Thursday, August 17, 2006

Africa: Day 40 (Now me and Noah have something in common)

Greetings world. It's 1:23 PM here on August the 17th and I'm sitting in my office with Gregg waiting on an appointment that's currently 23.. nope, make that 24 minutes late. I figured I had a moment to write to you all while I was waiting. I'd like to take a moment to thank those of you who have been posting. I haven't had the opportunity to comment, but I've been reading them all. Collectively there are about 100 of us here in this building sharing an internet connection that's passing traffic at half the speed of smell... SLOW. That has made it all but impossible to upload any pictures, big emails, or anything else lately. I'm hoping they'll locate the problem and fix it within the next few days.

On the other side of things, we have achieved two major accomplishments this week. I installed my first DSL installation. Basically, its like installing a miniature Sprint Phone company in a building and then installing all the DSL modems in the client buildings that will allow them to join the network. Now, I successfully have microwave, E-1, T-1, DSLAM, DSL, dial-up, and fiber optic locations all talking on the same network. It's definitely been an amazing experience. I'd love to be able to share some of the details with those of you who understand the technology a little, but for the sake of client confidentiality, I'd best keep it as general as possible up here. I don't want my CEO getting upset because I revealed customer technologies to the outside world.... oooooohhh... *insert scary sound here*.

The sad thing is, I have half a nation communicating and i can't even get my OWN DSL working in my apartment. We've been waiting for DSL now for almost four months! What a load of crap that is huh? And of course, no one is any help. All the english speaking people we deal with forget that we don't speak arabic. I had someone give me the internet settings a few days ago... the instructions are all in arabic! Ugh.

We are getting ready to change up the team a little here in the coming days. Tom and Gregg are leaving tomorrow. Tom is going home to the US and Gregg is going to London for three days to see a Rolling Stones concert. The remainder of the team will be joining us on the 27th if plans don't change *again* and then Tim will be leaving for home on the 7th of September to prepare for his wedding on October 21st, so I'll be without my head lan engineer for about two months. That's really gonna suck!

I know you all are wondering when we're coming home, but as of this date I don't know. You all know me and know how I am. Considering that it takes six weeks to get things processed to return here again, I'm hesitant to fly home and then get stuck there. It's late enough in the year that any major changes to my flight schedule could realistically have me here at Christmas. There's NO WAY I'm going to be here for Christmas this year, so my plan is to be the "go to guy" and stay here until every last thing we need to deal with is done. I'm tired. My diet is crap. I've lost 30 pounds since I got here, which is KILLING me. I'm eating every chance I get but it takes forever to get food here. Dinner out means waiting two hours for anything. Cooking in means I only have 4 stove burners, 1 pan, and 2 pots with which to whip up a meal that serves 5, not to mention that spices are non-existent here. Let me rephrase.... Spices that are easily identifiable are non-existent here. We've all run the gamut of diaharrhea, puking, cramps, fatigue, exhaustion, and every other thing imaginable. It's actually funny when you think about it. These guys act like a military barracks; when one gets sick the other four show up with whatever remedies they have on hand.. Pepto, Prep-H, Advil, Excedrin, Vodka... oops.. did I say that?

Well, the people are here for the meeting I was supposed to have, so I'll need to cut this short. I'll chat with you all soon.


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