Day Five Hundred Forty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah and I went ashore to follow up the lead that P brought to us yesterday. I was struck by how few people were walking about – given the size of the buildings and the sprawl of the city in all directions, there should have been a teeming population everywhere we turned.

It went a long way to explain the man power shortages down at the port.

And our arrival at the city hospital answered the other question we hadn’t thought to ask. Why?

P had heard that this hospital was run by some followers of Hamashiach. And so it proved to be true.

We were not allowed in, but they came out to us.

Thus we learned about the plague.

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Day Five Hundred Forty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Only a few ships are tied up in this port. From early on it was warm and humid, building to hot and oppressive by the end of the day. Life moves at a snail’s pace in consequence.

Though we have been here for some time, we are still waiting for men and equipment to begin the unloading process.

Tomas and P have been ashore twice to see the port authority.  On the first attempt they were not even given an audience. And on the second, though they saw the head man himself, they were dismissed until later this evening.

The pair did look around the docks, and P even ventured into the city.

As Elijah knew beforehand, P brought word.

Day Five Hundred Thirty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Our time of departure was a busy one. It was another long wait in line.

We were riding a little higher than before, due to offloading a full third of the containers we had been carrying. What we took on from this port was not even half that difference.

Tomas is pleased with the progress P is making in the Purser’s position. He didn’t even have to recommend that the two containers destined for our next port be placed on deck. P made that decision without anyone’s tutelage.

However, his brother G is having a struggle in his position. He has not been accepted by the men assigned to serve under him.

Elijah and I will meet with him tomorrow.

Day Five Hundred Thirty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

After Tomas and P reported to the Captain, they came to Elijah and me. Both were shaken, nervous and on edge. We had expected their reaction despite their attestations beforehand that they could handle going ashore in that dark place.

We spoke in turn to encourage them. I pointed out that their reaction was a sign of maturity. P wanted to know if we ourselves were fearful of going ashore. To this Elijah gave the reason that it was not required since it did not fall within our call. There being no Hamashiachites for him to collect in this city – indeed the entire country – he feels free to bypass it.

Elijah did drop a hint about a return one day.

Day Five Hundred Thirty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

There were no overt signs, no indication on any level that this place was given over to the enemy. Not even any posters of Stan’s image staring down from the walls.

But a brooding sense of malignancy made its presence felt at the edge of our senses.

Elijah and I remained in the ship. One look over the ship’s railing was enough for us.

Tomas took P ashore to school him in the purser’s responsibilities with the dispatcher. The other Raj twin G wanted to accompany them, but was told his charge was to remain with the ship.

Tomas brought back surprising news – we will be allowed to load several containers whose owners don’t bear the mark either.

Astonishing indeed.

Day Five Hundred Twenty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The crew is scared witless. Elijah has been sharing with them portents of future events. He did temper his vision with reasons to hope, but they have only been able to focus on the downside. I took every opportunity to share with them out of our experience about how that hope is real and has the power to see us through anything.

I passed part of my time today with P to instruct him in the duties of a purser. (Yes, he has been approved for the position by all concerned). He has asked a lot of questions – always a good sign. I encourage him to ask more, as it gives me the best insight into what I should teach.

Day Five Hundred Twenty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The Raj twins are fascinated with the workings of the ship. They followed me about everywhere, from the depths to the heights.

The one, whom we call G, was particularly enamoured of those things that are done routinely for the maintenance of the ship, as a result, most likely, from his experiences in the shipyard.

His brother P expressed more interest in what Tomas does when functioning as Purser.

This would be fine by me, for I have not felt right about taking it on this time around. As long as the other parties involved agree – Tomas, the Captain, but especially Elijah.

For now, Elijah feels we are beyond the reach of the global government. And hopes to stay ahead.