead and run back. So I’m sprinting through the tropical heat and figuring I’ll just tell the port officials that they have to let us in. Just before I get to the port entrance I see a taxi coming the other way. I flag him down and we go back and pick everyone up and go into the port in the Taxi. Simon and I rush into our rooms to change and get ready only to find a note that our set has been moved an hour later.

So, I figure I’ll hop off the ship again and use the internet in the terminal right next to the ship. I do that and arrive back at the gangway about 5 to 7 minutes before crew all aboard. Unfortunately I arrive just after a tour bus filled with hundreds of passengers disgorges itself, so there is a huge line/group of passengers waiting to get on the ship. I figure it is important that I get on so I sort of merge with the line and think nothing of it. Then at dinner my boss’s boss tells me I’m in the doghouse. I had no idea what she was talking about. Apparently the captain or one of his security guys was watching me and decided I cut in the line. I have unwittingly gotten very much on the radar of the captain unfortunately. I think he is a very good captain, but it’s rough when I feel like I am working hard at my job and really knocking it out of the ballpark (and uniquely qualified for what Holland America is looking for) but you still unwittingly get in trouble. Ship life is definitely unique. Anyway, the passengers and great people I work with and especially my steel drum students make it all worthwhile.

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Comment by Ian Dobson (Drumworldtv) on July 5, 2012 at 11:33pm

Easier said than done on a cruise ship sometimes JenMarie, but people on the ships often told me that actually... You just have to make sure you don't get caught or seen by anyone who really has a lot of sway... and especially not by the captain!

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