Ship of Horrors

Eighteen hours, squeezed in with a boatload of chain-smokers, on a rusting metal tub of a ferry, belching a cloud of diesel fumes as it chugs laboriously across the Adriatic.  Trapped in the labyrinth of narrow passageways, behind a group of people lugging enormous bags, suffocating in the humidity of compacted human bodies, I almost start howling in panic.  Our berth is in the bowels of the ferry, under the waterline, the throb of the engine vibrating the metal walls.  No window, no fresh air, no natural light.  The hot, cramped space is queasy with the smell of burning diesel.  We find the one non-smoking, mercifully air conditioned room, stake out some territory and settle in for the duration.

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