No Really I Insist (Nov 20)

“Only offer something you’re willing to part with entirely.” – Nick Henderson

Funny story, the cook on this boat doesn’t speak a word of English. But I know that if I want to be happy, than he needs to be happy. The other morning we did a fairly lengthy morning pre-flight and work on the 500c before going to breakfast or “cshop-cshop” as it sounds pronounced over the intercom. We got to the galley at around 7am and sat down to rice and fried eggs (the only breakfast option). The cook was not happy, but we did not know this until we were done eating and starting putting our dishes in the sink when he came over.

“Morning, no cshop-cshop, seven am, no more.” His broken and forced English came through clear enough, breakfast was not to be had after 7am. Ok fair enough, he’s a busy guy feeding a crew of 25 and he has lunch service to prep. I’m being a bit sarcastic there, the meals here are 80% rice which he makes in the morning, 15% soup broth which takes a second to boil up and toss veggies in, 3% side dishes of kimchi, and 2% meat.

A word to those considering this job, on items to bring with you. When you get to the port you’re meeting your boat at stop in the local market and pick up one of the big packs of Nescafe 3-in-1. It’s a coffee, cream, sugar, packet and it’s actually pretty good. It’s also a billion times better then the coffee granules on the boat. Trust me. You might also pick up some chocolate powder, and powdered milk. Those three things combine nicely into a makeshift mocha, pour it over ice and you’re a regular beverage mogul on this ship already. Also – the cook has an array of sauces near the stove and cooking area, don’t hesitate to use these. I’ve found I can stomach more of the meals when they are slathered in chili-vinegar sauce and ketchup. Today I snuck some of the cooks A1 sauce (which I was surprised to see) into my rice and it was delicious.

Anyways, back to my story. I share a cabin with the deck boss and the cook, so that night when he came back to the cabin I though, maybe I’ll offer this guy one of my coveted pogey-bait cookies;

“Pogey-bait; snacks, cookies, crackers, candy. US Military derogatory term meant to poke fun at the non-combat arms “POGs” by implying you can lure their fat asses out of their air conditioned rooms and internet lounges with candy and snacks.” Pronounced: Poe-gee-bait

Well, the pack was unopened and that was my mistake, he thought I was offering up the whole thing – smiled, and accepted the gift and then left to drink with the captain, and share my cookies with him. Well damn, down a whole pack of cookies in less than a minute. This is why I don’t go to casinos.

This morning, however, the cook was in a much more jovial and friendly mood at breakfast, I guess the bribe kind of worked.

Today was a big day for me, it was my first day flying from the left seat as PIC in the 500. It felt awesome, but ultimately it felt like another helicopter. Everything flows from one to the other, you just adjust little things here and there. Our particular 500 starts a bit high on the TOT but nothing that isn’t allowed in the flight manual as far as transient temperatures go. Today’s lesson was landing and takeoff, more of the same. The more landings I can get in the better though, as that is certainly the most tricky part so far. We did maybe 7 or 8 landing to the deck with short circles around the boat between each. The takeoffs are looking great – and of course the flying is on point. Landings really came a long way today though, I’m 1.4 hours in the 500 now, all training off shore on a moving boat, and I think that by 3 hours I’ll be ready to solo. I think I’ll insist on riding it out to 5 hours, but Jose seems to think that solo will happen soon too.

Roxy, my mechanic, joked today about a solo flight initiation going back to the Air Force days – “we don’t have a dunker tank though” he chuckled “so I think maybe the ocean?”

Lunch today was something special, fishy soup. I intentionally used fishy, and not just fish soup. It was pretty much soup of the sea – and tasted like fish. On the table were thin slivers of what I’m thinking was the same fish – tasted just as gross. I couldn’t be sure though because it was really chewy. Like, abnormally chewy for any fish I’ve ever had. So I leaned over to Jose and asked him what kind of meat it was – without missing a beat he looks up at me with the most serious expression and says “Snake” and went back to eating. A couple of the guys at the table chuckled, so I’m going to assume he was yanking my chain. Otherwise, snake, is not delicious.

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