Monday, October 30, 2006

Apoyo Technico

We're finally out of the hotel and in an apartment. We lucked
out and the same people that are selling us an apartment were
willing to rent us their newest apartment for a month until we
close on the piece of junk we're buying and fix it up enough to
live in. (they call condominiums apartments too)

We've got cable tv and internet too now, so I had the joy of
hooking up a new router to a new cable modem. I screwed
something up when I set the mac address to the cable modem
and all I kept getting was the cable companies web page to test
the speed of the modem. With dread yet a small ray of hope
I called tech support, opcion 1 - clientes de red (network), opcion
2 clientes de TVcable, opcion 3 - clientes de negocio. Fuck.
no "oprima dos para ingles" like we hear back home in the multi-
culty USA.

Luckily I've done enough network troubleshooting that I could
follow the steps even though I couldn't quite catch every word.
They reset something and suddenly: bam! Wireless network.
It does prove the point that tests for classes in a foreign language
should be done by telephone. With no hand waving and facial
expressions to provide feedback, it's possible to get lost easily.

Oh well, progress continues.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Car bomb in bogota

If anyone is curious, we're all ok. There was a car bomb this morning
about a mile from our hotel.

http://www.eltiempo.com/bogota/2006-10-19/ARTICULO-WEB-NOTA_INTERIOR-3290947.html


It was our friends los farc attacking a military school. No one was killed
thankfully, just six people injured. not for lack of trying though.


Updated later:

This the key part of the el tiempo story:

La Escuela Superior de Guerra está ubicada en el complejo militar del Cantón Norte, donde también se encuentran la Escuela de Infantería y la Universidad Militar Nueva Granada.

En la institución se celebraba un acto académico sobre Derechos Humanos al que estaban invitadas varias personalidades del Estado y la cúpula militar. En el momento de la explosión se encontraba el comandante del Ejército, general Mario Montoya.

"in the moment of the explosion, the commander of the army was there"...so they werent

trying to blow up students, but the commander of the army.



Sunday, October 15, 2006

Nyquil Dreams

I'm back in Bogota after a week of traveling to Quito and Lima
to meet clients and coworkers and people that now work for me.
All I can say is that I'm glad we're going to live here and not Lima,
much of which looks like a run-down version of the model of Tokyo
from Kill Bill 1.

Anyway since I changed from cold to cool to humid and warm yet cool
whenever the wind blows, in 72 hours, I got pretty sick on friday with fever
chills, torrential running nose and a cough suited for "les miserables".
Once I got back here to my ziplock bag full of american medicines, I took
a double dose of Nyquil and went to sleep. (er, passed out, being a Nyquil
veteran, I know enough to take my dose in bed, if you take Nyquil in the
kitchen you may wake up on the kitchen floor.)

I had the most freaked out dreams, I'm not sure if they were all nyquil
related, or just stress. The first set seemed normal...no aliens...but I
apparently got a job as a regional manager for Walmart. In the dream it
seemed like I was in Albequerque from the shape of the mountain that loomed
in the dream. The walmart store was opening and not a single person knew their
job, and when I asked for a diagram of who was in charge, all I got was a list
of names horizontally across the page.

All of this makes perfect sense this morning, since I was supposed to be handing
over with my predecessor over the last week and a half, and he did take me
around and introduce me to all the clients and employees, but everytime we discussed
some facet of the operation he said he'd send me the document by email, or dump
everything onto a common server. I finally asked him to just copy everthing he
was willing to give me onto my external hard drive. When he put me off again I
wasn't sure if he's got a diabolical plan to fuck up my future, or if he's forgetful.
Friday we got through the afternoon and I was pissed off and feverish, still nothing
concrete so I suspected it was the diabolical plan one. Fuck.

Anyway, all of this fed into my Nyquil control center and came out with the first
dream, then a more standard less work involved dream where we were camping
on a bayou being attacked by multicolor alien butterflies and undead rats.
(I know what you're thinking: dream #22)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Drunken public speaking

We're down here in Colombia, living in a hotel until we can find an
apartment. Living in a hotel always sounds so cool, like being a rich
writer living in a hotel in New York, where the doorman tips his hat
before going up to your four room suite. But living in an actual hotel
room sucks pretty bad, especially when the bed here is nothing like
my memory-foam mattress. (E.T. Voice on/ home, oooouuuch, E.T.
Voice off/)

Work progresses, I've tried not to screw up too many things my first
week, but since the whole job has been 100% in spanish, I think most
people here think I'm a babbling idiot. At the farewell dinner for the guy
I'm replacing I had to stand up and say a few words...unfortunately, with
the altitude my alchohol tolerance is zero here, after two beers and two
glasses of wine over two hours I was halfway to Dean-Martinized. I stood
up, said something in bad spanish and sat down again.

I sat down and immediately panicked and asked my wife, "what did I just say?"
Since no butterknives came sailing back across the table and I wasn't immediately
runoft, I guess it wasn't as bad as I thought, but no more beer in public here.