Sunday, March 26, 2006

Foreign Destinations

Greetings all. In case you have been wondering where I have been these last few days, and why I have not posted. At the moment, I am sitting in a dormitory style room, reserved for traveling employees, on site for a client company. I left Tripoli yesterday morning at 8 AM, checking out with pleasure from the Bab Al Bahar hotel, hopefully not to return any time soon. By nine in the morning, Tim and myself were on a plane bound for yet more exotic destinations. We were ushered onto a company-owned Dash-8 ( a medium sized prop driven plane suitable for hopping across the country) and three hours later we touched down in Ras Lanuf. As I am forbidden by client privelege from divulging where I am and what exactly I am doing, I will attempt to let you know the personal side of my visit thus far. For those of you who would find it convenient to have a point of reference, Ras Lanuf is an African location in the northern region of Libya, somewhere between Tripoli and Benghazi. I am located directly on the coast of the mediterranean so I know somewhat of where I must be, but distances here are basically irrelevant. Work and travel here have been interesting, to say the least. The desert highways are black-top expanses of asphalt that lumber onward for hundreds of kilometers and disappear into the horizon in all directions. The land here is flat and without much decoration, however its beauty is unrivaled by anything I have ever seen. Though, not truly in the desert, this location is much like what I picture the flatlands of Arizona or Nevada to be. Rocky crags and great rivulets created by the rain storms are the only natural occurrences that serve to break up the alchemy of the land and the soil. For the most part, this is desert. I will try to show you some of the more stimulating things that I have seen since my arrival at this location. I hope you enjoy them and that the software I have downloaded will facilitate a decent upload. Dearest April: I know that you can not be with me here and I wish most wholeheartedly that you could be. I don't know if you can read this in the picture below, but it was my attempt to show you that I was thinking of you, am always thinking of you, while I am here. Since I can't send a postcard from here, maybe this will suffice. This is written in the desert sands, near the shores of the mediterannean, almost six thousand miles from home. Traveling Takes On A New Meaning: This may be a small thing of no significance to you reading this, but it takes on monumental consequence when seen from my perspective, knowing myself and what my dreams were only six months ago. This is my foot print. Someday I will look back while telling my family and children of the time I first went to Africa. And on that day, I will be able to look back at this photo and remember the first time I ever placed my feet in the sands of the true desert. This photo was taken on March 23rd of 2006, standing on a burm surrounding an oil field in Africa. It is a small thing, inconsequential to most of you, but it is something that I will remember forever. Dinner: Yes, that is correct. Dinner. March 23rd marks the day I accomplished two more things on my list of "Things I never thought I'd do." The first of those was having to stop my truck because there was an irate camel family in the way. This is the first camel I have ever seen in the wild. Take my word for it when I tell you that they are much more attractive in your local zoo, than out here in the sun and the rocks. Later that same evening, while dining with the laborers up at the mess hall, I was introduced to my first taste of Camel served over Cous Cous. For those of you who are wondering, camel tastes surprisingly similar to a beef or pork roast. As with most meals here, the meat is boiled in a curry-based sauce and served with either cous cous or pasta depending on the cook. Here is the rest of the family. In case you are curious, this plant shown below is a favorite of the camel. When taken, those green balls you see on the plants are about one and a half inches across. If left alone, they will grow to almost four times that size. The seeds are encased in this round, spiny, and very sharp cluster that will split and deliver its seeds back to the earth later in the summer. The green stems surrounding the bulbs are just as tough and spiny as the bulbs themselves, serving to keep most animals away. The camel, however, isn't much impressed by the fearsome spines and ignores them while happily munching away. I'll end this post here and begin another. I wouldn't like for the program to crash midway through trying to post all these photos.

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