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PostMemories of Apollo 11: July 20th, 1969 (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 07/21/19 4:09 am)
50 years ago I was not glued to the television but to the radio, listening to the landing of the first man on the Moon. I was in the middle of the Atlantic bound from the Persian Gulf to Rotterdam.
The day was also personally important, as on this date I received confirmation that upon arrival in the Netherlands I would be promoted to master and take command of the vessel for the next trip. But on top of it my wife confirmed that she would arrive in Rotterdam. It had been "only" 9 months that I had not seen her. I would go on vacation for 70 days. At that time the life of a mariner was not easy.
After being mooring/loading master at Mena Saud, as the regular Egyptian master was due to return after a long leave following a bad accident while mooring, I went back to sea as Chief Officer.
By the way the Egyptian master, a former captain of King Farouk's personal vessel, was hated by the local Arabs because of his haughty personality, while I was loved by them. The beautiful daughter of said fellow had married a Saudi Prince but I had the impression that she hated the marriage and would have quite happily escaped to Europe instead of returning to Riyadh, but it was impossible to help her.
JE comments: A life at sea sounds glamorous, but Eugenio Battaglia reminds us of the harsh realities of family separation. If I may pry, Eugenio, how did you and your family cope?
A demographics fun fact: Riyadh in 1970 had fewer than 500,000 people. Today, its population stands at 7.6 million.