30 April 2011

Six Weeks Down, Thirty Four To Go.

I will start by saying this: I love you, Al Gore, for inventing the internet. I like you a lot, Niklaz Zennstrom (from Sweden) and Janus Friis (from Denmark), for creating Skype. Because - These two venues have allowed me to stay tuned into my family and friends - fairly seemlessly for the past two months. That's a great thing.

Here's the laydown of the lowdown (on the downlow, no doubt) from the past couple of days.

After a quick week in Bahrain, my predecessor and I made our way to Cairo and Alexandria Egypt for some planning meetings.

Not Pictured, but with honorable mention: About an hour into a four-hour trip to Alexandria from Cairo our Chevrolet Suburban that was outfitted like a tank, started to shimmy - and by shimmy I mean the steering wheel looked like it was trying to make mashed potatoes it was shaking so hard. The driver pulled over and we found a 18" tear in the inner wall of the tire. Crazy. So we limped on down the shoulder for a few km until we found a gas station/ Burger King. Oh yeah! Beef Royale with Cheese! That's the Lemon/Lemonade scenario for you! That would also help explain the symptoms of what I like to call the Bahraini Mudslides that I can't seem to get rid of...TMI? Never.

Naval Planning (aka- Making Sausage)
We helped organize some naval activities that will happen in the next couple months. It was not my first time interacting with another country's navy, but it was the first time I've been on a planning board with a foreign navy. It was pretty darn cool to be a part of the initiative that puts a plan together for about 12 vessels and aircraft to work at sea. It was a two day conference, and the Tuesday evening we all met up at the Egyptian Naval Officer's Club for supper. It was a fabulous spread - the best meal I've had since I've been here. I'll spare you the details, but it was ladden with fish and squid. Soups, salad, hummus and more. Awesome. For someone like me who loves to try new foods, it was right up my alley! I wanted to take more pics of us eating but I didn't want to be 'that guy'.

We stayed at the Four Seasons. It was the best hotel I've ever been to. Except for one thing. Internet is ridiculously expensive here! They will provide a business center for free, but if I wanted internet in my room it was going to cost $72 for three days! Sorry honey, no Skype this week. I'm a tight wad, what can I say.

We drove back to Cairo on Thursday without any incidents. There were a lot of reminince of the Revolution on this side of the highway for some reason. Cop cars with rocks through their windshields and a few vehicles overturned and burned to the ground. Lots of graffiti about 'Freedom' and 'Welcome to Free Egypt'. I can tell the Egyptians are proud of their accomplishment and everyone one wants to tell their part of the action. One of the men that worked in the lounge told me he was rioting at Tahrir Square when the police hit him with the firehose. It knocked him down and he was trampled so bad by the masses, he had to be rushed to the hospital. He fractured his nose and was badly bruised in his back and chest. Even with all that, he was still at work because he can't afford to lose his job - he has a family to support - that was straight from his mouth.

What can you say about internal fueds? Well, we've had some pretty serious ones. I can't imagine that when the American Revolution ended this country was in a great place. I bet it was like this, "Yes! We did it!...okay, now what". And that is right where Egypt is today. Now what. They'll get it. A civilization doesn't make it for 7000 years to let a small thing like Hosni Mubarak slow them down.

So far so good out here. Can't wait to see what's next!


Katie and Beau said...

So glad for the update! We love skype around here, too :)

The Hatcher's said...

Sounds exciting! I'm glad you feel like it's easy to keep in contact with your family! I tried to watch the video, but it said "private".