Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Indonesia Update

I've been in Balikpapan, Indonesia for 3 weeks now.  Please forgive for the absence of photos after stating I would have them posted shortly after my last entry.  The Internet here at the hotel has been extremely crappy - I would go for 24-48 hours without access.  Whatever they have done recently seems to have done the trick, fingers crossed!

We spent 10 days doing the loading of the catalyst working 10-12 hour days - it was exhausting.  Since most of the population is Muslim they take longer breaks during the day to provide those who need to pray enough time to eat as well.  I end up getting sometimes a 2 hour lunch and dinner break but after sweating all day I rather just power through.  This coming home and getting relaxed then having to put the nasty nomex on to head back to work was not enjoyable.  Let me just state that the 2 hour lunch and dinner break is not included when I say I worked 10-12 hour days...Unit to be started up shortly!

Yan, my coworker and Ida, hotel sales manager - this is a view from the refinery housing area.

Streets of Balikpapan - looks calm but they really aren't!
 Since we have been working so much there has not been enough time to really see Balikpapan.  I have gone out to dinner with my co-worker Yan as well as some of the refinery guys to taste local dishes.  I never ask what the meat is and if the texture is funny, I just swallow without chewing!  So far the food is delicious but some items are a bit spicy.  I have my first chief, Afshin, to thank in helping increase my spice level tolerance by putting spicy sauce into my food in Trinidad :-)  While at work, this is my first time to experience eating snacks right by the reactors (in addition to the lunch and dinner we get provided). Sometimes it's boiled corn on the cob, others is this fried egg thing and another one time we had this green crepe that had coconut and brown sugar in the middle - just up my alley.  They do have American fast food here - more than any place I have been yet that hasn't been a major city.  So far I have seen: A & W, KFC, McDonald's, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and Pizza Hut.  I have yet to eat at any of them.
Karaoke on a work night - Me, Aloq, Yoga & Yesay jamming out!

In China I would have people come up to me and want to take a picture with me but I swear I have been asked more times while inside of the refinery here by the workers to take pictures with me.  It's flattering nonetheless - just funny.  Of course when I say a few words in Indonesian they just laugh because my accent makes their language sound funny :-)
Aloq, Me & Yesay just chilling on the bench during catalyst loading.

Hopefully I will get a little time to explore Indonesia before making the trek back to Chicago in a few weeks...until I have something else interesting to post.  Take care everyone!

See more pictures at my Picasa page HERE.

1 comment:

Tina said...

It's so cool to finally see you in a picture with work clothes and coworkers. Way to go for being a mini-celebrity!!