The Cosco Shanghai

It’s not exactly what you’d call a pretty ship. Actually, it could do with a lick of paint. And it’s not very big or impressive either. Not exclusive, or state of the art. No special history that I know of. And yet Emma and I drove all the way to Fremantle Harbour this weekend to see her, and take some pictures.

The reason for this, is because on that ship is a container which holds all my/our stuff from The Netherlands! As you can imagine, such a rare opportunity could not be passed up. The chance to take some pictures of the ship that is bringing in the remnants of  my Dutch life is even more special, if you realize that unfortunately my container was not to be offloaded in Freo. It is actually sailing on to Sydney at this moment, where it mysteriously is already cleared through customs, and will then be trucked back across Australia, to our front door.

not a hunter

Frustrating, you ask? Yes. Especially when you realize that I’m paying, albeit indirectly, for a truck to drive back, that which was already here. But on the other hand, I do understand that it makes more sense to ship the container to the east coast, since it’s a shared container, and most of the other people will probably live over there.

At least customs won’t give us any grievances. They did ask me about some things in there, but I guess they must have been satisfied with my answers. I had to look up what deer most likely gave its life for the antlers I bought at a French market, because all I knew at the time is that they were from the mid 80’s and they would cost me 12 euros for the three of them. I’m not a hunter, and to be honest I am not even very opinionated on the subject of hunting, but they look cool mounted on the wall.

Since my last blog, our Internet has finally been restored, and although still not as fast as what I was used to back in Europe, it is at least 3x times faster than the previous provider, and for a quarter of the price, so I’m happy with that. And of course I no longer have to admit in shame that my connection is worse than my Mum’s connection in the middle of nowhere in France.

Zoey has almost completely returned to her old self, although I think we might have to keep giving her pills for a little longer. Whenever I think about how long it’s been that she was so cuddly, I kind of feel bad I didn’t realise she wasn’t feeling well earlier on. I just contributed it to all the major changes she’d been through all of a sudden, which I guess most of us would have.

become a bus driver

I also started Air Law last week. Very interesting, but also very tiring. Every document supersedes another, and refers back to a third, overruling a fourth while exempting a fifth and ignoring a sixth document. All unevenly spread out over the CAR (Civil Aviation Regulations), CASR (Civil Aviation Safety Regulations), CAO (Civil Aviation Orders), AIP (Aeronautical Information package), ERSA (En Route Supplement Australia), and some CAAPs (Civil Aviation Advisory Publications). Then there are the appendices and instruments, which have more appendices, and for the exam itself they’ve thrown in some maps, for flavour. The exam is open book, but it’s impossible to learn all the regulations and exemptions, so they made it open book. It is still time limited though, averaging 3 minutes per question, so you do need to memorise where to look.

We spend the better part of six days fighting our way through the relevant regulations, highlighting as we went along, using different colours to help identify subjects quickly. But the lack of indexes still makes it hard. Not mentioning which regulations in other books exempt, clarify, or build on certain regulations, makes it even harder. And on top of that, because we are helicopter pilots, we have extra exemptions on the regulations for aeroplanes, and of course CASA thinks it’s easier to just make us learn all the rules for aeroplanes, and then just learn the exemptions as well. Some days I wonder if it’s too late to become a bus driver.

a big ass book

As I said earlier though, some stuff is really interesting. Like the signals given when intercepted in an ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone) or regulations concerning the carriage of cargo. It is, for example, permitted to block an emergency exit with cargo, as long as there is another exit available, and you cover up the emergency exit sign. Smoking on board an aircraft is also not necessarily outlawed. It is only illegal if there are signs stating smoking on board is prohibited. And even then, you’re better of smoking whilst in your seat, risking a 15 penalty units fine, compared to incurring a 50 penalty units fine when smoking in an aircraft toilet. A penalty unit equals $180 AUD at the moment. So that’s a $6300 AUD difference. Unfortunately, that information I do not need to know for the exam, yet I remember it. I hope some of the important stuff wiggles its way into my skull too, I’d hate to lose my winning streak by failing the last exam.

At least some stuff is being retained, which is good, because even after the exam you want to remember the important stuff. All regulations together make for a big ass book, and you wouldn’t want them to throw it at you when you stuff up.

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