The following Log is supplied by Bei Ming (Ben) Liu who flew all the way from Beijing in mid Aug to joined Rula Bula as a deckhand for a 10 (holiday)…!! Well not quite a holiday — right Ben??
‘There will be no government editing for this blog I thought.’ ‘Don’t believe for a minute!’ says Scott.
I was told by the Captain by 3pm that the blog should be done and posted by tonight. Speaking very little English and always receiving poor grades for writing, this task makes me feel like being in IELTS writing exams again, only with no preparation and notice in advance. Though being desperate to make a fuss about the Captain, I really do need a place to stay for the next three nights before going back to China, so I’d better keep my mouth shut and start writing for now.
If you are laughing at me complaining about writing, just try to rewrite this in Chinese and see how that goes! Good luck with that.
‘So as Rula Bula finally departed New Port at 06:45 hours on 17th August…’ Before telling you the rest of the sailing story with the motor engine being on for most of the time, how Uncle Bryan and I got to NYC is also an interesting start.
On 15th August 2011, the captain and I were to take different flights from Miami Beach to NYC (different airport), we both experienced severe delays and by the time I arrived at JFK which was almost three hours behind the scheduled time, opened my cell phone and received text: “I am still in Miami flight cancelled just got back to the apartment. Will not get to NYC today”… So I took a bus, got to Grand Central Station, went for a quick dinner (red meat for sure as the word ‘red meat ’ does not exist in Bryan’s dictionary) caught a cab, got to 33rd St, got on the PATH train and off to Newport Marina on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. It is always difficult to find the direction in a city that you are not familiar with but New York was more like Mars to me after living in a village in England for three years.
The captain Bryan got a free upgraded to business class the next morning, and guess what he had for breakfast? Oatmeal! With all crew (Barbara, Scott, Ben and Bryan) on board, we finally set sail (or motored if you wish). We left Newport Marina in Jersey City, headed for the East River, went through Hell’s Gate and into the Long Island Sound. We finally anchored in Oyster Bay (where we had no oysters at all). Uncle Bryan threatened that all new crews needed to swim to shore but I managed to secure a position on the dinghy after all. On the way to President Theodore Roosevelt’s summer house, Barbara walked extremely fast excited to see the President’s summer home and as Scott described ‘a woman on a mission’. As a foreigner I found it unusual to find dead stuffed animal heads on the walls and especially the trash bin which was made from an elephant’s foot and surprised by how small the beds were back then. While learning some American history such as the house was the White House in summer, the other president’s wife Eleanor also lived there when she was a teenager. The fact that Theodore Roosevelt’s first wife and mother died on the same day and in the same apartment in NYC before he became the president of United States was really the darkest moment of his life. He wrote ‘The light has gone out of my life’ on his dairy and marked a big ‘X’ on the top. He went to the west side of the country and nearly went bankrupted as a cowboy but somehow he returned to Oyster Bay, built the house and became the president later on. Everybody has highs and lows but no matter what happens in your life, you should never stop fighting for your dreams. (Or whether there is no wind, a sailboat should never stop sailing…there is always diesel to backup.)
We never had any oyster in town but I did have a nice dinner with a huge portion of lobster, mussels and steamed clams which could feed up to three people. I had to make a huge effort to finish the dish without throwing up (in a restaurant rather than on board!) Scott was amazed by my metabolism rate as I had a banana only 30 minutes after the dinner.
18th August 2011, a day cannot be more ordinary for most people but a big day for me. I finally got accepted by Imperial College London which must please a lot of my family members, my parents at least. Barbara started to make some Caribbean style pork loin to celebrate my acceptance which will not be served until two days later. As we departed from Oyster Bay, the wind started pick up but stopped completely a few minutes after we put up the sail. (When the apps the captain used told us the wind should be blowing.) As soon as we anchored near Milford Town, wind started to blow and numbers of sailing boats start racing. The wind did come ‘just a bit late’ as captain says. The dinghy was put into the water after we anchored. I slipped and one of my feet went into the water even before the dinghy got moving. The wave splashed from the side of the dinghy and Uncle Bryan got wet on the back. Scott slowed down the dinghy before anyone else got wet. However the wave in the front did not slow down at the same time which caused Barbara’s butt to get wet. So when we arrived at the shore, three of us were wet and the only one that was not affected is the dinghy driver. Was he being cautious or was he trying to teach us a lesson? Well, that’s the question that you cannot have an answer for. After a thirty-minute-walk with lovely countryside mosquitosaround in the Milford Town, we finally met Barbara’s sister Maureen and brother in law Paul in the town center. Maureen got out of the car and had a chat with us while Paul searched for a parking spot as Maureen said, ‘‘it is impossible to park in this town.’’ (only 1hr parking allowed on the main road.) Then we were off to a Thai restaurant where dishes were larger than expected and the taste was fine given the price we paid. Uncle Bryan with his usual high standards for everything gave a ‘passing grade’ to the Thai restaurant. Good for you! Thai restaurant, I did not really expect you to pass in Bryan’s super super difficult test at all. There was a lot of bird watching talk going on and as I knew nothing about birds I was comfortably enjoying the Thai beer which, strictly speaking was illegal for me to enjoy. Paul obviously was a famous bird watcher and you could probably find his blog on some famous bird watching website like ‘angry bird’. Don’t blame me if I was wrong, that was the only bird-related thing I know. On the way back to RulaBula, we saw lighting and a thunder storm coming ahead and experienced some rocky waves but strangely nobody got wet this time…I guess Scott was being more ‘cautious’. Uncle Bryan said ‘‘How come I got wetter going to shore than coming back?’’. Well, you know what? I was wondering about the same thing. What do you say, Scott? I am sure there will be a reasonable explanation in the next blog.
Ps: it is 22:39 hours 21th August 2011; we finished the tasty pork, which we were supposed to eat two days ago, prepared by Barbara and Scott.
Tomorrow will be Chinese Dinner Night and I will be on duty. If the blog stopped updating from tomorrow night, don’t freak out and just remember: it has nothing to do with my food. Although it will be my first time to cook a dinner (ever), I personally have full belief in myself and my cooking skill is JUST fine! So repeat, no matter what happens, it will definitely have no relationship with the Chinese food I cooked. You have my word! Best of luck for those lucky and brave enough in the world, who are willing to eat by their own choice, my cooking! Good night guys, see you tomorrow and hopefully, the day after tomorrow.
Summary: By Bei Min(Ben)Liu
The Good, The Bad and The ugly.
‘You can write anything you like: the good, the bad and the ugly; or the good and the bad; or just the bad; or the bad and the ugly.’ says the Captain.
First I shall apologize for the belated submission. However belated submission is at least better than no submission.
I would love to use this opportunity to thank Uncle Bryan, Scott and Barbara for giving me this great trip. Sailing with RB and you guys is definitely the highlight of my summer vacation. Though we all wish there was more wind to help RB to sail. And INDEED the hurricane Irene came as far as 90mph right after my departure. Sorry mate, I know you have travelled as fast as you can, yet still a bit late for my sailing trip, try to catch me the next time! (Or not.)
Speaking of The good, I think we all agree that oatmeal is absolutely GOOD: it’s healthy, fruity, and it provides enough energy and most importantly it’s repetitive as Uncle Bryan mentioned to me: ‘People don’t like changes.’ (Well, that is the case right? Scott and Barbara, I’m sure you guys would agree with me.) Although the oatmeal is brilliant in many ways, The Bad is…well…we do not have any other choices. That is not entirely precise. We did have a cooked breakfast on which day? Oh yes, the day I left. Uncle Bryan was celebrating my departure and I guess they may invite everyone on the dock for a drink afterwards. (Hurricane Irene was invited also from what I heard from BBC.)
During this sailing trip, we did some exploring in various towns which have different architecture styles, different food and different people with different temper. The cycling experience in Block Island is rather special because here we witness a situation which might be described as once a lifetime: Uncle Bryan is falling behind. It all began with Uncle Bryan introducing me the brilliant British invention: A bike. (That’s right, a bike which named ‘A bike’) What is special about the bike is it can be folded into a small piece that is smaller than your leg a portable size fits in RB perfectly. The rest of us were either too big to fit the bike or not skilful enough to handle it, we had to rent the normal bike instead. On the way to the top of the hill, those who rode on normal bikes changed the gear to become easier to climb up the road. Uncle Bryan on the other hand could not change the gear as there’s only one gear for ‘A bike’. ‘You don’t normal see Bryan falling behind, but we did today.’ says Barbara. The brilliant British thing may not be that brilliant on the hill after all.
During the trip I’ve also learned to clean the boat, clean the “Head” (bathroom in boat talk) (which Julie did not when she left) and cook a meal for everyone. Between the transition phase of high school and university I leaned to take more responsibility. Uncle Bryan tried to give me a hard time and push me closer to my potential during the sail and that indeed made me clear where my weakness was and where I could improve. The sailing trip has finished, my university life is yet to begin. More adventure is still waiting for me and I shall go for it. Ciao!
Tips for those will board later: Do NOT order anything like Canterbury clam Bake if you were asked to finish by yourself.