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14 October 2008

Blue Angels

Sunday was good and bad. I was sad to miss out on church, which is an important spiritual boost. It being fast sunday was even harder because the testimonies that are born are usually so special. Afterwords I missed out on mexican food for break the fast, some of my favorite foods. I also missed being at church with my brother who is an amazing individual and came up to visit.

The good parts? Well I got to go on the ship "The Golden Bear." This is the training ship for the students of the Califonia Maritime Academy. I worked the bookstore and got to meet a number of different people. Where the bookstore is set up is called "pirates cove." The only thing that would have been cooler would have been to dress up as pirates, but thats not professional in a business stand point. We had a porthole we could look out of to see the ocean as the ship moved out to sea.

It was fun. One minute you would be standing still and the next the ship would start rocking or leaning and you would have to rebalance yourself. I loved the feeling of being on moving ground.

Outside there was a lot of good food and drinks. This was a time for the families to relax and see what their students get to do while at the academy. Many people brought folding chairs and enjoyed the ride. The working ship had become a cruise ship, for some. The students that were on board were, most of them, dressed in their uniforms and working in different areas of the ship.

I was able to tour the engine room. It was amazing and loud. To protect your ears everyone is required to wear earplugs. The students that work the engine room have these special ear covers, they look like heavy duty headphones. The control room has so many levers and buttons it is confusing to someone like me. It is amazing the knowledge these people must have just to move a ship through the ocean. It is increadible. In the engine area there are so many pipes and pullys and who knows what else they are called. The walkways are metal mesh that mazes through all of the different areas of the engine room. This is to make it convinient for those working to get to any area they need to. The only quiet area, at least while the ship is stationary, is the place where the propeller is attached. It's a big room with a large metal cylinder, that moves the propeller when it spins. We were standing on a platform with railings able to look down at the metal cylinder. That was the only time we could really hear our guide, because we could take out our earplugs. She was wonderful, but had a soft voice.

Robin closed down the bookstore when it was time for the blue angels to fly. I got to watch the show. It was fabulous. The angels flew so close it seemed like they were going to clip the top of the ship. I could see the details of the planes and even read their numbers. I didn't remember that my phone had a camera until it was almost too late. Even though they didn't fly so close again, I did still catch a few good shots. It was fun to watch them fly in formation and flower off, creating paterns in the sky with their smoke. The engines were loud, though where I was standing on the ship was pretty loud too. I could only hear the angels when they were flying directly overhead, otherwise I was hearing the ships engine. It was such a wonderful experiance.

Then it was back to work at the bookstore. Everything was organized so that people could see the different patterns of what we had in stock. We would then check if we had the right size under the table. The pully bears, cute little stuffed animals that you can pull their arms and legs so they either have really long legs and short arms or really short legs and long arms or one of each. They are such fun little toys. They were one of the most popular items other than hats and shirts and sweatshirts. I learned how to calculate sales tax by hand, since the register wasn't able to go online. We did everything old school, by hand. It was a learning experiance and because everyone is on the same ship all day, no one really complained about having to wait a little longer to do the purchase.

It was over all too soon. We packed everything up and counted our inventory of what we had left. Then we scooted to the front of the line to get back to the bookstore on land. We got to watch the ship pull into the docking area. As the ship closed in to the dock things got really crowded. People all around, it was a little unnearving for me, since I don't do so well in crowds. It was a relief when we were able to be one of the first ones off the ship. Robin got a wonderful picture of the outside of the "Golden Bear" I hope to get a copy.

The walk back to the bookstore was happy and sad. I will miss the ship but there was still work that needed to be done. The sun was setting gorgeously along a calm sea. Robin opened up the bookstore and finished all of the transactions from the ship. Andrew and I were able to hang out and relax. Robin treated us and Shell to chineese food, which was really nice of her.

All in all I had a wonderful day but I know it was hard and stressful for Robin. I hope I was enough help to make it that much easier on her. Plus, any opportunity to see the blue angels fly right over your head makes any thing worth it. If the chance ever came up, I'd do it again.

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