That was such a relief and very good news. Not only were we on the way to India but on the way to being a Father and a Mother.
Every day I would go out and meet new ships and their astonished Captains and every day I would be back with no really good news.
We found the old English club which was now mainly frequented by Russians left over from the Hydro electric project. We went there a couple of times. There was a very inviting swimming pool and the idea was to cool off in this atrociously hot weather. We only tried it once. The water was hot from the beating sun and the water was salty. It was a no go club but we did meet a very amusing English guy who had married a Sudanese Christian lady. He told amazing jokes. We needed to hear them as now the future was not looking so brilliant. It was very tempting to give up especially over the next event that I am now going to describe.
I noticed that the Orthodox Priest was taking more than a friendly interest in my wife. Being pregnant, I was leaving her behind as the heat was really unbearable. Irmgard was not worried and felt well able to cope. However this time as I left, the Priest bolted the big entrance door behind me. I do not remember him doing that before. I got a very big check about this and after a few moments I returned and started banging very loudly on the door. Nothing happened so I started to make a noise that drew a crowd and they all started shouting with me.
Eventually he opened the door and Irmgard had a look of great relief on her face. I need to add that there was an old lady housekeeper there and so it was probably imagination on our parts too. However this was the last straw and we retired to the room with the fan and we both began to weep and cry out to the Lord. This was now probably the lowest moment of our trip.
The Red Sea was not parting. Try as we may to wave our magic wand like Moses waved his stick over the waters to part them, they refused to part. Even though we had made it so far, a miss is as good as a mile. In this intense heat and now the news of parenthood we or rather I was beginning to waver. My spiritual strength was running out. Not for a lack of supply as that is always there but more from being not able to appropriate it and put this amazing powerful energy to good use. Saint Paul's letter to the Hebrews in Chapter 11 verse 6 states very clearly that without faith it is impossible to please God. However this story is not just about our crazy faith but also about something even more wonderful and that is the Grace and Mercy of our Trinitarian God. When we or rather I failed He would mercifully step in.
I do not suppose we had been in our darkened room with the fan full on and from time to time spraying water over ourselves, which in the strong under draft, felt so nice and cool as it evaporated quickly from our bodies and clothes when suddenly there was a faint and rather timid knock on the door. I thought "Please Lord not the Priest again!"
Now try and get a hold of what is about to happen. Days of disappointments, bordering on despair! Getting no where! An evil voice always there in the background telling us how stupid we were and how it was time to pack it in and be just normal like everyone else. We had the money to extricate ourselves and go back to Cairo and even then fly to our destination. Of course that seemed the sensible way out and I was definitely toying with the idea.
I opened the door and there standing in front of me was the office boy from the Pacific International Lines and he was beaming with smiles. He beckoned for me to follow him back to the office. Even though it was unbearably hot I ran and did not even worry about the Priest this time and there in front of me as we entered the PIL offices was my unbelieving Christian Clerk also smiling and waiving a telex from PIL Headquarters.
They agreed to take us to Singapore, slightly over shooting our objective of India in one of their cargo vessels that was already docked in the port for 60 US$ each. It was really a token payment as we would be 10 days in luxury living and moving, traveling at 5$ a day board and lodging. We would have a special cabin designed for passengers with our own bathroom and toilet etc. It was too good to be true.
We hurried on back and danced with the Priest who was also happy and I think he gave us a really good meal cooked by his old housekeeper.
The next morning we boarded the Kota something. Sorry but I have forgotten the name. The officers were mainly Pakistanis but the 1st mate was a Brahmin from India. The Brahmins are a priestly cast and usually rich and well educated. Vinod was no exception...