Challenge called Turkmenistan

Yeah, I’ll write every week. No problem! And then three weeks Turkmenistan came along. Bye bye every week hello huge challenge.

And what a challenge it was, never ever have I been in such an isolated country as this. With so much dust, and so little to do. The limitations you have as a foreigner are huge. Be back inside before 10 pm, No cellphone internet, no international news websites and dangerous traffic.

Five compressor trains are to be commissioned in Mary, Turkmenistan. They’ll be used at the fertilizer plant they are building there, state of the art, government funded project. Driven by steam turbines this was my first job with this type of machinery, the turbines and compressors are controlled by the ITCC concept of Woodward. A high tech control philosophy that proves modern anti surge control and steam turbine control. Having never worked with this, it was a real challenge to learn the system and get used to it.

A greater challenge were the living conditions which we were faced with, you can see in the pictures what they were. I notice now that adjusting back to the life in Amsterdam is just as hard as the other way around. During the countless idle hours I have been trying to keep myself busy with studying the lyrics of several Macklemore songs, since they are very difficult of course I didn’t manage! Also I started reading the famous book from Stephen Covey: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, this book helped my through some dark hours and made me realize that you only need your mind to feel happy and satisfied. Being pro-active regarding your environment and surrounding really changes the way you look at it, you become able to put it into perspective of what it really is.

Other things I have noticed of the country are the following:

– People actually stop for the STOP sign

– The country is very very clean (at least the streets, not talking about my room)

– They don’t have roads

– They warn you not to talk in hotels due to listening devices

– Sandstorms are itchy

and last but not least: The women can be very beautiful

Now I am back in Amsterdam, Enjoying the sun in my apartment. Till next week (if I am not going to another country without internet)

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Back in office

Monday the helicopter was finally waiting for me. It took me home to Amsterdam, traveling by helicopter is weird, I have done it multiple times, but yet they succeed in making me a bit nervous. The constant reminder they give you before getting into the helicopter makes you aware of the risks. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vmEW04gcjQ Bumped and rattled I made it safe to shore where a perfect Guinness was waiting for me.

The weekend was waiting again, except for one intermezzo which was an apparent turbine stall, this means that there is nog enough air going inside the compressor. This will cause a rapid decrease in pressure and eventually a vacuum. Since this could cause serious harm to the machine, we decided to take a closer look using the borescope. Since the shutdown logic kicked in quick enough, no damage was found.

Being back in the office shows some interruption to the waiting, and also challenges to complete given by the 4 hour work week. Not checking the news is still going strong, I calculated it saves more or less 2 to 3 hours a day. The problem lays in the filling up that time useful: Started to learn French, although the app I am using needs WiFi, spending time on uncrate.com and ehh, thats about it. So save time to be idle I guess.

The email reading twice per day (business) and once per day for private email is a success, though very very hard. Being at the office gives you the rhythm of checking it over and over again, but one week of fighting against it, colleagues already just walk to you to ask something instead of mailing.

My schedule for coming week is a little bit unsure, I am scheduled to travel to lovely Turkmenistan to commission 5 steam turbine compressor trains, but since they are issues with domestic flight safety and VISA, this could be delayed until further notice. Turkmenistan is a rather anonymous country about which little can be found. About the job there is little know too, the turbines and compressors are build by Mitsubishi Heavy Industry Compressor Company and are located near Mary, Turkmenistan. A very remote area in the neighborhood of Iran and Afghanistan.

Till next week!

Professor Academic in Waiting

Since last Friday, I have worked exactly 6 hours. And what I worked on, wasn’t even my real job.  I have assisted the MTU engineer in borescoping the LM5000 they have here on the Britannia Platform. You go with a tiny camera inside the turbine to check on the blades, vanes and combustor. Some of the images we retrieved you can see down below.

It was freezing cold outside, wind 60 kts and waves of 20 meter it was a battle of the giants! But we managed.

The other 6 days of the week I have waited, waited, waited, waited and not to forget: Waited. That sounds like heaven, being paid for nothing. But it gets very annoying. On the positive side: I have time to write this blog, to watch 3 seasons of boardwalk empire, to watch the following movies: Run fatboy, Run (Simon Pegg), Paul (Simon Pegg), The Wolf of Wallstreet (Leonardo) and Zorro (blehh). Also first season of Spartacus is on again, and I have finished a book of Timothy Ferris (The 4 Hour Work Week).

For those who are interested here is my daily schedule:

6.15 AM: Wake up

6.30 AM: Shower

6.45 AM: Breakfast

07.00 AM: Team meeting

7.15 – 11.30 AM: Idle

11.30 AM: Lunch

11.45 AM – 13.30 PM: Rest (resting from resting haha)

13.30 – 17.30: Idle

17.30: Dinner

Till 6.15 the next day Idle again.

The planning now is to get the turbine running by tomorrow, and the helicopter back to the beach on Monday morning, let’s keep the fingers crossed!

Enjoy your valentine!

\MK Out

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Welcome Back :)

One month… or actually 27 days to be very precise. On January 1st, 2014, 7 hours earlier than expected we left for Mauritius again. Due to the cyclone approaching Mauritius our flight from Paris to Mauritius was rescheduled to depart 7 hours earlier. Sounds perfect hein? The moment we arrived on Charles de Gaulles airport we were notified that the original flight time was to be maintained. Bye bye 7 hours extra MRU, hello 7 hours of boredom in the CDG lounge..

Arriving at the new airport (wonderful new!) felt like coming home again. A quick drive to our brand new apartment in Blue Bay made us feel more at home! We were the first one be making use of the apartment, and we quickly renamed it ‘The BAT Cave” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caving.

The rest of the holidays are not describable, every word spent to it, is an insult to our feeling, hour happiness and to our friends. I’ll never ever be able to find sufficient words to describe it, so I won’t try it.

Arriving back, Bas went straight to work, which saved him from the post Mauritius depression (this disease is officially applied at the union of doctors). I however had a few more days off, and it ruined me. So much time on your hands makes you idle, and gives you time to miss. All I had was a phone call from my boss, telling me that the day I start again, I would be coordinating, and the next day I;d have to go offshore to the Britannia.

And that is where I am now, I am practicing my waiting.. First I waited an entire day for a cancelled flight, and now I am waiting to start work, although no one has an idea of what I have to do here. They found a leakage in the Gas system so they were inhibited to start the Turbine, this made them loose an entire week of production. Last night they found and fixed the leak, but they prefer to catch up with production first!

For the future I will try to post once every week, a small update of what I am doing and where I am. Funny situation, FUBAR situations and a small update of what kind of work I did.

Cheerio!

3…2…1… Relaunch of this blog!

Goodday our dear friends, followers, interested people, mice on mauritius and rest of the world.

After our return from Mauritius we stopped writing the blog, but the mails and questions did not stop coming. Hopefully we answered each one of them, if not our apology.

Let me tell you where we are at now (hang in tough, boring boring boring):

In the Netherlands we both graduated on the University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam, Bas in Aviation Management, me in Aviation Engineering. After graduation Bas decided he wanted to be a pilot (nice uniform, white shirt and a nice flat hat (of course other reasons, but his parents are reading this)).

I started to work at  Woodward Netherlands, an American company which produces Energy Controls systems as a Field Service Engineer. If you want to learn more, here is their website.

Short way around the obvious we both start to travel a lot, and since the translation to english op this blog title is, bas and thijs are travelling, it seems appropriate to us that we relaunch this blog and actively write about the things we see and experience.

Fun fun fun.

Anyway, we’ll come back! And we are back!

Happy new year!

How to say goodbye.

Yes, I am sorry, the topic is really sad. Extra motivation to find a bridge. We are leaving in 4 days. But first things first. Lets make this blog an effort to make the world a better place. Here are some issues listed which are solved.

Number 1. Why does the bathroom smell so bad when Bas went in? And how to solve it?
What Bas does in the bathroom is his own business, so the answer for the first question is hidden in the deep caves of blue bay.
However the solution is quite simple. The tool we acquired to fight the smell is bought at any convenient store is called Incense Sticks. To keep the means stealthy, try to stick them into the soap next to the sink, and put the bin underneath it.

Issue 1 solved!

Number 2. Why are the annoying fruit flies only attracted to the clean dishes? And how to solve it

Yes, a plague has risen. Fruit flies. When the kitchen is dirty as hell (or as my room), no fruit fly to see. Probably hiding from the disgusting smell. BUT! As soon as you even think of doing the dishes, whop there they are. Perhaps attracted to the appealing apple washing liquid smell? Je ne sais pas. However, there they are. Flying happy circles above the clean dishes, and above the clean floor. Probably smiling from ear to ear and singing a happy song.

One solution possible: Mass murder, kill them all, genocide. Too bad our previous mass-murderer already left the country, because we could use some help.

Issue 2 solved!

Number 3. How do the wild cats come into our house? And how to solve it?
At night you hear all kinds of noises inside the house. Burglars, Criminals, Housemates and Wild cats! They make the most noise. Searching for food in the house, or dancing with the previously described fruit flies. As soon as you wake you, get your flash light and go down to see what the noise is, they are gone. And here starts the issue. Where do they go? If you see them, they flee into a room with closed windows or really high windows. No chance for escape! Zero nil nada. But yet it is impossible to locate them again. So going out is difficult, how about going in then?

We’ve tried now for 6 months. No solution possible other than that to hide all the food.

Issue 3. Not solved :(

Number 4. How come our laundry machine keeps breaking down. And how to solve it?
Since our parents arrived in Mauritius, the machine keeps breaking down. It looks like it thinks, ha the parents are here, I’m having a break. This was okay for the time that our parents were here in Mauritius. It still doesn’t work.

It won’t be fixed, because it will break down again. The reason why it’s broken down is unknown, the houselord says it is because it is Chinese.

So fixing it isn’t the solution, and still we are there with dirty laundry. Here is the solution.

Get some WARM water, and put it into a bucket. Add soap to it, and move outside in the sun. Get Bas too.
Put Bas next to the COLD water tap to clear the laundry from the soap and then let him hang it to dry. The action in the WARM water bucket is simple. Clothes in to soak, rub to them and squeeze them.

Last issue. Solved!
— Some issues might not reflect the reality —

Now lets continue with the blog
Arriving home is wonderful, all your beloved ones waiting at the airport, eager to hug you and to kiss you. Have a face to face conversation again and to see the glitter in their eyes. Yes, coming home is absolutely wonderful. But to saying goodbye to all the friends who made this experience a big success is difficult. So we had to think of a way to make it an unforgettable goodbye, without tears and only smiles.

And hell we found a way!

Well in advanced planned: A goodbye party, with food, alcohol and the main ingredient: Music! We invited all our good friends to join us in this event. And 80% of the invited showed up. Everyone smiled, drunk a bit and danced a lot. We enjoyed it so so much. Even saying goodbye is easy and fun now. Lets say goodbye again!

Saturday we are leaving, packing already started. Thursday our last visit to the airport will be a fact. We got cake and a smile. We are proud to be friends with them.

A really small tear dropped down on my Mac, this blog is written with love, fun and tears.

See you soon.

Matthijs and Bas

P.S. First we wanted to write a thank you personally for all our friends here on the island. The reason why we didn’t do that is that this post would be endless. By this way we would like to state our deepest deepest deepest thanks to all our friends and people here who were so sweet, nice and thoughtful for us. Giving us your trust and enthusiasm like this is irreplaceable and will never ever be forgotten.

Anael, Samy Joe, Mary Joyce, Michaella, Ashreena, Joana, Kurstyna, Cyntina, Youvana, Ken, Rishi, Nitin, Nekitsing, Lovina, Joëlle, Kevina, Charlene, Monohur, Jennifer, Vinod, Brinda, Thierry, Sylvia, Wendy, Babynah, Sophie, Pawan, Astride, Daniel, Valery, Karen, Jeff (and Aaron), Pascaline, Wilkims, Kelly, Gwenael, Manu, Jessica.

We love you

This is the last post from Mauritius.

Mauritius OUT

All is gone

Dear all,

All is gone, everything, tout, todos, alles, and I don’t know what more. Now we can see as far the eye reaches. It’s beautiful!

I am talking of course about the cutting/harvesting of the sugarcane fields, it’s the season for it. Previous roads and views were defined by two meter high sugar canes, now you can see more of the beautiful country, I found out, you can actually see the airport from here, that the hotel is just around the corner and that the mountains are further away then I thought!

Today is besides the death of million of sugar canes, also a time to mourn about the lost final (ahum). We watched the final in the capital, in a café completely filled with spain supporters. It would’ve been so good to win, but it wasn’t to be there. Though we had a really good time, and we walked out with pride. The Netherlands are the only country except for Spain to reach the final this year!

It is starting to look like a death message or so, because here is the third sad message. This one is not completely sad.

We are leaving in 19 days. For me personal I have strong mixed feelings, I’ve met great people and friends here, but I also long to my girlfriend very much. For Bas is different, the most he longs for at the Netherlands is his own toilet seat. He still is not used to the one we have here.

This was it, more I cannot squeeze from my mind.

Long live orange
Long live the queen
Long live you.

Signed,

The Mauritian ones

Education by stunning

The oldies came, the oldies left. I’m sure they had a great time, at least we did! They promised us they would make each a guest blog for this blog. Let’s hope it will get there. They took a lot of pictures, together more then 1200! The links to the albums you can find below!

Since they will write about their time here, and us being with them most of the time, it is not necessary for me to write about it!

Before they left, we planned a lot of activities after the take-off of the ‘oldies’. This way our post-parent depression would be contained in a good way! The events we did vaporized in the sight of our main goal on sunday. Charity for the Social Welfare Centre of Cite la Chaux.

The idea of the centre was so good, that so many kids applied that they needed extra help. So Bas and Thijs came to help. Our help was limited since our creole skill doesn’t yet comprise kids creole.

The plan was to load kids in a glass bottom boat to show how beautiful their own country/sea is. In the past there was a lot of destruction of the beautiful coral in Blue Bay marine park by fishing (with dynamite) and by tourism. Now this has been solved by creating the marine park, but it is best to educate the future about it too. Education by stunning it’s called. Because stunning it is.

Entire cities made out of coral skyscrapers are underneath the water, habit-et by colorful fish, sea urchins and turtles. It is really like the movie ‘Finding Nemo’, unbelievable. For what we understand the kids loved it and it made the impression on them which was needed to secure this amazing beautiful world.

The idea about this trip is like the title of this blog. Education by stunning the kids. The kids were stunned by the beauty of the underwater world but they were also stunned by the effect of the destruction you could see from the past. That was also really present, the destroyed parts were like the movie I Legend. Destroyed Skyscrapers, not capable of hosting any life.

The sunday ended in relaxing on the beach with a few beers. Mauritian life :)

Pictures will be uploaded soon of this day.

Here you can find the two photo albums of our parents:

Maas’ Album
Koreman’s Album

Sorry!

I am sorry, really I am! I am sorry for not posting a blog for a longer time. After so many of our true followers and all commenters were complaining that there was no real post since long time, I am taking right now the effort to create one.

Ok, now lets be honest. No one, not a singular living human being requested a new post. No living form on earth thought that it would be fun for a new one. How come? Let me think about it. One reason might be jealousy, given the fact that this blog is written from a tropical island somewhere in the Indian Ocean, it might create some feelings of

“ahh they are only doing gratis scenti there and doing nothing but laying on the beautiful white sand beach with really clear blue sea water”

This, for the fact is absolutely true. We do sit a lot on the beach, we do drink a lot seven seas, we do swim in really clear blue water and we do have 1 day a week off. Which is good!

Then perhaps the next reason. No one cares?

Not true.

No one is interested?

Not true.

So what is it then? I absolutely do not know. But hell (or heaven), lets start!

We had some few good weeks, with more discovering of the islands and the nearby islands. We went to Ile aux Cerfs, it is an island in front of the east coast of Mauritius. The west side of the coast is used as a golf course, and the east side is used for relaxed mauritian style barbecuing. We had several visitors which were eager to join, Percy the Sea Urchin, Moony the sea star and Wilhelm the golf player. Only Percy and Moony were allowed.

After the Island, working started again. Now for both everything is sorted out, and we both are now at the stage of drawing up final documents. If you are interested in what we do, you can contact us via our own pages on top of this post. Bas Maas for Bas and Matthijs Koreman for Me (Matthijs).

Last saturday, we went out. Going out without alcohol is wonderful, several advantages are attached to it! You are sober, so not drunk, no hangover, you know exactly what you are doing and you can remember! Remembering what you did is good, is wonderful and a recommendation! So here is what we did, we danced. We danced, danced, danced danced and danced. A lot!

Now our house is in preparation for our parents, we are trying to make it more dirty, more disgusting and we are also trying to wear our underwear’s for more then 4 days in a row, don’t do laundry and don’t brush our teeth. We figured that since our mums didn’t had to take care for us for 3 months, they might be in need for giving some care. So we are not the baddest, and we created some work for them. Bas his parents are arriving coming Saturday the 15th and mine are arriving May 22nd. We are looking forward to it, looking forward to show them what we are doing, how we live here, what we see and eat, with what kind of wonderful people we are going out with and we want to show them this wonderful country and island. Lot of things to do.

Now our adventure for cooking starts again, we are in desperate need for some inspiration, our last call for inspiration gave us (let me count well) 0 comments.

We also got the request of Bas is father to explain about the famous Mauritian rum. It is unexplainable, I suggest you come here around Saturday 15 May :)

alé by!

Welcome back!

The writer has returned, not wrapped in toilet paper like the mummy who returned, but with a little less tan. Turkey was great, that great that I am not going to tell about it. After all, it is a blog about Mauritius. And believe me, Turkey is no where NEAR Mauritius. (12000 km, both ways costed me 20 hours)

I have given up all hopes that Bas will ever write again for this Blog. Guess he is too occupied in the Briyani Saloon. It is his own created heaven in Plain Magnien. (I suggest you all think right now: Doesn’t he have to work?)
Briyani is a dish which wasn’t described in the food-blog. It has good spices with either chicken, beef or lamb + rice.

Bas his assignment is going like a train/plane/boat/goat/car, which is good.

It is getting serious, this blog. Time for some rubbish and good news.

Numero uno.

Bas and me are alone now. No more additional parts to the household. All removed with insecticide (borrowed from the mass murderer)

Queensday! April 30, will be the first time in our lives, that we work at April 30. Wonder how it will be

uwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww I do not know what to write. What to what to what to write.

I think I can tell about the plans ahead for us. Friday is queensday, which basically means getting drunk and drive into people. Saturday we are going to rent a car, and drive around the island again with friends.

Ha, if you read it like this, it sounds like the wrong sequence, should be rent a car and drive into people. Instead of drive into people and rent a car. I am sure they are not going to let you rent a car once you have driven into people. ehh ok, lets continue.

Sunday we are getting into a boat for a tour on the east of the Island. We will end up at Ile aux Cerfe for a barbecue. On the barbecue I hope, lamb, chicken, pork, beef and corn will join us. With some good sauces I can imagine it will be great! Ahrrr writing about food makes me hungry. We both are too lazy now to make some food, and we are also both out of inspiration. So lets make a contest (came up right this moment), put your best recipe in a comment, and you can win a free stay for a week in our bungalow. Transport towards the address is for your own expense. For the room to win, there are two options. We have a single bedroom upstairs with beautiful landscape of the mountains. Or we have a two persons bedroom on the ground-floor with beautiful sight of our neighbors.

Bring in the comments! If it is any good, we will try to make it and make a picture of it.

I think this is it for this time. Not much to tell you about. Bring on the comments please!!

ha, two jokes:

1. Vliegt een duif over een koe, zegt de duif: Roekoe. Zegt de koe: Roeduif.
2. Zit een man op de bus te wachten, zegt de chauffeur: Kom van die bus af.

Untranslatable. I hope we have some dutch readers.

Till our next blog!