Cheers to a new frame of mind

As KC mentioned earlier I recently had a business trip that I had to partake in that allowed me to subtract myself from our own little version of Alcatraz for a couple of days, with the purpose being -insert technical jargon here-, which required me to not once step foot in our company offices but go out and be right in the mix with some of the local subcontractors.  Most of these companies are run my expats, Americans like myself, but the interesting thing is that they have been in operating in Nigeria for some time… And by operating in Nigeria I mean living and working not in an isolated, well-defended compound, but right out there in the middle of things; right smack dab in the middle of the place that causes our expats to piss themselves if they have to even step foot off of any unapproved (and unsecured) beaten path. Don’t get me wrong; the place is an utterly disgusting version of a third world slum in most places and does not fit into the usual world view when it comes to a place that you would like to go out and have a good time; there is trash EVERYWHERE, most of the vehicles on the roads look like someone worked them over with sledgehammers back in 1981, and the overall concept of city beautification consists of grouping brightly-colored refuse in interesting piles.

Pictured: Crappy van

Considering all of this, what could I possibly find in a place that is reminiscent of a city dump that stretches over a 50 square mile radius?

Pictured: A typical Warri roadside, i.e. dump

-Good times apparently, and a little mental clarity to boot.

I don’t know how many of you guys have ever worked closed camp jobs, but the biggest problem with them is the absolute and mind-numbing boredom associated with being in a place where you are segregated from the local environment outside of what local workforce you have on site. You don’t have the ability to go to the local grocer to pick up food for tonight’s dinner; there is no grocer and you eat whatever the dining facility has decreed to be food. Wanna watch a movie? -Better hope that it is on the limited amount of channels you have on your television… Oh wait, its raining so we lost reception on the satellite, so here’s to hoping that you brought some DVDs with you from the States… Oops, forgot to tell you that the company provides DVD players that are of a different region code than your DVDs so they won’t play. Basically I am trying to tell you that you just don’t have many options while on a camp, as you wake up to work and go to sleep with it as well. I understand that none of us are out here to have a social life or interact with the local flora or fauna, but after doing this continuously for two months, after working seven days a week for that long, the only thing that you can do to alleviate the cabin fever is to just go numb.

I didn’t even realize this until I decided that I was going to gamble my job for a minute and REALLY get an idea as to what this place was about.

The times that I had over the past few days are the stuff of friggin LEGEND. I would go into detail but I think that not only did I break company rules over and over again, but I also might have crossed into international ones as well. The times were fantastic, but the best thing about it was that I was finally allowed to just let EVERYTHING go and ignore any and all potential repercussions in the pursuit of a GOOD TIME. I met heroes and criminals; saw some of the most horrible poverty imaginable coupled with a dude that was tossing around cash as if he had a printing press at his place (which he probably does), but end of the day I was able to get my OWN view of this place, and not one based off of a bunch of miserable old dudes that “fear the reaper”.

I also had a damned good time, and was able to cleanse the brain in the process.

Thanks for the patience that you all have shown in waiting for me to get back into the swing of things again.

Cheers.

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About Old Iron
I'm just a guy that works overseas alot and likes to play just as hard as I work. Been to a FEW countries, know a shitload of people all over, and generally have a good time wherever I go. -Oh, and I am currently in between girlfriends, and strangely enough and perfectly happy with that status. In the long run hookers are cheaper. Take my word on that.

7 Responses to Cheers to a new frame of mind

  1. ~KC~ says:

    awh the PG13 version… nice!

  2. Old Iron says:

    Hey, I told you it would be. I don’t think wordpress would let me publish the pics that I sent to you, and those were tame in comparison to the others I took.

  3. Buck says:

    Thanks for this post, OI. I can sorta relate. I say “sorta” coz I KNOW Nigeria isn’t quite like Turkey, Thailand, or the Philippines… three places where I had extensive opportunities to get out and about with the locals. Most of my military peers spent their lives on Big Bases, which I believe might be the equivalent of your closed compounds. I moved in a different sorta world, that of small radar stations located on/in isolated mountain tops, with significant “support” drawn from local sources. It IS a different world.

    I also have to smile at your references to DVDs, satellite teevee/internet, and the like. We had wildly different sorts of “diversions” in the ’60s and ’70s… mostly in cans and bottles 🙂 … and I won’t go into what it was like as an adolescent living in Ankara, Turkey during the ’50s.

  4. Old Iron says:

    Things have slightly modernized from your time, but the ode is still the same; never take any creature comfort that you have in the States for granted. That and no matter what environment you are in, if you are willing to twist your brain a bit you can make it work for you, and who knows? You might just discover something new and exciting about both your immediate environs as WELL as yourself.

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