Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What the.....We aren't in Kansas anymore Toto

Have you ever awakened and asked yourself "Where the hell am I and how did I get here?" This time I had all of my clothes on (thankfully) but I'm still blown away that I am here.

In the event you can't make out the color of the picture, that my friends is SAND not snow as you might expect from my normal postings. And in case you can't really tell, that is a LOT of sand. My last three weeks have been most interesting. I spent the second week of October at a training class outside of Chicago. I wasn't about to go into the city on my own so one of the local guys from the class took me downtown one evening so I could see it. Not having been to too many major cities I wanted to at least be able to say I have wandered the streets of downtown Chicago (and after midnight too!). So that was my big adventure that I was planning to post about next. Then on my way back to Chicago I had a voice mail from my boss saying he had a little "adventure proposal" for me if I was interested.

A lot can happen in three weeks. Between the 8th of October and yesterday my gluteus maximus have been glued to an airplane seat from Anchorage to Seattle to Chicago and back to Anchorage, then Anchorage to the North Slope (work) back to Anchorage, then Anchorage to Minneapolis to London to Hassi Messaoud, Algeria. Not to mention the three short flights on a Twin Otter also. My arse is sore!

I'm sure there are a few people who have read my blog and think I build timberframes or something for work but I do have a real job. I work in the Oil and Gas Industry for ConocoPhillips. For years I have hounded one of the Operators I worked with for the first five years at Alpine who was always going on international projects to take me with him. Well when he called and asked if I wanted to come to Algeria I was as you might guess just a little unsure. After a phone conversation with him and some negotiations with Sandi(my wife), I said yes. After we got the details it is actually a fairly secure entry into the country and very, very, very remote. I am in the Sahara Desert about 75 miles from the Lybian border in the middle of what is called The Great Eastern Erg, also known as the Sea of Sand. It truly is like an ocean of sand and these monstrous dunes go about 150 miles in every direction. At work we have to clear snow after a blow, here they clear sand.

Tonight we hiked up the dune behind camp that they call K2. I want to climb it at least one more time (see if I wheeze a little less next time) then I want to go climb the one they call Everest. There is a pretty good justification for both names. This is truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. I can't put into words how awesome it is to sit on top of one of these dunes and see the colors and shades that the sand turns. Stunningly Beautiful!

The walk from camp to the plant.

Camp from the climb up K2 (taken last week).

The ridge on K2 I climbed up tonight (this picture was also taken previously)

The Production Facility from atop K2 with Everest in the left background.

The view from my room!


Anonymous said...

Wow, Tyson! I'm glad you decided to step outside Willow. I hope you take the opportunity to explore London, too! Be careful over there and do NOT wink at anyone. (I hope you cut your hair before you left, too!)Watch out for sand fleas. Robyn

Anonymous said...

Hello Tyson..Sandi sent me a link to your blog and I must say I am enjoying your photography skills and well as the verbage!! I agree, the sand is beautiful..Take care while so far away on this planet and keep writing and shooting..it's great!
Mary & John Wheatley..formerly from Palmer, AK now in Cheney, WA!