Tuesday, July 05, 2011

three weeks in - base and camp

This is not a typical desert when it comes to the temperature cycle. New Mexico was classic high desert. Hot during the day and cold at night. Temperatures would easily drop 15 degC, sometimes over 20 degC from day to night. Here, it stays warm during the night with very little cooling after the sun goes down. A couple nights ago, it was even warmer a few hours after sunset than it was a couple hours earlier. I am not sure what causes this heat retention but rest assured that I have assigned top people on my payroll to find out. There have also been a few nights worth of windstorms that kick up in the evening and blow all night long. Those seem to lead to hazy sandstorms and reduced visibility, but I can't seem to connect why. Being back in a desert makes me realize how much I disliked the constant humidity of Gabon. Everything there had a sticky feel that I never enjoyed, especially my clothes against my skin.

Also about Gabon, I sometimes referred to the grouping of housing units that were being built for international employees as a "housing compound" which apparently made it sound sinister and well-fortified. I can assure you that it was neither of those things. I'm not even sure how it could be viewed as sinister unless one counts apathetic craftsmanship as a sinister plot designed to undermine the efficient use of interior space and long-term structural stability. As for fortifications, the gate guard would probably wave through anyone who looked like they were pretending to deliver something and people freely walked through the area. However, it was safe place so it wasn't something that concerned me.

Here, I will try not to say compound. Instead I will say "base" and "camp". The "base" is the overall work area including the offices and workshops and storage areas. Of course, now I am wondering if using the word base makes this place sound semi-fortified. Site security is appropriate given the generally safe security situation. This is a small, quiet city and we are on the outskirts by the railroad tracks. There's not much here of immediate value to people either so gate security to keep wanderers out is about all we need. The "camp" is the portion of the base where the expatriate employees live. And again, you might conjure up images of tents and camp fires and perhaps banjos. If you did, you are miserably wrong. If you're clever enough with your google-fu, you can probably find this place on Google Maps and figure out which portion of the overall base that the camp represents. In fact, someone listed this base on foursquare. The mayor has checked in twice!

In addition to the frogs I have mentioned before, there are also cats! I have not put together detailed profiles on each of them, but I have seen at least four different ones, made obvious by them being four different colors. Well, someone could be getting their jollies by painting the same cat a different color each day, but that doesn't seem like a local custom.

This will be an interesting week at work for reasons I will be frustratingly vague about, but it's a variation of the classic temporarily short-handed problem. Suffice to say, I will probably be skimping on the blogging during the week and expect pieces of a light and frivolous nature, or at least more so than normal. Ideas and notes are constantly making their way into drafts, but I may not have time to fully form them for the next week.

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