Rotterdam. After the mess caused by the let down by FNAC of the delivery of the camera everything was off to a dis-organised start. I had watched YouTube videos about the use of the camera but the reality of what can be done with it and even how to switch it on turned the filming process into a farce. My GPS, programmed correctly took me to an abandoned quay and not the marine training college (STC) which was nowhere to be seen. I went back to a bar I had seen on the way through the docks where amazingly one of the college workers was having more than several drinks. He explained with a two-page diagram where the college was.
April 1st – Today I met the Banana Boat for the first time in Rotterdam. And that’s no joke!
March 31 – Fnac didn’t deliver the video camera despite it being paid for, the name of the sponsor didn’t match mine so they would not process the deal, but didn’t tell me. So I lost a whole day waiting for it to come, and set off 7 pm to cross France, Belgium and get to a shop in Rotterdam which had the model I need in stock.
Twelve days to go before setting off to Holland, to begin the voyage in Rotterdam. I feel like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a car; I need to move quickly, but not sure which way to go…
The preparations are going well; well, going, going, gone. This last week I have been in contact with people all over the world; Australia, British Caledonia and the UK to name just a few, and I have had the website visited by people in Italy, Singapore, Portugal and Guatemala; all countries I am not going to visit on this voyage.
I have spoken to tourist offices, radio, television and press people; I have made communications via skype, text, Facebook and emails which are seemingly continuous and I have actually had one letter too, from the tax office, naturally.
The biggest expenditure of time has been reading badly written instruction manuals for the new equipment bought for the trip. The time is wasted when they just don’t mention an important stage in setting up something. A bit like a driving instructor not mentioning you have to turn the key and start the engine first…
I did have some success with the sound equipment which actually connected via blue tooth to my computer and actually played the music correctly…I mention that success as everything else just does not do what you think it should.
There are exciting things happening too, and these involve the reactions and kindness of complete strangers. I must say since starting this project I have not laughed so much: ever. The second prise goes to a lady in Texas who laughed to nearly two minutes but number 1 has to be the owner of the costume shop in Rotterdam who equalled the Texan but then continued to be unable to talk and had to hand me over to talk to his wife, saying ‘I give my wife to you’.
Once the laughing slows down, I have had some delightful conversations with people who have completely taken on board the complexity of the trip and all that is going on around it. Stc-BV Marine Training College have given me the perfect start to the voyage by opening their college for me to film but also will be dropping me in their helicopter into a huge swimming pool sized tank simulating an aircraft crash; and this on the 1st of April.
I now have sponsors for the product placement of clothing, so I will look good on camera and for the first time in my life be coordinated clothing wise. As I write, I await replies from several large companies who may become principle sponsors. Other people are waiting to see what the outcome of the voyage is going to be before committing themselves financially which is understandable in these days when everyone is feeling the economy tightening.
On the few moments I have been able to go outside I have noticed that Spring seems to be well advanced with blossom on the trees and spring flowers everywhere. Although I only have a few days to go, the days are getting longer, which helps.