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February 2005
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April 2005

March 2005

happy easter

It's Easter.  Being catholic, I decided to attend Mass at one of the churches in town.  I joined Rob and Linnisa after work.  We picked up a schwarma before going and made it as the service was starting. 

The Cathedral of St. Mathew is located on the Nile. The courtyard is very nice with grass and trees surrounding outside areas where outdoor services can be held. We had walked around the back since we were a few minutes late. The interior of the church consisted of a long hall with pews on each side of a mosaic style carpet runner. The choir was singing various South African hymns. That was what caught me at first. The rest of the church was decorated in various shades of green, red and browns. All in all a beautiful room to see. Even the ceiling was done in bas relief with sculptures of starbursts. They kept the back doors open to let the breeze in and ceiling fans were running also. The service lasted over an hour. It was similar to Mass in the states, except for the choir's singing which I actually enjoyed more. Our priest for the service was Gabriel Cardinal Zubeir Wako. There was a mix of Sudanese and other nationalities throughout the room. The service was in English and I managed to remember most of my cues for kneeling and responses. I may actually start going to Mass on a regular basis now.

[insert witty title here]

Went to work at 700AM and fixed a major problem faster than I thought it would take. Guess it pays to do a little research the night before. Just glad it's done. A lot of folks are happy now with the new improved network speed.

I've hit several of the food hot spots around town this week thanks to the wishes of a schwarma-craving visitor from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It gave me a chance to look for some new places to eat and to try a few old ones I'd forgotten. I'll have to update my FAQ with some of the specialties I found this week.

Amwag, located on Africa road up near Afra mall, has some of the best grilled chicken in town. They also serve a tasty Jumbo burger. Consisting of meat, fried egg, and a pitted olive. They have fruit shakes which go great with a meal. I had the mango shake last night that hit the spot.

Yavoz, pass Amwag toward Afra, take the first right and go for 3 or 4 blocks. It's on your left. I always point out the 20 young boys selling cigarettes there. Only place in town that sells Marlboro brand.

Arqdinesz, Turkish restaurant around Amarat, very nice service and dining area. The deserts are worth the trip. I've had the schwarmas there. Also Turkish coffee.

Every April 15th, you go through an employee evaluation that has to be written. It's reviewed by a panel. From that, it's determined whether you deserve a promotion. It's a bit unsettling trying to put a year into a couple pages.  While you're still trying to get the point across without boring the reviewer. We'll see what happens, I'm discussing mine right now.

satellite tv and mail

Telecommunications in Sudan still amazes me. Even when you submit all the right paperwork for work related issues they still manage to come up with more paperwork you have to submit for something they should be following up on. I have to draft a letter today to the NTC, National Telecommunication Corp. We'll see what happens.

The summer cycle of transfers are coming up. People are starting to plan their moves to their next tours. I've noticed how the embassy's staff changes it's moral as new people come in and other people leave. There's something to be said for one year tours. Any longer and some people risk the chance of burnout. I'm doing ok myself and still enjoy going to work. You get the chance to extend your tour from 6 months to another year. I knew I wouldn't just because I wanted to see more of the world. I'm sure I'll be back in Africa in another tour or two. But in the meantime I'm looking forward to Sydney and the chance to see other places with another Bureau.

Mail came yesterday and I always feel like one of those mail call scenes from a movie. Always nice to get stuff that I've been waiting on. The best thing was getting Tostitos and the pizza dough mix. We get mail once a week. But that's only if there's enough mail for the embassy to make it worthwhile to ship it that week. I thought I would have to wait a week again, but James, our mailroom supervisor, sent me an email late yesterday saying something arrived for me.

Lastly, I was without Cable TV for a few days. Not that I watch it everyday but it was irrating to know it could have been avoided. Warning rant approaching. My new boss decided it would be cheaper to arrange cable for his house instead of paying a deposit and then $25 a month for the Orbits cable sub. So he wanted to tap into my dish. He's my boss so what was I to do. I told him he could check it out as long as he didn't mess up my cable. So now my cable is back after he had to "re-adjust" the satellite dish, but there's enough static in the audio it might as well be disconnected. Not to mention, isn't that illegal? Some people's kids, I tell ya. Guess I'll have to pass on him for a moral compass.

pools, age and schwarmas

I discovered something over the weekend.  While having lunch with several of the embassy's local employees, we got on the subject of age.  Several of the guys there were the same age as me.  I was surprised since they all look like they were 10-15 years younger.  One of the youngest looking guys is actually 9 years older than me.  I'm gonna have to start calling him Sir.  They explained that alot of Southerners age gracefully due to natural medicines and food.  I swear I'm never eating at a fast food place again.

Spent the rest of the weekend working on a couple projects I never have time for during the week.  Attended several social events that started on Thursday night and won't end until Sunday night. I did get a chance to find a new restaurant while looking for a quick bite to eat.  It's call Aqdinesz Turkish restaurant.  The schwarmas were tasty, I'd recommend the beef.  The chicken someone else had was a little undercooked.  When I found it I was taking a short cut through some unknown neighborhood and heading home.  Thinking I'd be in for a long trip when I left I was surprised to meet up with a familiar street.  Too bad it's taken me so long to get use to the different routes around the city.  I still get lost trying to find some of the well know places just cuz I get bored driving the same routes and prefer alternates for a change of scenery. 

The rec center pool has been open for a week and I've been basking in the sun whenever I get a chance to swim.  I can't describe the feeling of driving to it after work and having a long swim.  Something to be said for fountains of youth. 

24 hours in 10 lines

10 things that happened to me today.

  1. i was told I was "bringi".
  2. swam in a huge pool during a Sudan sunset.
  3. saw how many sodas I could buy for everyone in one day.
  4. took hot enchiladas to someone working a night shift.
  5. found a diplomatic way to say no several times.
  6. loaned dvds out and got new ones in return.
  7. realized target=_blank was all I needed to open a new window.
  8. followed a car when lost and realized it was parking.
  9. miss NPR but I'm still able to catch BBC and Radio Deutsche Welle.
  10. leaving no stone unturned actually consumes more time than I have.