From the last day in the ship to the inspiring London
The last days have been so busy and full of emotions. My last two days in the ship consisted in farewell good wishes from friends and completing all the sign off procedures, which I will explain in this post. After that I flew from Miami to London where I had a very good visiting day.
Leaving the ship is never easy. Getting the job has many requirements, but leaving the vessel every contract is another set of must dos you need to follow in order to be allowed to disembark. It started with the return of the safety card, we need to go to the Safety secretary and submit the safety card and the safety booklet was given to us months before when we signed on. The card normally is easy to fin because we use it every week in the crew drill but the safety booklet, OMG, you need to exercise your memory to remember where did you hide it months ago. Eventually after looking in a few places, I remembered I left it in the drawer in my office. So, requirement one was completed. Next one is the sign off meeting with Personnel, where they explained you the immigration procedures and you receive your next ship assignment letter (not in my case ) and your flight details.
Other of the requirements is to receive the signature from the DVD helper, who will verify you don’t owe any DVD to the library, otherwise you need to pay for it. After that, you need to go to the Linenkeeper to return the uniforms, yes, is correct, the uniforms get recycled. The night before leaving the ship we all had to go with security so they can check our luggage, after that inspection it is sealed and all crew luggages will be offloaded the next morning. One more signature and stamp will be the one from your head of department who will give you your evaluation and inspect your crew cabin to make sure you did not destroy it during your contract, hehe.
The final morning when we reached Miami, we had to obtain the final signature, without that one you can not disembark. Guess from which officer? Oh yeah, from the Payroll Accountant . He cleared my account, gave me my pay slip and after that I was good to go. My final morning in the ship before leaving in Miami, I had my last breakfast in the crew mess, I worked the last 3 hours of my 219-days contract and said goodbye to my colleagues who became like my family during all these months sailing the Caribbean. Around 11am I crossed the gangway for the last time and mixed feelings came into my mind. Sadness for leaving the job I was doing for the last 5 years, leaving my friends but happiness for the new lifestyle I decided to follow. Ahead of me was a short visit to Europe and an extensive stay in Brazil for the soccer World Cup.
We were around 70 disembarking crew, we were taken to the airport and I heard if you resigned they assign you an escort all the time to make sure you leave the country, in my case nobody escorted me. I had a last burger with a friend in the airport and I flew with British Airways from Miami to London. The flight was not very pleasant, only 8 hours, but my entertainment tv was not working, they reset it and 90% of the movies did not display so It was a long frustrating night! But anyway, the next morning I was landing in the United Kingdom, back to the city where I partied years ago, where I went with my exgirlfriend, so, what was going to happen this time?
I jumped in the subway and headed downtown to revisit some of those places that were my favorites before. I only had one day to explore, so I had to rush a bit to see what I wanted.
The Big Ben, The London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, Hyde Park, the Thames River were the spots chosen for that day.
It was a sunny day in London, and this is to remark, because my last experiences there were either cold or raining, which happens a lot in the British capital. Due to this nice weather, people were out, it was a Sunday so you could see people running in the parks, couples lying in the grass, families having picnic, ducks wandering in the park. Quite a nice environment that brings to my mind the idea of settling one day into a city. London is great, it has so many events, culture, sports, pretty people. It is expensive I admit, but is a nice city with excellent transportation.
So talking about transportation, I saw these bicycles that you can rent almost for free, actually I paid £2 ($3.3 USD) and I was able to get a bike as many times during the day with the condition to return it within 30 minutes. It sounds complicated? It is actually not that bad, there are multiple bike stations in the city, so it is quite easy to find the next one and drop the bike, explore the attraction and then get another bike again to reach the next place to visit. Healthy option, no contamination, exercise and it is actually cool to be biking in the middle of London.
Unfortunately my time ran out for London, my first city as a Digital Nomad, so that day I had to rush back to the airport. I took again the subway and returned to Heathrow Airport. I arrived 20 minutes before the gate closed, so it was just in time. I had a short but very good time in London. From there, I took another plane that relocated me to Rome for a few hours to wait for my next destination: Madrid! But that is another story.
Have you been in London? What do you think of the city? Do you hate or love it? What are your favorite places or experiences?