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Jack Knox: Hey, sailor, haven't you heard of stereotypes?

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  • Jack Knox: Hey, sailor, haven't you heard of stereotypes?

    Jack Knox: Hey, sailor, haven't you heard of stereotypes?

    By Jack Knox, Times Colonist June 13, 2010

    Good thing the USS Ronald Reagan had already sailed off by the time Victoria's annual naked bike ride wobbled through downtown yesterday.

    Scores, perhaps hundreds, of cyclists in various stages of undress rode off from the legislature, rallying in favour of, um, something. Cycling, perhaps. Or maybe sweating.

    The sight of all that pasty Canadian flesh could have scarred the impressionable young American sailors. I mean, it's been a sunless spring. The ride had more white buns than a bakery.

    On the other hand, many of the sailors in town for the international fleet review had already had an eyeful of the Great White North. The peeler bars have been doing booming business.

    "We're probably five times busier than usual," said Nathan Seaward, bartender/DJ at Monty's Showroom Pub. Monty's has brought in extra dancers, and has been opening its doors three, four hours earlier than usual. Downtown pubs were packed, too, with some sailors delighted to find themselves in a port where the legal drinking age is 19. Cases of Budweiser and Coors poured out of the cold beer and wine stores.

    This is the traditional image of sailors on leave, drinking and brawling, knives in their teeth, tattooing our womenfolk, as it were.

    Which is where the stereotype ends. The visitors also toured the legislature, wandered through the Royal B.C. Museum, shopped. A pedi-cab driver spoke of taking four of the Reagan's communications engineers -- suckers for heritage architecture -- on a three-hour tour of historic places.

    Here's what we learned about each other this week: We're clean. They're polite.

    The visitors talked about what a pretty, hospitable place Victoria is, which might have been a nice way of saying we're a tad dull. (Thursday, when the sailors wore their uniforms ashore, it looked like a black-and-white zombie movie, young guys drifting slowly down the street in search of, um, something to do. Sorry sailor, this ain't exactly New York.)

    As for the sailors, a lot of them just seemed like nice kids looking for a rest -- sometimes literally. Four American ones fell asleep on the floor while reading books at Chapters on Douglas Street on Thursday . "It was really endearing," said assistant manager Jeni Scholer. "They were like little boys." Customers pulled out their camera phones and took pictures.

    Chapters saw a steady stream of sailors, clad in the uniforms of three or four nations, fuelling up on Starbucks and books. "They were so well-behaved," Scholer said.

    This was a common description, often spoken with a note of surprise, as one might use after finding an Albertan with a sense of humour. {EASY Sheri! }

    "It's amazing how polite the southern gentleman can be," said Monty's Seaward after observing a courtly display at a hotel reception desk. Servers at pubs implied that the local boys could learn a lesson from these guys (though it might have been good that the Americans were all on ship during yesterday's England-U.S. World Cup game, when every downtown drinking hole was packed with England fans, some with the red and white Cross of St. George painted on their faces or draped around their shoulders).

    The international fleet review was sold as something that could be measured in economic impact, raising the somewhat unseemly image of sailors being milked of their money like black and white Holsteins.

    And it's true that certain businesses -- bars and restaurants, bus tours, the regular tourist stuff -- did well. Old Morris Tobacconists on Government was so busy Wednesday night that it had to stay open an hour and a half beyond normal closing. "A lot of the French and Japanese bought cigarettes," said owner Gautam Arora. The Americans cleaned him out of menthol cigarettes and made a big dent in the Cuban cigars.

    But again, what struck him was how good-natured were his customers. "They're so polite." You hope they leave Victoria with a good impression.

    Some definitely like it here -- though perhaps more as a place to relax than to cut loose. "It reminds us of home," said Leading Seaman Andrew Smith of HMAS Newcastle, pausing on Douglas Street yesterday. "Canadians and Australians have a lot in common."

    Not naked cycling, though.

    "If it was Australia, they'd be arrested."

    © Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

    Read more: http://www.timescolonist.com/news/to...#ixzz0qqcjTqjT
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

  • #2
    What did you expect the Americans to do?

    Now if you asked them to match the bicyclists, I imagine a 'running of the bulls' would have resulted.

    Comment


    • #3
      Having been one of them "Sailor-types" myself, I can attest to how much it sucks to come in alongside a foreign port after being on the long mids the night before. Fortunately I never fell asleep in any public place, and always made it back aboard before crashing on deck (ya that happened once too! ) and I still bear the scars in my head for that one.
      If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

      "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

      "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

      Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

      impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

      IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

      Comment


      • #4
        When my ship was the starting line for the inaugural Monaco to New York yacht race in 1985,I inadvertently got to meet Prince Rainier of Monaco.
        We had orders that if we wanted to go topside,we had to wear our dress blues to make a good impression so,going completely out of character for me(by this time in the Navy,dress uniforms were no longer my style-gimme dungarees and boondockers anytime),I donned mine and went up on the main deck to snap a few pictures for future scrapbooks.
        As I wandered around along the portside,someone asked me to join him up on the 01 deck above.He wore a navy looking uniform with one broad stripe and 4 narrow stripes so I obeyed and on my approach,cracked off a very sharp salute.I figured "Better to look like a dork saluting the race commodore than to get gigged for not saluting my chain of command".
        As we spoke,he asked where I was from and seemed delighted that I was from Memphis wanting to know if I'd ever visted "Elvis' house" and other questions.After he was through with me,he shook my hand and thanked me for visiting Monaco so I saluted again and went back down to the main deck.
        As soon as I got there,the Chief Master at Arms grabbed me and wanted to know WTF was I doing talking with the VIPs when I wasn't supposed to be topside at the time.
        No one told me (there was no restriction.MAC(Master At Arms Chief) S. just didn't want redneck mixing with the Perrier crowd)and there wasn't anything about not speaking when spoken to wasn't good enough for him so I got to chat later with the XO about naval protocol when speaking with foreign dignitaries.
        It turns out that they thought my being from Tennessee meant that I didn't know how to speak with foreign leaders because obviously,as an enlisted man,I didn't know manners.
        The officers found out when the Crown Prince mentioned speaking with an ordinary seaman and wanted to know what the rank device with three slanted red stripes under a depiction of Hero's steam jet meant(Boiler Technician Fireman,an engineering rating).
        I kind of wish I'd known from the start who I was speaking with but I would have known not to whip out the Kodak and start taking pictures.Mama taught me to be polite before she inflicted me on the world without a leash.

        Comment


        • #5
          Other than my previous sea story(No sh** guys,that really happened.I was there and I seen it),my destroyer got kicked out of pretty much every decent port in the Med during our Oct 1985-March 1986 Med Cruise.Turkey didn't even allow us to enter the port and had us sent elsewhere after 32 days of operating off Libya.
          During that deployment,I stayed on the Executive Officer's "DCII Dink List" and was rarely allowed Liberty because I didn't get my damage control quals done for so long that even AFTER I'd qualified,I was kept on the list and repeatedly had to go to his cabin with my sign off book to prove yet again that I was qualified,that it was just his yeoman that forgot to remove my name.


          Originally posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post

          This is the traditional image of sailors on leave, drinking and brawling, knives in their teeth, tattooing our womenfolk, as it were.

          © Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

          Read more: http://www.timescolonist.com/news/to...#ixzz0qqcjTqjT
          Last edited by doughesson; 06-22-2010, 01:51 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Was it from the fall or because non skid doesn't make for a comfortable pillow?

            Originally posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
            ...I still bear the scars in my head for that one.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by doughesson View Post
              Was it from the fall or because non skid doesn't make for a comfortable pillow?
              Actually it was from the fall, as my head contacted the hinges on the toilet stall door. The bolts for the hinges faced through the front side of the door frame, and I managed to graze them as I went over backwards.
              If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

              "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

              "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

              Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

              impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

              IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
                Actually it was from the fall, as my head contacted the hinges on the toilet stall door. The bolts for the hinges faced through the front side of the door frame, and I managed to graze them as I went over backwards.
                One night inport in Naples,we had the word passed for the duty Master at Arms to lay to the after officer's country.The duty Sheriff came back laughing about an officer who'd managed to lock himself out of his cabin and was so drunk,while the MAA was forcing the door,just slid down to the deck passed out.

                Comment

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