Lieutenant's Log #10
(The Day Room)
Though it was a brisk day in Kiel, the sun was out, and there was a vibrancy about town. I took a longer walk than usual. I must have walked past three accordion players. They were all very good. I'm impressed that they are able to move their fingers in chilly weather. I couldn't help but wonder if the accordion players on the street, made more money than the beggars who simply sit on the bridge and ask for money as folks walk to and from the ship. The bridge beggers are almost always with a dog. From what I could see, the beggers aren't doing too bad. I think it would be a good idea for the accordion players to have a dog. People won't feed a starving musician, but they'll feed a dog. Hmmm, I think I should get a dog.
Regarding shopping, you won't get a bag unless you ask for one. And of course there's a fee. I had already been to one store, so I had one coat pocket filled with items. My last stop was the pharmacy. Usually the bags are in front of the line or at the end of the line. The clerk just puts your items on the counter, leaving you to figure it out. I didn't see any bags. So there I am, both pockets visually filled with stuff and merrily strolling out of the store. This could never happen in Philadelphia without a chase scene.
With me included, there are now four black men on the ship. A happy Kenyan that works in the mess (I'll call him Kenny) and three American musicians. Kenny is the only outwardly cheerful person I've encountered in kitchen staff. It usually feels like the DMV in there. Kenny chats easily. No one ever makes conversation from kitchen staff and he seems very sincere. He was telling me about a black musician who's going to be playing in the pub. "I'll introduce you." Sure enough, the next day there he was. Somebody shouted, "Hey New York!" I turned around and WHOA, the guy looks just like Morgan Freeman, taller than Choko, sporting a bold, "I'm an artist" haircut. His voice is as deep as Morgan Freeman. I'd say deeper. A gutsy, funny, extrovert. The kind of guy I would have befriended in school to scare away bullies. The 'Monkey Pub' musicians have to be bold and extroverted. That can be a rowdy room. "I'm from Alabama and there's a black classical pianist from N'awlins. Have you met him?" So courtesy Mr. Freeman, we black American musicians all know our names now. "New York" "Alabama" and "N'awlins" . "Nice to meet you Alabama."
Choko is thrilled and determined to get me to perform in the Bulgarian Jazz Festival this summer. Everyday he updates me with the details. I can't understand a word he's saying, so I have no idea what I'm agreeing to.