Wash Away Germs

When you're out shopping among crowds of people on Christmas Eve, avoiding bugs is almost impossible. The best protection is hand washing. You don't need to be obsessive with hand gels, just wash your hands thoroughly, particularly after you've been on public transport and before you eat.

Mac would have needed to be restrained if he hadn’t become knotted in the gangway net. He was left there overnight to sleep it off.

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When I went down for breakfast the next morning, he was still in the net, sleeping like a baby. My runs ashore in West Africa had become limited. I had worked throughout the whole stay in Freetown to let Jimmy get ashore, with the plan of me spending time off the ship in Tema and Contonou.

However, I was then flattened by the fever I picked up, and was out for the count in Abijan, Tema and Takoradi. I then had to work the full stays in Lome, Cotonou and Bonny, to make up for my laziness in the previous three ports; I didn’t mind working Bonny because we were offshore, tied to a buoy. My only real time-off came in Pointe Noire in the Republic of Congo.

I went ashore alone and wandered the streets, which were surprisingly clean, and had a pidgin-English-French conversation with a grizzled French trader in a bar. He had stayed on after independence.

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