Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Wind and Dust

Monday 10/16/06

I hesitated to use that title, because I’m sure the weather gets much more extreme than it is right now. But there was a palpable change today, so I thought I’d write a little about it. I may have to write “Wind and Dust II” later.

I noticed the first time I went out that the wind had picked up considerably. It was blowing steadily out of the south, and carried with it the twin hallmarks of the weather here – heat and dust. It was nothing at all like a sandstorm – not nearly that intense. But it was enough to give a hint of what a problem such a storm would be (will be?).

I could see the dust blowing, and also feel it in my eyes. I had to blink a lot, and when I got inside I was glad I had the little disposable saline eye solution ampules I had gotten at Ft. Benning. I also bought some saline nasal spray that I’m carrying in my pockets. Between those and drinking lots of water, it isn’t really a problem. But I was glad I had my wraparound sunglasses, and even considered whether it would make sense to break out my goggles if it gets worse later on.

The dust gave a weird appearance and texture to the air. Even though it didn’t obscure visibility, there was a sort of a haze in the air and the sky took on a yellowish tinge closer to the horizon. It was a strange feeling, a sort of closeness or mugginess almost like it was going to rain, except there is almost no moisture at all in the air – it’s the dust.

I was asked just yesterday if anyone here wore masks to protect from the dust, and I answered that I hadn’t seen any. Today I saw my first one – a TCN (Third Country National) was wearing a surgical mask of his nose and mouth walking around outside. So I guess it is something they do use to protect against it. I felt more like protecting my eyes than anything else – I really had to blink a lot when I was outside, and there were times I kept one eye completely closed. I can only imagine what a real sandstorm must be like, and I don’t want to find out.

Today was my first official day at work, and we got a good start on things. The office / tool room is kind of a mess, and was set up with only two desks. Making room for a third desk was a good excuse to do some housecleaning without making too big of a point of it. We’ll keep cleaning and organizing as we go. But at least I have place to sit down tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll also exchange my computer for a new one – the one I have has been sitting in a cabinet for quite some time and is out of date and not working right. So it needs to be either repaired or exchanged, and I’m betting they’ll just issue me a new one.

After work I was also able to get some of the photos inserted into my entry from yesterday, so if you’re interested you may want to take a look at them. It took forever, so they are only partly done. I hope to be able to do it more efficiently from work once I get a computer there. The internet service available here is just too slow for the free time I have available.

From now on I suspect my entries will be fewer and farther between. We were lucky that today was a slow day, since I was just getting started getting organized. But even on a slow day I could see that it is an interrupt-driven job, and it will take some focus, discipline, and organizing skill to get any sustained work done on the projects we need to get started. First project – figure out what projects we have to do! :-)

Mood: Good
Music: Altan – Horse With a Heart (An Feochan)


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