We were in Bethlehem on Christmas eve. Before things got tricky with Israel and the lines stopped called at Haifa and Ashdod. It was the day it was handed back to Palestinian jurisdiction. Israeli troops had pulled out three days prior and there was riotous celebration and menace in the air. Everyone was carrying a cocked gun in their sock. It was 1995.
I was terribly in awe of The Croatian. I earned myself a right Balkan ticking-off in the souk in Jerusalem for sneaking off. I never did explain that I had spotted a crude sign for a WC and took advantage. I was travelling with five blokes and too shy to say so. Later, we were caught up in a bomb scare racing for the ship and came perilously close to missing it. The Croatian sat grim-faced the whole way to the gangway then fumed to the dining room doing up his bow tie, late. I sat mildly on the bunk counting the cock-roaches on the deck-head and thought that the realignment of international borders was hardly my fault.