We have probably all watched the blockbuster movie "Titanic". But little did I know about MV Doulos, almost as old as the sank Titanic, only two years younger.
The MV Doulos is the world's oldest active passenger ship, recognized by the Guinness World Records. After learning that she will officially get retired after September 2010, and this perhaps would be the last time for her to visit Taiwan. I decided to pay a visit although I hardly found anyone interested in the oldest ship.
After taking a train from Chungli-Taipei to Keelung, we arrived at the Keelung Harbor, second largest port in Taiwan. (93th internationally, 2004). I mistooked the other ship as MV Doulos at first sight, but later we walked onto the other shore of the Harbor, finding MV Doulos resting along the port elegantly.
To my great surprise, MV Doulos is much smaller than expected, measuring 130.35 meters in length and 16.60 width, half size of the gigantic Titanic. She was painted blue and white, as if a goddess from ancient Greek mythology, with her chimney embedded with three monstrous three letters "GBA". It doesn't mean God Bless America or Asia. It actually is the abbreviation of Gute Bücher für Alle, Great Book for all in English, an German NPO devoted to bring Knowledge, Help and Hope to the world.
After climbing up to the log-like stairs, all I could see were crowds. There were some illustrations and photographs demonstrating the history of MV Doulos. I slowly walked around the deck, taking photos, gazing the gray sky over Keelung Harbor. I wanted to join the guiding tour but it was already full. What a shame! There's nothing compared to one volunteer showing the living area inside MV Doulos and explaining the living history of MV Doulos.
So, we entered the Book Fair.
MV Doulos is said to hold the biggest floating library in the world. Upon entering, I saw tons of books displaying on the shelves. Majority of the books are about Christianity. As we walked through the deck, everyone was busy picking and purchasing their favorite books.
I bought "MV Doulos" booklet and a book on magic as the rest of the books hardly interest me. Afterwards, we accidentally followed a guiding group up to the Bridge of MV Doulos, taking photos with the captain cap.
And that was all for today's visit. Later we came to chat with the Taiwanese volunteer on board. She explained MV stands for motor vessel and Doulos means "Servant" in Greek.
In a nutshell, I did learn something after visiting MV Doulos today. However, it would be much more entertaining and educative if I were able to join the guiding tour! I'd love to pay double price for a genuine guiding tour into the cabins.
Maybe next time, MV Doulos.
Oops... maybe there's no next time as MV Doulos is set to be de-commissioned after the SOLAS regulations are due to be introduced in 2010.
So long, Farewell, MV Doulos.