Thursday, September 8, 2005

I have not been sleeping well. I wake up around 4 and don't really manage to get back to sleep. I imagine part of it is just not having anyone to sleep with.
Dawn - and sunset - take a very long time here. When the sun actually comes over the horizon, it seems to take no longer than anywhere, but the pre-dawn light, the early morning period, and then the pre-sunset dusk take a very long time. All part of the latitude.
I'm not sure what to make of life at the camp. I don't like being stuck in the camp, but I knew I wouldn't. I'm learning a few words, so I can get things at the store, but I can manage little besides other than saying "Good morning". The atmosphere at the camp is pretty much what I had calculated - like a dorm. A cushy dorm, but still a dorm. I've never really fit into that environment. I do better now that I have more patience and tolerance (comes with age, eh?). And, I have a couple comforts of home - my bicycle, and the clock. Speaking of my bicycle, I rode to work yesterday. Five point 32 kilometers one way. That's just about 3 and a third miles. Perfectamundo. If I ride into the village after, it makes an 8 or 10 mile day. Perfectamundo. I was really worried about the last kilometre of roadway into the site. It is paved with huge concrete blocks. They aren't blocks as in bricks, large or otherwise, but blocks that are 4 or 5 feet wide by 10 to 15 feet long. The roadway is constructed of 3 of these blocks laid lengthwise side by side to form the roadway span. I am told that they put down a good underlayment to support and drain from under the blocks. It seems a cheap and durable way to construct a road quickly. However, when driving down it in a car, it becomes a corduroy nightmare, reducing speed, and seemingly threatening tire damage. Pa-chunk pa-chunk pa-chunk pa-chunk driving that last kilometer. I was very concerned about riding a bicycle on this section, thinking that it would be even harder on my bike. And, it certainly has that potential, but in reality the blocks are laid closely together, and it is no worse than some concrete roadways I've ridden on. The last sections by the guard gate are bad though, as at this point there are 6" gaps between the blocks. It requires a careful weaving from block to block on my road bike. On a mountain bike it would be next to nothing.

The weather is still warm, with cool nights, but I don't think it's gotten below 40. Some of the fields have been plowed and replanted. We don't know whether this is a winter wheat, or just a fallow crop. We see flocks of geese feeding in the fields in the distance. They must be huge birds. They are so far away I cannot see them clearly, but they are grey. They are so big I think they must look like emus up close!

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