Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Instability and Mexican food

Finally, after spending a week and a half
sitting at a dock in Aransas Pass Texas,
we were told to take the barge to Nederland, Texas.

Let me tell you,
you won't find either of these towns
on Discovery Channel's
"Most beautiful Destinations."

When I awoke this morning and walked out on deck
it was nice to see some different scenery,
even if it was just grass. 

The reason I brought my camera outside with me today
was because I wanted to take a picture of the ship at this dock,

 and send it too my wife.
This dock holds special meaning to Mary Ellen
because 30 years ago she sailed to and docked at this very dock
when she was working as a deckhand on an oil tanker.
( I met her on a ship )
The ship she was on came to this dock in Texas frequently
and she learned a few things,
one of them being,
right outside the gate of the terminal there used to be a joint
that sold the best Tex/Mex food she ever had.

When I called her today from the boat
and explained where I was, she reminded me
that the lady who owned it would look for when her ship was in,
and she would be sure to have something vegetarian for her,
knowing that my wife would definitely be stopping in.

Mary always asks me if the place is still there.
My answer is always, "I have no idea,"
and here's why. 

In 1980 when my wife was hugging the owner of the Tex/Mex joint,
(She comes from a long line of huggers, if this lady was fixing her up with vegetarian food
you can be sure she got hugged )
for her to go ashore, all she had to do was walk down the gangway of the ship
and either walk out through the terminal to the gate,
or call a cab, that would come down to the dock to pick her up.

Those days are gone.
That was before we started living in fear, before Bin Laden,
before profiling, before ungodly airport security delays and before we started getting frisked at public venue's.

Things have changed.
If I want to go ashore, first I need to notify my office,
who will then send to the "security" of this particular dock,
a crew list, which has the names of all the crew members  on board our boat.

After an hour or so when that got taken care of,
I could walk off the boat
to a shack about 50 ft from the boat,
where I would show the guard my I.D.,
which consists of a TWIC card,
(Transportation workers identification card)
which came into being weeks after 9/11.

The guard would then call someone,
and maybe 30 minutes later if I was lucky,
a guy driving  a terminal truck and wearing a shiny sheriffs badge 
would pull up to wisk me up to the front gate.
He would say nothing during the drive, he takes his job very seriously.
Upon arriving at security point #2
 I would encounter more security, more intimidating stares, more name signing and TWIC card showing,
all the while being sure to be wearing my hard hat and work vest.
I'm telling you, getting through Check Point Charlie was easier.

So, is the Tex/Mex joint still there?
I have no idea?
It's just too hard.

I haven't been ashore since 9/11.

I took some photos today,
just because.

Our Captain inspecting our rescue boat.

Minutes later
our Captain climbing up the side of the boat
to change a light bulb.

To be clear, the Captain doesn't have to do these things,
he has a crew for that.

When he came down the ladder I asked him,
in a motherly tone,
"Have you been drinking coffee again?"

Sheepishly he answered, yes.

We like to keep him on decaf when at all possible.

It's probably safe to say this guys boat modification
that he did in his backyard....

probably breaks a half dozen rules
concerning vessel stability.

As all days,
this one too came to an end,

with some much needed showers
for parched Texas.


Anonymous said...

How sad that 9/11 ruined your shore time. Hardly seems fair.

Denise at Autumn Sky said...

I guess your wife could go to Google Earth and look for her place...might be quicker and easier :-/

Wayne (Woody), whatever said...

That's a real bummer and sounds like ridiculous overkill.

Donna said...

Glorious shot of the rain cloud and sunset.
Almost wish you hadn't said anyhting about Mexican food - now I want some too! Mine will be easier to find, however, than yours!

Marilyn said...

Well I guess I would be staying on the tug too with all that check points to go through. You should have asked that passing little boat if the restaurant was still there and if they could bring you some food. Your last evening shots were beautiful.

beth said...

i love that you and your wife met on a's the best story ever and even though i've known it for quite some time, i love hearing it !!!

the rain photos are GREAT !!!

Jerral Miles said...

I like your Captain... I'll bet a visit to a coffee shop for a couple of double espresses would just the thing to start off his day. I'll like to go along. He looks like a cool guy. I like your cloud/sky pictures. And about that strange little backyard boat: It'd be interesting to see the keel.

dcpeg said...

Had no idea port security was like that. I can sorta understand it, but it does seem a bit extreme.

Your sunset/rain pics rock!