Monday, October 29, 2012

High times on the beach – Recovering lost photos succeeds - protracted times for union-forming – exciting developments for a union (StarTrek adventure)– Visiting ‘The Sticks’, AKA Viqueque

Blog week ending Wed 24th Oct 2012

The week backwards begins with arrival back in Dili, late on Wednesday night, in pouring rain. Had the rainy season come early? Not really, as the showers stopped after about 40 minutes, but they were so heavy , you got soaked within 30 seconds.
Six of us* had visited Viqueque to attend to PC and printer maintenance on the Tuesday, stayed overnight and then come back next day. The journey takes about 5-6 hours over bumpy roads that have been progressively breaking up over the past 10-12 years. Kind of like visiting India and seeing those old palaces failing to bits, except there few aesthetics nor nostalgia involved with experiencing the roads here. From Viqueque to Baucau, we averaged 28kmph and our driver was not afraid to lean on the horn as we passed through villages and towns (people sat on or walked along the edge of the road, thus they needed to vacate the space so we could cruise on through). Not behaviour I feel comfortable with, but apparently normal here.  
*I was introducing all the MIS staff to the branch office and they were also getting the accommodation perk and then staying with friends, family or on the office floor. My ‘motel’ room was on the second floor of a building opposite a large pillar erected by the Indonesians in a park. The Garuda bird, with wings widely spread, is positioned on top while the base has been modified with Christmas-themed pictures. The location, according to my GPS, before the batteries went flat, is: 
S 08.86660 & E 126.36492
On the way back to Dili, we carried two chickens as well. They were a gift from one of the staff, for a friend in Dili. If chickens get travel sickness, then their journey would not have been a pleasant one.

The Thursday before, a friend and I went for a morning run along the beach and past the airport as usual, but there had been an extraordinary high tide. It had come up over the breakwater walls and the giant concrete boulders shaped like caltrops and even to the airport security fence. The approach down to the beach had been washed away as well. Anyone want to get alarmed and call it global warming? Maybe it is payback for the wood fires that get lit here; including the casual burning of hillsides everywhere (nice green growth when the rains arrive Nov-Feb)

The work staff formed their fledgling Union and then decided to vote on getting rid of the CEO. Over the next couple of days, it was explained to them that they did not have the authority to do this. I was getting worried that this appeared to be veering down a path similar to an at reasoning with a two-year old whom has learnt to say ‘no’ . The decision was modified and they agreed to reconvene on the next Saturday and vote on whether they would go on strike or resign on masse. Thus the ‘Yo-yo’ dips down again. It must stop soon, as this sort of thing may become a really big problem, rather than the annoying one it is now. Why the Star Trek comment? Well, this union is going where no Union has gone before – it’ll be interesting when they find out that that the finances for running the union will have to come from a levee on each worker, rather than be funded by the organisation ;-)

A friend had lost all his photos on a 4GB SD camera ‘memory stick’. I tried using a new software product, but only got back 75 photos and they weren’t the ones he needed. After cycling for an hour or so and thinking it over, I decided to try the previous software version of ‘Recover my files’ and let it run; which it did for 36 hours. The process finished at 06:30 on the Monday morning and I had a selection of over 150 photos and 3 instances of virus infections. Maybe that was how the photos got lost in the first place? I only restored the photos all and burnt them onto a DVD for return to the very happy owner. He later told me that not only had I got back the recent shots of construction work in Dili but also some lost wedding photos of two years ago.

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