Sunday, 25 February 2007

Engineering Talk

As well as lots of French speaking (I've remembered some from my schooling: "Je ne sais quois" and "J'oublie"), there's a lot of engineering talk down here too. Like French, I have absolutely no clue about engineering: this is a problem as I am an engineer.

Even more of a problem is that I am the only engineer from my company here, and my job here is kind of a focal point of an entire drilling operation costing many millions of pounds. To put it another way, in simpler terms, imagine an Olympic 4x100m relay team putting a backward spastic in for the final leg. It's not going to work, is it? Unless you pump him full of steroids I suppose.

I met with the guys in charge of this operation today, and they explained what was going on. "I see", "Tell me more" and "No problem" I said, as they spoke about a whole bunch of stuff I had no chance at ever comprehending. I shook their hands and won their confidence. Little could they know how much their operation is balanced on a knife-edge and will be determined on quite how lucky I'm feeling on the key day.

The supervisor guy I spoke to was a joyless character anyway. An Australian, he's been here for about eight months. I asked him, "So have you seen much of Mauritania?". "I've been to the port," he replied. The port is ten minutes drive away.


Only-in-Africa sight of the day: Aside from the numerous donkeys in the road and rambling goats, it has to be the guy driving a quad bike, fast, and with great skill balanced on just the two left wheels. All the way down the main road.

No comments: