Now you can imagine what a disappointment that was. We had put our faith in this trip and here we were turned down at the last moment. Maybe the Lord had really failed us this time? This idea in putting so much faith in the spiritual world to help was a bit far fetched? Up until now never! But this looked like it could be the first time.
It was very tempting to think like that. Now do you remember the Linear C line from Genoa with the one armed Mr B? Well we had already been to see their offices three weeks before. The large passenger Liner only called in at Rio de Janeiro but smaller freight ships stopped at Santos. They did not hold out much hope but we had shown them Mr Bs card and that had obviously impressed them. So we rather reluctantly walked across the docks to their offices on the very slim chance that they might be able to help.
I wish I could tell you how full of hope and faith I was but that would be a lie. It was a last resort. Kind of let's go and find out that they too like so many others had politely turned us down. We walked into their office and to our amazement the staff were all smiling and giggling. That same morning they had received a telex authorizing Mr and Mrs King to travel on the container ship The Trans Oceanica Silvia which would be docking the next day. Two berths had been specially reserved for us in the ship's hospital.
The ship would take 21 days and would berth in Genoa taking us on a much more direct route half way across the Mediterranean Sea well on our way to our final destination India. I still have the free ticket badly preserved in a file for all to see.
We literally ran back to our Hotel and told Fernando and then the amazed Doubtlets not only gave us beer but sandwiches. Back at the Hotel we started packing everything up into as neat way as we could. The shoulder bags contained two sets of everything. At night we would wash out our socks and underwear and hang them up on the radiators and put them on the next morning. The ship was sailing sharp at 2 p.m. And we had to be on board by 12. The only way we could carry our heavy baggage was in stages.
First take one trunk 10 yards and dump it. Then the next and dump it in the same place. Then the third and then start all over again. It was like taking six times longer than just walking once. Now I can say, that we did have lots and lots of faith. This last miracle was a real faith booster. At about 9 we had our breakfast and then I carried out all our stuff and dumped it in the middle of the busy sea road on a traffic Island. Just imagine how ridiculous this looked. A small traffic island piled high with trunks and shoulder baggage.
ast of all we too stood in the middle of the road facing the oncoming traffic which was moving in the direction of the port which was a good mile away. I do not think we had to wait more than five minutes and we were able to stop a very amused pickup truck driver who allowed us to pile everything into the back of his truck including me while Irmgard sat in the front. 10 minutes later we were at the bottom of the gangway of the Trans Oceanica Silvia. We unloaded the stuff and some sailors helped us carry our heavy baggage on board.
The Hospital was very spacious and we just prayed that no one would get sick as then we would have to share this place. I do not think it worried us unduly. You know I too am a bit of a doubter and I wasn't really convinced that we had made it until the ship had passed through the outer harbor break waters and the Pilot had disembarked and we were well and truly heading out to sea. Then I really started to cheer the amazing Spiritual World of Jesus Christ the Risen Lord, inside my soul.
That evening as we sat at the Captain's table with other members of the Officer crew and yes there were two other real passengers. The Italian consul and his very chirpy and entertaining and much younger than him, Brazilian wife. They had a proper cabin and had obviously paid for their trip. However apart from their rather snazzy cabin they had no more privileges than us poor missionaries. Another nice touch from the Lord was that at every meal except breakfast there was always wine. Do you remember the promise in Hosea Ch 55 v 1? Come and buy wine and honey and milk without money.
There was always lots to eat and three to four course delicious Italian meals. I was able to play endless games of ping pong with the Marconi a nick name for the communications officer. I have to admit that I am pretty good at this rather ridiculous game but so was Marconi and we battled it out across the South Atlantic and then the North Atlantic. From time to time Irmgard and I would perch up in the bows of the ship watching the endless flying fish dashing across the front of our vessel. They would jump and fly for twenty to thirty yards to keep clear of the monster ship which they obviously thought was some kind of a mammoth whale that was ready to gobble them up.
The weather was really calm and many times too the flying fish were joined by dancing dolphins that weaved their way in front riding the pressure wave set up by the ship plowing its way across the deep blue ocean.
This was a holiday! One of the first for a very long time. We often went on the bridge and as I had been an officer in the Royal Navy I knew quite a bit about all the activities that took place up there. My favorite watch was with the ship's mate the first officer a good humored Italian and we talked endlessly about our faith in the spiritual world. He was not convinced but remained a very good friend and wrote a very nice letter of recommendation for us to carry in the event that we would ever travel again hitch hiking on ships.