Saturday, July 28, 2007
Update on Africa
I will start this again. I almost had it finished it and Googled the camel spider and lost my post. As you can tell this isn't Tommy. This is his mother, Brenda. I spoke with him Friday about 1:00 my time. We had a great conversation, he sounded very upbeat and happy. Evidently he happened to be in the only spot where he had a phone connection. He very graciously gave me his user name and password so I could tell you, his friends, a little about what has been happening so far. I am not the story teller he is; but maybe I can make it interesting for you. They are in a place called Ras Lanuf; on the northern coast. So for a few more days, until they move farther into the desert; they are enjoying the Med. breezes. They are in kind of a military compound. There are 3 meals a day; no snacks and no drinks. I guess that means no coffee and no coke. Frankly, I don't know how Tommy is making it. Near this compound, there is a group of older men called expats. They have been in Africa for 25 t0 30 years. They are British, South African, Swedish, Dutch and Serbians. They are pretty much self-suffient and are this way because they make and trade moonshine. It's called flash and the first run is 90 proof; the second run is 98 proof. These men have a deep fat fryer, ICE MACHINE, and other tools and they trade the flash for gas to run these things. They also trade it for cigarettes and food (not camel and cous cous). Tommy and the other guys were invited to eat with them. And, in Tommy's words, "since we wanted to be hospitable and fit in, we had to have a drink or two". Yeah, right. He and Wes got blitzed and as they were leaving Tommy tried to climb an oil tower. He said they did not want to appear to be free loaders but since they don't have a lot of money to spare, they asked what they could do to help. So far, Tommy has peeled a lot of potatoes and tonight (or it might have been Friday night) he is going to cook. He will enjoy that. I have always been amazed at how good a cook he is; he definitely did not get that talent from me. I hate to cook. He said he has really enjoyed hanging out with these guys. It is a once in a lifetime experience and I am sure he will give you more stories and greater detail when he has a chance to get on the internet. The temperature is pretty harsh - 120 degrees. They have been going to bed relatively early and are pretty exhausted at the end of the day. I mentioned at the beginning I had lost my post because I had googled the camel spider. I did this because Tommy saw one a few days ago. He said he really couldn't desctibe it to me except it was the size of his hand and the locals said it was a baby. You really need to google it to see what he is talking about. It is really HUGE. One more note about the expats. He said one of the guys is a great talker and his accent is so think, Tommy isn't sure what he is saying most of the time so he just nods his head and laughs a lot and just hopes that the man doesn't ask him a question. I think I have covered about everything we talked about it. April called just before we finished our conversation and he just cut me right off. I guess I know who is the important lady in his life - LOL - and rightly so. I am just glad they had a chance to talk to each other. I know they miss each other a lot. Take care everyone.