Seeing the World

When travelling, one meets people from all around the world. If a person interacts with them, he can learn things. As always and in all situations, one must be aware this is a singular person representing a culture of millions of people. Still it can be enlightening.

Cruise ships are staffed by a diversity of nationalities. Most of the captains are Italian. The entertainers are primarily British or American. Depending on where the ship sails, she might have a cleaning crew of mostly Filipinos or Jamaicans. Anyone who interacts with the public must have a fair grasp of English.

We had an encounter with a bonnie young lass from Glasgow, serving as a wine steward. She loved her home and missed it, though she was enjoying her sight-seeing tour, paid for by service on the ship. Through her eyes, Scotland is a beautiful country, well worth visiting. The harsh weather? She never gave it a second thought.

One pleasant cabin steward was a middle-aged lady from Jamaica. Her father had toured with the big ships and her husband guided vacationers on horseback rides through the jungle and out into ocean surf. After being on the ship awhile as it cruised around Alaska, her return trip home made her less than appreciative of the tropical heat and humidity.

She loved to talk about her Christian faith and how it is still being influenced by pagan beliefs from Jamaica’s history. She regarded her tour on the ship as a ministry to her fellow-workers.

One young deck hand from the island of Roatan regaled us with his secrets of how to pick up women. With a large smile, he told us he always waited until his wife was too tired to go dancing and the kids were in bed.

Our Croatian maitre-d was one of the friendliest and most willing to interact, leaving us to wonder if everyone from that part of the world is so outgoing and pleasant.

Canadians seem to cheer very enthusiastically and laugh with great gusto, based on the few I’ve met.

A cabin steward from the Philippines told of his ambitious plans to start his own business. It would be paid for in five years of cleaning rooms and attending to the needs of tourists. He was quite excited at the prospect, even after more than two years away from his family.

There are lots of places I’ve never been–Scotland, England, South Africa, the Philippines, Norway–but I’ve met their people. It’s sort of like seeing the world through someone else’s eyes.

I wonder if they went away thinking most Americans are adventurous and uncoordinated, forthcoming and a little bit blonde.


About janets123

Children's writer, newspaper columnist, essayist, poet, storyteller
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