Office and Camels

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February 19th 2008
Published: February 19th 2008
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Camel in NiameyCamel in NiameyCamel in Niamey

This is the first camel we saw today (just to the right of the large rectangular sign in the middle of the photo). Seemed so exotic and foreign!
February 19, 2008

Today has been an office day to start. Chris, Amadou and myself have been discussing our projects and looking at some of the data I have. We went for lunch at the Grand Hotel. It is a very nice hotel, and apparently quite popular (hard to get into). The route there took us past a huge stadium. On the way back, to my delight and surprise, I saw a camel with a large load on its back. What an unusual site. Then 2 minutes later, saw another one.

There is a lot of dust in the air. It is from the strong winds that come in from the Sahara, called ?????? (can’t remember their name). They begin near the start of December and will finish around the end of February. Then, the hot season will start. I am surprised that it doesn’t feel as hot as I expected, however, we are not in the field yet. That will be when I think I will feel the heat. It looks like we will now have two overnight trips to our different projects.

Didn’t notice the sand this morning, but in the early afternoon, my eyes started to feel dry and scratchy. It has been windy all day. Many people have scarves over their nose and mouth. Seeing more head attire on the men that looks very Arabic. It is an interesting country. Sand everywhere and yet there are still a few trees around.

Lunch was at a very nice hotel. Had a wonderful buffet meal. This afternoon was a lot more work. Had some success with finding data and being able to import it into MapInfo. The best part was being able to re-create some great colourful contour maps. After spending most of the afternoon working (til about 6:15pm), we headed back to the hotel to have brochettes on the terrace, overlooking the Niger River (yes, very, very nice way to spend an hour or two). We were a little late to catch the sunset, however, we enjoyed a drink and some fantastic beef brochettes. They are cooked on a barbecue, and served with a small pile of spice, that you dip your brochette into before eating. The spice is a bit hot, but oh so delicious. I could just eat brochettes until I get home.

After the appetizer, we headed to a nice French restaurant for dinner. Enjoyed steak with onions and French fries. I could hardly eat anything, I was so full from the brochettes. The owner was quite concerned that something was wrong - hard to explain that one is just full.

While driving around to these places, saw yet another camel. Amadou was explaining to us that in the cold season (now), the male camels can become quite nasty as they do not like the cold. He says, however, if you work them, they stay warm and are nice. He also said that camels recognize people and will follow almost anyone, hence theft of camels is a big problem here. Interesting little tidbits one picks up!

Looks like our trip to Nassile will continue as planned on Thursday. Another camping adventure. The truck loaded with supplies for us (foamies and such) headed out late this afternoon for the project. Sounds like we will be eating goat for dinner while we are there, so that indicates to me that I will be dining on rice and powerbars!

Tomorrow, a couple of meetings and more work. Anxious to see if I can find more data to import into MapInfo, before we head out to the projects. Will be an interesting couple of days!


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