our crazy dinner last night
I did something tonight that I swore I would never do.... it's a bit hard to admit it here publicly, but here goes..... I bought closed toed shoes. And even worse, I'm wearing them right now. To defend myself, I discovered that I needed something besides flip flops to go to any temples, and the tennis shoes that I had bought because I thought I'd be working in them are too bulky to carry around (and who wants to wear sneakers in 85 degrees anyways?). So I looked for something lightweight that I could slip in and out of and that were cheap. Tonight at the market I found just the thing- probably the ugliest pair of white fake leather and rhinestone slip on shoes EVER. But, they are relatively comfortable (as opposed to the pointy toed stiff ones) and they were only 6 dollars.
pot o' pork
So I'm pretty excited to go explore some temples in my new footwear. I can't believe it's friday!! Woohoo!! We left early this morning to get to work in time for morning calisthenics at ten to eight, which consisted of the whole shipyard workforce lining up in the big courtyard and doing sorts of exercises while counting out loud. The picture I took just can't do it justice, too bad I can't post the little digital video clip I took. Today's mission was more of the same- finish putting the conduit pieces in the mast. We made pretty good progress and only have a few left to do tomorrow. It wasn't an easy process and I don't think I've explained any of it earlier. Basically we have about 60 metal brackets that get screwed in at various points along the inside of the masts on two sides.
those would be salmon pieces... we think
There are a few holes cut in the mast to reach through, but not everywhere is easily accessible. So we devised a system with string and wire to feed a guideline up through the holes we've drilled, catching that line with a hook on the end of a metal pole and dragging it to the nearest open space, attaching the bracket to the string, pulling the other end of the string so the bracket slides along the bottom of the mast, and then screwing the bracket in once we maneuver it to line up the holes. I'm sure none of that made any sense.... but just picture 4 pieces (the 2 masts are in 4 pieces) of at least 50 feet each, and trying to space metal brackets on two inside edges. Ok maybe that didn't help either... but basically it's pretty challenging and frustrating at times! But our system works really well and we did most of them today.
morning exercises at the yard
There were a couple spots closer to the ends of the masts that it seemed kind of silly to spend the time fishing the line through, so I just crawled (more like shimmied) into the mast and held the bracket over the holes while someone else screwed them in. The mast is a pretty tight sqeeze, I'm not gonna lie, and quite dirty from all the metal shavings and dust. And when it started to roll a little bit that was interesting (the pieces are propped up on blocks so they can't go anywhere, don't worry Mom, but there is sometimes some shifting). The worst part though are the acoustics. From either end of the mast pieces you can have a full conversation through the entire tube at normal speaking volume. It sounds like you're right next to the person.
me in the mast
But anywhere else, forget it. So when Winston and Kevin were trying to give me directions on where to hold the bracket from the little drill holes on the top, and I could tell that they were talking but couldn't make out a word of what they were saying, it was a little frustrating. Especially because yelling at the top of my lungs inside the mast doesn't make one hoot of a difference! So there I was yelling at them to go to one of the ends of the mast and they can't hear me, and they're talking through two holes several inches away from me and I can't hear them! It was actually pretty funny and once we sorted that out everything was fine. I think the Thai workers got a big kick out of seeing me disappear into the mast about 15 feet.
me in the mast, again
That pretty much took up our day and we had a mini adventure in getting home. We called for a taxi at a quarter to four, but at 4 the office woman came out and said that no taxis were actually coming. So we hopped in the back of one of the yard's pickup trucks and they deposited us on the main road. Of course there were no taxis to be found, so we hopped in two "Tuk-Tuks" (sort of a motorcycle with a covered bench seat for 3 on the back). We told the driver to take us to the next main road, but he ignores us and goes down a random alley and both Tuk-Tuks end up at a crocodile farm. So we're like okkaayyyy..... but there are taxis parked there so we get in them, and proceed to spend the next hour and a half sitting in traffic.
the brackets I was trying to describe
I took a nap and listened to my ipod so it was actually quite delightful. I don't mind the commute or the traffic when I have my music. When else are you "forced" to sit back and listen to music for an hour? I wouldn't make that time for myself normally so it's cool that it's automatically built into my day. Not everyone feels the same as me though, but thats ok. We ended up at a really nice Thai restaurant for dinner at like 9 something and had a private little room to ourselves to eat in and it was really fun and amazing food. It's always an adventure to order the food and eat. Everybody else went out to the bars but I backed out because I am exhausted and want some quiet time to read and type before bed.
I was very very dirty
I get to sleep in tomorrow, but probably not too long because I want to get out exploring. Ok that was a lot that I wrote.... phew.... I'm off to bed now!! This blog has pretty much taken the place of a written journal so I'm trying to get as much detail in when I can so I won't forget anything. This weekend is the Chinese New Year so I'm sure I'll have some fun stories to post later. Happy new year!!