I am still trying to catch up on past few days in Bahrain and so I will continue the tale.
Friday was the big day!! At first they told us that we were going to be restricted to the Bahrain base starting on Friday, but then they changed their minds because Ramadan didn’t actually start until the 1st (More about that later). Originally there was no overnight liberty for Friday only Wednesday and Thursday, which I had duty Thursday, so that was a huge bummer.
But Alas!, as it turns out the Captain did authorize overnight liberty on Friday but he told the department heads that evening right before he left, so it was very hard to route a chit through since it had to be bottom-lined by the captain. Unfortunately that’s the only way to get you overnight in foreign countries.
Quickly we did some research and members of a medical detachment on board were staying at the Diplomat Hotel so that’s where we decided to go for our overnight. We had every intention of leaving right after the duty swap the next morning to head for the hotel, but of course the captain was sleeping and as stated above we absolutely had to get the chits signed before we could leave. Around 0930, the two other girls I was going with and myself started to get very antsy and I finally just decided to call the captain and ask him to sign the chits. We flipped a coin for it and of course I failed. Someone was going to have to call because we had signed up for the most expensive brunch of my life and we had to be to the hotel by 1100 to enjoy it. He answered the phone and he didn’t seem happy when he answered but he told me that he would sign them in a half hour. When I went to his stateroom he questioned me about where we were staying and what we were doing I think he was concerned with our well-being, but he did sign the chits after all and off we were running… Or so we thought.
I was so excited and we were trying to run off the brow to catch a cab to the hotel but At the brow (the plank between the ship and the pier where you debark), the Officer of the Deck stopped us and told us that the Combat Systems Officer (CSO) wanted to speak with H. This is where the drama began. H had paid someone to switch duty with her so she could get an overnight with us in Bahrain and that somebody had let it slip to (CSO) How stupid! I mean everyone knows that you can’t pay someone to take your duty but EVERYONE does it anyway because there’s an unwritten line which everyone agrees upon. We had to wait on board the ship while H received a huge ass reaming from three different people, BUT they still allowed her to go with us so who really cares? Not us. That was when the fun finally began.
We made it to the hotel just in time and it was a feast to behold. This was what it must have been like in olden times when everyone ate a big feast at a castle. There were 10 HUGE tables with all different types of food, sushi, Mexican food, sea food, breakfast food, Greek food, I mean you name it they had it. Included was champagne and beer. We drank unlimited mimosas for 3 hours straight, it was actually quite ridiculous now that I think about it. We went through 22 bottles of champagne in 3 hours between 8 people (we met up with 4 of the medical officers that had debarked our ship in Bahrain and one of them was friends with a NAVY SEAL who was stationed in Bahrain).
There was a Philippine band playing music and they don’t know any music greater than the 1990s so it was a welcome flash back, I felt like I was at somebodies wedding. A guy who had transferred from my ship before deployment was also there and he is on a PC so I talked to him about his second tour and new life and what he thought. He is loving it. On the smaller ship there are only a few officers so they do 5 different jobs instead of just one and they run the show right beside the captain. It is really cool to take a position like that for a second tour but also a lot of responsibility.
When I couldn’t eat another bite we went to check out our room, which was absolutely gorgeous and a suite at a 5 star hotel, to change into our bathing suits and head down to the pool. H wouldn’t come, she wanted to stay and hang out with the medical nurses and continue drinking. She was confused because as soon as we got poolside we ordered drinks, but I was too lazy to go tell her to get her butt outside. 4 other officer’s from our ship had stayed at the same hotel the night before and they saw us and they ended up coming out to the pool to hang out as well. And so it began. It was a glorious day.
It was extremely hot outside (112 degrees) but somehow I did not get sunburned which is crazy since I’m very white and did not wear sunscreen. The middle eastern men were very taken with us since we were all in bikinis and actually in the pool, where as all of the middle eastern women were clothed from head to toe in their black sheer attire, and sitting on lawn chairs. It must be so hot to wear those all day, but they looked relatively comfortable. One guy even insisted on giving me his number even though I told him 3 times that I didn’t have a phone.
In the early evening many of the other officers had showed up and the chicken fights began, we were just trying to bring a little bit of America to the middle east. Haha. It was the most fun I’ve had in the past few months, and it was with other officer’s from the wardroom… weird. In the early evening we went back to our hotel rooms to get ready for dinner. The shower was huge and it had a very large shower head mounted to the ceiling in the middle of the bathtub. It was glorious. I blasted some Miley Cyrus and danced around with plenty of room the bathtub/shower was so ginormous. After we dressed for dinner we went downstairs and ate at one of the hotel restaurants. There were 15 of us and we were the only ones at the restaurant so it was very nice.
Afterwards a huge group of the officers had to go back to the ship before liberty expiration and the girls and I went back to our room to Skype with family and enjoy our time in the hotel room away from the ship and all of the people on it.
I still heave a sigh of contentment when I remember it.
TO BE CONTINUED