Sunday, April 4, 2010

And, We're Back.

I had an absolutely fantastic time in Abu Dhabi. 11 nights and 12 days of hard work, great friends, desert sand, long drives, long talks, stress and laughter. I missed my family more than usual this time, but not so much that it didn't feel fantastic to get away. A By the Numbers Round up, followed by a few highlights in detail.

Cars Driven: 4... of which, Awesome: 1
Best Car: Renault Sherpa
Worst Car: a 1995 deisel Land Rover Discovery
Top speed of a Nissan Altima: 210 kph.
Number of times hopelessly lost on the streets of Abu Dhabi: 2
Kilometers logged: 800
Pairs of Shoes Packed: 3
Pairs of jeans packed: 9
Evening gowns packed: 1
Evening gowns worn: 0
Showers taken: 5
Average number of meals consumed per day: 2.6
Percentage of total Body Weight lost: 6.8%
Gin and Tonic's Consumed by Me: 4
Beers consumed by me: 65
Wine consumed by me: 5 glasses
Number of times Hit on, Total: 65
Number of times hit on by American fighter pilots: 12
Number of above American fighter pilots who had Moustaches: 11 (wtf?)
Number of times I was referred to as a "Freak Magnet": 15+
Fake eyelashes applied and worn in a sandstorm: 1 set
Helicopter rides for me: O

A few highlights in Detail. I got to drive one of these things. It's one of four in the world, a Rally Protoype, everything carbon fiber, everything custom, with 4 racing seats and harnesses. The guy who owns it kindly took me, Tanya and Lana out one evening and let us drive it in circles around the desert. It was awesome, I may have had an actual orgasm.

Due to both the Death of Sheikh Ahmed and the unusual lack of a bar in the Bivouac, things were rather subdued. None the less, fun was had, and things were extremely social.

I had a chance to have a long chat with one of the Medics about the little girl who drowned at the marina. He's a London guy, who works in a Busy ER and has seen it all. We talked a little but about the physiology of drowning, about how peaceful children usually appear when they are drowning, about how I fucked up not recognizing it, about how the timeline between the kid going under and the Ambulance arriving was unacceptable, about how much it sucks watching children die. It was really good to talk to someone who sees it all the time. I told him about the whole situation, and he described it as a swiss Cheese Situation, where it's not one hole in the safe guards that fails and results in a death, but a series of mistakes which when compounded lead to an accident turning fatal. It was a really healthy conversation, and I feel a lot better for having had it.

We got a fly by by one morning by seven American F-16's. They seemed so close in that I could almost reach up and touch them, though I'm sure they were much higher than that. It was Awesome, but as our guys had 2 helicopters on approach at the time, the guys in our command center were really pissed off, and rightly so. But it was awesome. They sound fantastic.

I, for my part, produced scads of paperwork, attended meetings, sorted out a water crisis at 4:00 am, and drank a lot of coffee.

Stone is home from work now, so I'll sign off. More from here soon.


Sythe said...

Welcome back.

Stop hating on the land rovers. French cars are crap, regardless of their exclusivity. They're French. Did it smell of onions? Did it have an automated white flag hoisting device?

Glad you had a good time, am interested to hear more about the 'tached fighter pilots and the bizarre fake eye-lashes in a sand storm event :)

Sandhya Menon said...

I am truly and completely jealous. I'd say on the whole the trip was fantastic for your self-esteem, what? :)

Anonymous said...

wow !
not sure which i loved/envied more
the alcohol intake
lack of showers had
times hit on overall
or the fly by

either way that was very cool

Fiona said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Suburban said...

Sythe, French or not, it Was AWESOME. Stories over beers soon.

TRQ, it was a fun trip, and it's great to be reminded that I can work and play just as hard as I used to. The getting hit on wasn't so flattering this time, because nobody else got hit on very much, leading me to believe that I looked either ugly, desperate, or both. So not so good for my self esteem.

Anon, than ks for the comment! The alcohol intake seems high, but averages out to just over a drink an hour between 20:00 and 02:00 am. nightly.

Fiona, Thanks for your comment, I heard something similar, and am pretty aghast if it's true. I have removed your comment for the moment, because I have so far been unable to get confirmation from Marina Staff. I'll repost it if and when I can get independent confirmation.