Friday, October 29, 2004

Back in the land of the prawns.

We have a big day for the project on monday, so things are very hectic for a friday. But mostly things seem to be under control, so lets keep our fingers crossed. It is nice to have an air-conditioned office (unlike poor Tini) but the downside is that once you step out onto the street the heat is FEARSOME.

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Friday, October 15, 2004

Writing this from a (for Ende) cool night on the first day of Ramadan. Even though most Florinese (those from the island of Flores) are Catholics, there are enough Muslims taking time off etc. to set the general flavour of things - i.e. everyone seems to be enjoying their fair share of not working too hard.

Downside was that calls to prayer, and last superbig meals before sunup, started about 2.30 am last night so both me and Tini got hardly any sleep. Hopefully that won't be a problem tonight as am so zonked.

On wednesday I ran in the district's annual 10km road-race. They were delighted to have a 'bule' (white person) running and consequently mentioned me by name in the half-hour speech we had to endure before the race actually started, to cheers (and a few jeers) from my fellow runners. We had already walked 2km in the blistering heat just to get to the start line so said speech was not exactly welcome but anyway.

I managed about 20th out of 150 which wasn't too bad, given that almost all my competitors were between 14 and 20 years old. I felt I could have done better as 10km isn't that far but the heat was STIFLING I just didn't have any energy for the last 4 km. I reckon at least half of the competitors dropped out before halfway and got lifts on trucks or their pals' motorbikes. I didn't mind this until right at the end when I realised that some of them were getting off the vehicular transport just before the home strait and then sprinting the last 500 metres in fine style.

A bit of a con, but the majority of these skullduggers did actually get spotted by the stewards and crossed off the list. Now that I reflect, in fact, I can't complain at all because in my last year at school I cheated on the annual cross-country run and never got caught. I had got hold of a map of the park where we were racing, and worked out a route which shaved off 3km without looking obvious. My master plan almost fell through though, because since I am actually OK at running I ended up coming into the scoreboard, so obviously they had to check up. Mr. Gibb, the P.E. Teacher, phoned me up at home that night because he suspected my scam:

Mr. G - so you ran today Cameron?
Cam (bricking it but maintaining calm voice) - yes, yes, of course
Mr. G - its just that I didn't see you run past my checkpoint
Cam (sweat breaks out on forehead) - yes, I did, I think you were just looking the other way or something
Mr. G - are you sure? Its just that I know your face so I was sure I'd have seen you
Cam - yeah, yeah I'm sure
Mr. G - OK then (hangs up).

I half expected to get done when I came into school the next morning but I think in the lack of hard evidence they decided not to bring me to trial. Quite lucky as I am a pretty shit liar so am surprised he didn't smoke me out.

anyway, my calf muscles are still stiff from this race which I certainly did run all of, now we are going out to eat at a restaurant, it will not doubt be some rice-based-delight.

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Sunday, October 03, 2004

Writing this from Singapore Changi Airport at 6.45 local time, they have a very fast free internet access room and since its so early its completely unbusy. Heathrow could take a leaf out of this book (see one of the first posts on this blog about the 5 pounds for 2 minutes on metal keys extravaganza offered by the world's busiest passenger airport).

In a few hours I fly to Bali, then spend a day there and monday morning take a regional flight to Ende.

Quite glad to leave work for a while, the craziness continues. One of the biggest spanners on the project trashed a Sun server last week by accidentally running a command which told it to wipe its own hard disk - an embarassing thing to do even for a Computer Science student but pretty unforgivable for an 'international consultant' who earns 100 times the annual GDP per capita every month (seriously, I worked it out).

To make it worse, the guy tried to hide his mistake by shouting at the infrastructure department to 'fix that server, it just stopped working suddenly while I was running some tests'. Only when they corrected insisted on diagnosing what had gone wrong before jumping at premature solutions, did it emerge that our superbly arrogant colleague had issued the infamous 'rm -rf /' command.

For the non-techies among you, this basically means 'start at the top directory in the filesystem and remove everything under it, recursively....'

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