Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dearly departed axle and road works, Yacht knocking, Recovering hard drive data isn’t fun after seven days, Slippery rocks, Fixing email + printer = liqueur, We’re getting a union, Spicy chicken house warming

Week ending Wed 17th Oct

  The Saturday morning bike ride up to Dare and back was normal until I diverted to do some shopping at Kamanek. When I came back out and tried to pedal away with some shopping my pedals were freely turning in both directions; weird, huh? Fortunately my next appointment was a breakfast at the City Café at 09:00, so a two minute walk got me there fine. Naveen was leaving us to return home to India after about two months of writing processes, that hopefully will be read and used, and this occasion was a last meal before he flew out that afternoon. We walked back through town and along the waterfront where a yacht had just started knocking itself silly against the concrete breakwater after slipping a mooring about 20 minutes earlier. The owners were there and said someone was coming soon with a boat to tow the yacht back to deeper water. We walked on to work and got onto my most recent ‘favourite’ pastime of attempting to recover 20GB+ of data from a failed hard drive. After spending US$200 on specialist software there still hasn’t been a complete recovery and the folder structure disappeared, so I had over 1,000 Excel files, each helpfully named ‘0000001.xls……..’0001022.xls’ in one folder called ‘Lost files’. Many hours of fun. I stayed there until late at night and then went home.

Sunday I wheeled the bike to the bike shop. Prognosis was a broken axle, so I paid my $40 + $10 labour to rebuild the wheel and collected the bike later. I did get the old axle back, but it turned normally again. "Why does this appear to still be OK?", I asked. 'Well, sometimes it doesn't lock properly'. So now when I sit on the back porch and 'aint whittlin some', I twiddle the axle like some people play with one of those  executive puzzles. The unit only has two parts; the axle itself and the spline that the gear cluster slides onto. To date they remain a steadfast, single unit....

Sunday afternoon I visited the Turkish cafe and bakery near 'Food L Do' I sipped a Turkish coffee and chatted to the owner. Kemal used to be involved with road building and the Comoro road was being resurfaced in front of us. The equipment (tar squirter, hot mix layer + steel roller) was impressive and laying down a good surface. The workers were careful not to exert themselves too much, yet still managed to do a good job. I also continued my reading of a book by Jill Jollife called 'Looking for Santana'. This was a time in 1994, when she secretly visited TL, when the country was still under Indonesian occupation, to visit and interview the rebel leader, Santana. I know a few of the places Jill describes. 

Tuesday morning was the regular 06:00 beach run from Ocean View; along the side and top of the airport security fence(!) to the Pope building and back again. The tide was very low and at the turn around point I went down the beach to investigate by walking on some rarely exposed rocks. ‘If these were green, they’d be slipp.. oh s**t’. One bruised forearm later I began the jog back.

An old aquaintence asked me to help out with a new laptop setup and I did so, with interest, as I couldn’t migrate the email account (the password had been setup on the old laptop so long ago, that it wasn’t known anymore) Kind of critical and the only way to reset it would be for the owner to ring their Australian Internet service Provider (ISP) – rather protracted and expensive from Timor Leste. My thanks was a couple of bottles of chocolate liqueur that despite careful sipping, still gave me a headache the next morning.

The work staff are very keen to have a union of their own and after encouragement from the Board of directors, the organisation will be formed within a week. My counterpart was suddenly very busy designing attendee’s badges for the big event – the influence this development for worker representation, on productivity, is impressive. Now how do we get everyone to generate the same enthusiasm for work?

Two more volunteers have arrived in Dili and we had a fish + other-things-on-a-stick, on the beach near 'Excelsior' as a 'Welcome' evening meal. The chicken things turned out to be only skin, done to a delightfully chewy consistency. The actual chicken (meat) bits were a separate order that cost a bit more.
A couple of days later I visited the new arrivals at their home and brought along a spicy chicken from my favourite roadside vendor, straight off the rotisserie. We ate the purchase along with some rice and a curry.

Some weeks ago I lost my cell phone. It was turned off and I’m sure I lost it on the road somewhere, BUT some mornings at 05:20 (when the alarm was set) I can hear the faint ‘beep-beep-beep’ but cannot locate the darned thing anywhere. Progressively, I’ve been emptying rooms out, but it hasn’t helped me get any closer and that time of the day is, unfortunately, when all the local roosters compete. Maybe this is the first case of someone being electronically haunted?

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