Monday, October 5, 2009

Postings from Pretoria #20

04 October 2009

Hello there... Rodger French here.

Photo Update Alert:

"Cape Town/Simon’s Town"

This is, without a doubt, the most trying posting for me so far; not that there aren't adventures to relate and news to disseminate, and certainly not out of disregard for kindly readers who might still inexplicably be interested in expatriate quotidian-ness. No, it's simply that unforeseen happenstances have lately rendered my usual routines, how do you say, dans la toilette.

Anne and I recently spent three days in Cape Town followed by three day in Simon's Town, HQ of the South African Navy. We took photoz of dog statues (“Just Nuisance” – you should google it), toured museums, and drove to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. We viewed stunning coastal scenery, visited a colony of African penguins, and consumed copious quantities of seafood at eateries posh, and not. Mostly, we marveled at our great, good fortune to be privileged to spend quality time in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. If I could live anywhere in the world, I might choose Cape Town.

Then we returned to Pretoria. Where to begin…

For starters, I got slapped upside the head with a vicious “mal a shnoz” that lasted two weeks. I normally don’t succumb to these seasonal maladies, but every plant in South Africa bloomed feverishly overnight and my luck finally ran out. But then it gets worse…

I lost my computer for three weeks due to a hard drive crash suffered while trying to update the operating system. Fortunately, I had backed up all my files and still had my previous laptop to get me through. Reconstituting my music, photoz, and email database has been a major undertaking, and I sincerely appreciate your messages of sympathy and support. As one dear chum put it: “Nothing more annoying than to have technology we remember not needing, no longer work for us.” But meanwhile…

I found myself working as the Office Management Specialist (OMS) in the Regional Security Office (RSO), just in time for a security threat against the Mission. You may have heard about it. The Embassy was closed for two days except for essential personnel (including the RSO OMS) and the investigation ongoes. Not to get all Secret Squirrel on you, but I really am not at liberty to say more, except that everyone here is OK and dealing with the situation in a very professional manner.

Now, if I were a cynical man, I might be tempted to believe that all this brouhaha was a sort of whimsical, divine punishment inflicted for taking too much pleasure in the beauty of creation and the joys of peri-peri calamari, a reminder that there is always a price to be paid... for everything. My pain-in-the-tuchus troubles, however, pale in comparison to the current tribulations borne by certain family members and friends, and the real human hardship in evidence here every single day. So… basta cosi.

I'll be moving to yet another Temp Pool assignment next week, my fifth so far. Rumor has it that I'll be filling the opening for Mailroom Supervisor, a vacancy that has existed, somewhat unbelievably, for over six months. I'm starting to feel like a Class AAA utility infielder.

In other exciting news, with less than a year left in South Africa, A.J. and I will be receiving our first visitors in a few weeks. Plans are afoot for an excursion to Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) and Chobe National Park (Botswana). And rest assured, I intend to resume posting on a regular basis, Inshallah.

[Musical Note: I would like to remind those of you who have not yet purchased your copy of my latest solo accordion album "Main Squeeze Deux" that you still can… and probably should. For ordering information, please contact me at: Gotta pay for some South African geek support.]



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