Saturday, March 29, 2008

Northern Exposure

I’m not sure when 15C turned cold for us...but it did. Out came the jeans, sweaters and jackets, and for about 3 days we shivered in the rain and wind. Equipment got stuck, birds took shelter in our shower, but the good news was for the most part, the roads improved as the sand became packed down.

The drilling area is large, and even going 50 kms can take an hour or two, so the decision was made to move us to the north camp. While the crew took 9 days off for Easter, Roger and I packed up our gear and over a period of 2 days, looking like the Clampetts, we headed north. The area has more wildlife, and we’ve seen giraffes, ostriches and Roger has seen a leopard.
Despite not having water hooked up yet, I really like this camp. Below you can see the before and after pictures --- thanks to my McGyver-ish husband! The chain link fence is to keep the cattle out as we are in the middle of ranch land. One of the best parts of being here is the close proximity we are to the Saber camp where I’ve got to know many of the local staff – and if I hold my right leg at a certain angle, and sit at the end of our ‘driveway’ – I can access their wireless internet!!

On Good Friday, I was talking to some of the Saber staff and they were sad not to be with their families. It was really a joy to be able to let them phone home on my internet phone – the truck felt like a telephone booth as word spread around camp and several people came up to me and asked if they could use it.

Obert, the worker we brought from the south camp has been wonderful to get to know better. Today he excitedly came to get me saying there was a scorpion outside! With my zoom lens, I took the picture and he captured it to show Roger tonight. He grew up in Zimbabwe (where his wife and 4 children live) by a national park, so he is knowledgeable about everything from the bushmen and how they survive, to plants and animals.

We went to Gaborone for a couple of nights this week to stock up on food. A site that never ceases to give us shivers is the way locals travel in the back of trucks. Below is a picture of a school bus – chock full of students. No wonder the country (with only 1.6 million people) averages 500 fatalities a year.

A helicopter flew over our camp this week with guys from Saber, and I waved at them in my usual, quiet manner..... It buzzed quite low and I heard later it was because the pilot said, “Hey – there’s a white lady down there!” Others described me as the “little brown lady with yellow hair”!

My birthday is this week, and Roger has promised me sun, sand, a star filled night, and a gin and tonic!

Until next time,
Sala sentle.

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