We had expected a “private” deck, or at least a separate area on the deck for us folks in first class and VIP (as is the case on the Rocket). Of course, this wasn’t the case. The deck was packed solid, as was the boat. There were less than 10 cabins, but there were over 500 hundred people on the deck. This meant that anytime we opened our door, or went on the deck for fresh air (or to escape the bugs), there were many people around. And as with the rest of Bangladesh, everyone on board was fascinated with seeing white people. Everyone was staring, crowding us. There was no privacy, even with tears running down my cheeks people wanted to talk to us. I felt suffocated, and that this whole thing was a sick joke. We couldn’t stand to be in the room, because it was moving with bugs, and we couldn’t stand to be on the deck, because there were too many people. We felt trapped in the room.
When in the room and not stumping on cockroaches, we tried to entertain ourselves by playing Gin or watching Glee episodes (it’s silly, but it usually cheers me up) on my iPod. Sometimes Travis would read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to me – an ongoing project.
While hiding in the room, the rest of the boat had a different idea for us: to open our door and get a look at us. I lost count how many times people opened our door. They would just open it, and look in as though it was a perfectly normal thing to do. It was infuriating: don’t these people know that it’s rude to stare, and that it’s even more rude to just barge in people’s privacy? Eventually we just bolted the door shut, which was a saving grace. Still, our handle got tried countless of time. People played with the outside lock. Our door was hardly left alone… There were even times when I was coming back from the deck, and while I was trying to close the door people outside would just gab the handle and try to prevent me from closing the door. It was insane. And it really, really didn’t help my mood.
The only “safe” spot in the room was the chair, a metal thing bent out of shape. I spent all on my time on that chair, with my feet off the floor. Every muscle tense, always looking for the next bit of floor / wall / bed / door / ceiling to move. I was never feeling comfortable – there was no relief.
Then, it got hot. Of course our aircon unit wasn’t working. We figured that it was probably a bad idea, but decided to try it anyway: we opened our cabin’s door to get the air flowing in. Within minutes, the crowd outside was so large that it blocked out the sun. I turned to the men (it’s always men) and shooed them away. It sort of worked. Not even a minute later though, it was even worse. Shooing them away this time didn’t work, and they seemed intent on getting inside the room. I got up and made stronger shooing away motions – they scattered away like flies. I locked the door behind them, while Travis was dying over with laughter. Apparently that had been the funniest thing ever.
Only 14 more hours to go.