Rodrigo: Lost and presumed compacted


Earlier this week, I’m not sure which day of the week it was (or is), but we were in Warnemunde, Germany and that is where I do my grocery shopping. I do other stuff there too but on this day the weather was bad, my schedule wasn’t great, but I had enough time to for one of those 12 packs of sweetie pies (or “Grabower Kusse”) that only costs 99 cents (I love Germany) and some other essentials. I was getting my things together and double-checking for my passport (as one does when one goes grocery shopping) when I opened my bag to find that Rodrigo wasn’t there. Now my cabin is small and there are only so many places a plastic lawn ornament can hide but I couldn’t find him anywhere. 



The previous day had been Embarkation Day or ‘Copenhagen’ and my roommate left to go on vacation (miss you, Nevena). She had A LOT of stuff, let me remind you what our cabin looked like before: 

(Well, when we still had a tree)
She could only pack so much of it and so the previous night, in preparation for my new cabinmate, I spent some time sorting through what she left, throwing a lot of it away and keeping some of it (thanks, Nevena). When the new girl arrived, most of it was gone but there were still one or two things that needed to be chucked. When I realised that Rodrigo may have come out of my bag and may have been discarded with Nevena’s stuff, my heart sank. 

I asked my new roomie and she said that she had seen him out of my bag and on the top bunk with other items of Nevena’s. I’m not sure how he got there. (Yes, he has wings but they are moulded into his body.) She said that the guy changing her sheets probably mistook him for trash. What kind of person throws away a perfectly kitsch plastic flamingo? Probably a person without a soul! Probably someone who does maths on weekends for fun and doesn’t even believe in unicorns!

Together with a very hot Chilean fella that I’ve been hanging out with, I ran to the garbage separation room - actually ‘incinerator room’ sounds more dramatic (we also call it that) - only to find that all of the plastic had been collected, compacted and offloaded that morning for recycling. I asked if he remembered a flamingo. He said the night shift people would have processed him and all the plastic was gone. “But he was about to get his 150th facebook follower” I cried. I really did cry. After 5 years, 4 continents and 34 countries of travelling with that thing, I was crushed. 

I went back to my room devastated and phoned half the house-keeping department to try to figure out who had changed the sheets the previous day as it had not been our usual cabin steward. After someone said they would send him over, I started working on a ‘lost’ poster. Between me and my new roommate we had enough mafia to have the poster printed and posted in colour (Rodrigo is not conducive to black and white) in the crew areas of the ship, in the hopes that in the many hours that Nevena’s stuff had been lying in the hallway (it’s a busy day), someone (with a soul) might have gone through our trash which was filled with a lot of cool things (thanks, Nevena) and rescued the coolest thing (thanks, Target) and that that person would be kind enough to return him.

I didn’t get very far when there was a knock at the door. Looking almost as hot as my brother did to my sister-in-law the day he recovered her engagement ring from the sewerage system, was the hot Chilean fella holding Rodrigo. He had gone back to the garbage room to sort through what very little guest cabin garbage was there (just in case), and somehow the Environmental Officer had found out that someone had taken Rod from the trash and found a place for him somewhere on a shelf overlooking an engine department workroom among nuts and bolts and other machinery things. I don’t know how the message got around but basically, a fireman found him there and got him back to me. I had a cat once who frequently got stuck up trees and on roofs, and this is what it takes for a fireman to come to my rescue? Everybody got at least two hugs and some underpriced but amazing German chocolate (that individually still cost more than Rodrigo did himself). 

An experience like that really changes a person and it’s no surprise that Rodrigo won't ever be the same again. You see, someone somewhere along the way drew a new eye on him on the place where he is missing one. I remember watching a documentary in a Macdonalds years ago about these prisoners who would tattoo the whites of their eyes. That’s pretty hardcore, but I think after narrowly avoiding going through a plastic compactor, Rodrigo is worthy of an eye tattoo.



In other news:


I got a new tree for my cabin
…but by “tree”, I mean a frog towel animal that we named “tree”. A guest gave him to me. At the end of the last production show of the cruise, the cast sings a very cheesy Disney/70’s live-action musical song about how now that we’ve cruised together we’re all family and all the crew members from different departments come on stage (the cabin stewards with their towel animals) and we step-click for a while and wave. One guest was handed a towel animal and he then handed it to me on the way out. I don’t think he was trying to nice or anything. He just ended up with ‘Tree’ and didn’t know what to do with him so he gave him to me. He was probably scared we’d charge him for it if he didn’t return it. Whatever, he’s ours now. 

On the way to the crew bar that night he lost an eye which is obviously not a problem in my cabin. But then on the way to the cabin, he lost the other. I might have misplaced him for a few days there under some stuff on “Nevena’s bed” (she didn’t sleep there so it was more like a cupboard). My friend Vlad came over to learn how to make a toilet paper carnation the one day - as cruise staff do - took one look at the room and said in his deadpan Ukrainian accent “it looks like after the war”. Anyway, when I found Tree again his head had become detached from his body and he no longer resembled a frog. I guess this war (or Waugh) has had its own fatalities. Now we use Tree to dry our hands. Rest in peace Tree.


Before Nevena went on vacation, Kristiana did (I also miss you, Kristiana). She was replaced by crazy Paola from Colombia who pronounces “yes” with a “j”: “Jes". She taught me a new word to add to the in-depth conversations (which mostly consist of “Si”, “Que?” and “Hasta la vista, baby”) that I have with my Latin peeps. “No te creo” means “I don’t believe you” and said in the right tone of voice at the right moments in Spanish conversations really adds to the false pretence that you know what people are saying. Jes. 

That's about it. My life still rocks. 


Blogs remaining until I begin cruise countdown again: Probably 0


               
               



            

Comments

  1. Thank goodness for the continued adventures of Rodrigo. Your headline was suitably ambiguous about that. Kudos! Xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Poor Rod. When are you (and Rod) coming home?

    xx

    ReplyDelete

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Sharon Waugh

Sharon is a writer, cruise ship entertainment host and freelance unicorn wrangler. She is currently taking a break from her seafaring adventures to explore some more landlocked locations from her homebase in Johannesburg, South Africa. She likes to photograph a plastic lawn flamingo 'Rodrigo' on her travels because it seemed like a good idea ten years ago and 53 countries later, it’s probably too late to turn back now.

 Sharon greatly dislikes reading 'travel blogs' by people who are just rephrasing press releases or composing lists like '15 ways to travel the world for cheap', specifically formulated for SEO, with absolutely no evidence that the writers have ever left their bedrooms. (This is not one of those blogs.) Sharon also dislikes bigotry and referring to herself in first person, apparently.

To find out more about Sharon and Rodrigo’s travel aspirations read this.

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My thoughts on travel mascots, photographing your butt in exotic locations and the addictive nature of cruise ship employment, among other things.

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