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Showing posts from November, 2005

I can't read Arabic, but...

I know what's in this can. :) Packaged in Egypt, probably, and purchased in Kenya.

Dan, Francis and Leonie's Excellent Adventure

This is a sequel of sorts to   Dan and Francis's Bogus Journey , which you may want to read first. I finally got out of bed at about 5:30 AM. I'd managed a whole 3.5 hours of sleep by then. Francis, Leonie and I were down at the front desk by around 6, but Leonie needed caffeine, and checking out isn't exactly a very efficient process, so it was after 6:30 when we finally hit the road out of Munyonyo. Traffic was, of course, awful until we were about 10 km out Jinja Road from Kampala. Then things went better. We stopped at the Nile crossing near Jinja, and I took a few photos of the dam, then went back to the car, changed lenses, headed back toward the dam and was told by an exceptionally social "redtop" soldier (wearing a red beret) that photos of the dam were forbidden, so I put my camera away. We stopped for fuel (seventy-something-thousand Ugandan shillings), then decided to check out Bujagali Falls, which are just downstream from Jinja. It w

It's just a coincidence that there are riots wherever I go.

I'm in Kampala at the moment. Yesterday, there were demonstrations and rioting. Tear gas, water cannons, and so on. Next week, I'll be in Nairobi, and I'm expecting more demonstrations and rioting there. And then it's off to Montreal for 2 more weeks of... demonstrations and rioting. But none of it's my fault, really. Uganda arrested a popular opposition political leader. Thus, demonstrations and riots. Kenya has a constitutional referendum coming up. Thus, demonstrations and riots. Montreal is hosting a huge climate change/Kyoto conference. Thus... you guessed it. I hope the family trip to visit relatives over the holidays doesn't involve any demonstrations or riots. :)

It's easier to be 'on the list' if you wrote the list.

Woke up early. Showered, dressed, grabbed my gear, and headed over toward the buffet by the conference room for breakfast. Breezed through the first gate and was almost immediately stopped by a soldier (camouflage, sub-machine gun, the works) who was letting people know that they had to leave their laptops, mobile phones and cameras in their rooms. Mmhmm, I see that President Museveni's long-awaited visit to the conference is happening today! I explained to the soldier that I am supposed to have my laptop and camera, and he let me pass. I got up to the security checkpoint with the metal detectors, and they weren't so easy. After a couple failed attempts, I saw one of the Secretariat folks, and asked him what was going on. He was trying to get hold of people to find out how to get the reporting team's equipment cleared, but wasn't having much luck. I waited around for quite a while in the hot morning sun, and then the Secretariat guy finally got ho

It's job-applying time again!

I just noticed a job posting for a telescope operator. I'm already a telescope operator, but at a rather modest observatory, with rather modest hours and pay. I also do non-operations support work, through a temp agency, at a distinctly immodest observatory (the "not only do we have the largest optical/infrared telescope on Earth... we have two of them" place) where the telescope operators are   salaried . (Insert oohs and ahhs here.) And that, of course, would be the place that posted the job. I'm about a half-year shy of the amount of operations experience they're looking for. On the flip side, my observatory experience covers more than just operations, I have a bunch of other useful experience,   and   I work there already, know everyone and know all about the place. So, yes. I'm going to apply. I really hope I get the job, because salaries are nice. (Especially when significantly more pay is involved, and when there's the distinct possibi

Dan and Francis's Bogus Journey

The flight from Heathrow to Nairobi was on time - actually, a little bit early. Everything went smoothly at passport control and customs, and I had a nice long relaxing wait for my checked bag, which contained all my clothing. I went out the door to where people were holding up signs for arriving passengers, looked from one side to the other, didn't see my name, then looked back to the first side and there was my name, being held aloft by Francis! He introduced his friend John, and we made it to the car in no time at all - Nairobi's airport is a bit larger than Hilo's, but not too much so. We were on our way out to the airport exit when a policeman waved us over... and the next thing I knew, both the car and Francis were detained for reasons that I didn't understand. John and a couple other friends of his stayed with me for a bit, then John dropped me off at an internet cafe where a very nice young lady let me check my mail and such without keeping count