Wednesday, July 26, 2006

There'll be no sleep in here tonight

Well, I survived the night from hell, even though I went home at sunrise.

I had both planes come back with powerplant faults (the planes are
smart, they will tell you if something is wrong with them, what it is
that is wrong, probably fixes and where to find the repair in the
manual), and it looked like I was in way over my head with one of
them. The other plane, 74, I knew what the fix was, but being on
one guy and the Squirrel Cyril, it looked to be a bad night.

I called Colin and Gus back, and then Claus came in a bit later.
Tanker 73 had a very difficult snag that Colin and Gus had been
working on before, while my plane, 74, had a snag that I knew about
before. So, I went about getting ready to change the PEC (propeller
electronic control) unit, a little computer up in the engine nacelle.
It was pretty straight forward, but required a lot of checks and
rigging after the change.

The boys working on 73 came to realize that their fault was leading
them to one of the PEC's on their plane. But we only had one that we
could install, so my plane got it.

We also had to drain the retardant tank on my plane to try and fix
something on it as well, so I towed the plane to the "pelicandrome"
(that is where they load the retardant) and the guys connected up the
fittings and started the drain. Claus and I spent that time trouble
shooting 73 some more, and did an engine run that proved the cause of the fault was indeed the PEC.

Tanker 73, it was decided, was dead for now. There was nothing that
we could do to make it better, we didn't have the part. So, we
cleaned it all up, and focused on 74.

We got 74 back over to the parking area, and readied it for all the
functions that we had to do. We fired up the engines, and started
running through the tests, but when we got to the Overspeed Governor Test, we had a failure. I was sensing something wrong before that, when the propeller torque was wrong on the one engine that I had worked on. We tried a few things, but the fault wouldn't go away.

So, we went back to the office, and found another procedure, went back out and tried again. Still failed.

Then, going back to the original paperwork, there it was, a procedure
that both Claus and I had missed. (we were both very tired by this
point) We had forgotten to tell the PEC that it was on a different
airplane and that it now had to behave differently. So, more messing
around with the computers, and another engine run. This time, magic. We were both very happy.

Then, came the Power Assurance Run. I think I nearly crapped myself.

The Power Assurance run is approximately 4 minutes long, coarsest
pitch on the props (max thrust) and max power on the throttles. If
you have ever seen the videos of the astronauts during take-off of
the space shuttle, this is what it looked like in the cockpit of our
plane. Everything is shaking like crazy like it is about to blow
apart, Claus and I are standing on the brakes as hard as we can trying to keep the plane from taking off. I am hoping that the brakes don't fail, because we will be launching across the tarmac, probably through Cyril (because he doesn't listen and was parked in the wrong place), through a fence and into the hanger down the road. That would be bad.

Needless say, I was sweating badly from the heat and the nerves; that had to be the longest 4 minutes of my life. But it all went well, and the test finally passed, but what a ride!

After that, we finished all the tests, did a large stack of paperwork
and went home about 6AM. I am still tired from the long night, but
satisfied that we did well. Who knew that fixing airplanes could be
so exciting!

Moving forward to today, I got up around 2PM, after the heat of the day was making me melt. I found Colin, feeling the same way, and we decided to get some bread, pop the cork on the bottle of white that I have upstairs, slice up the cheese and relax on the deck. I find that stopping to enjoy the little things makes the day so much better.

So, there we were, Colin and I enjoying some nice wine, yummy cheese and bread, when we look down from the balcony, and there he is, G-string Guy!

He is in his late 50's, he is NOT attractive, and he is wearing a turquise g-string bathingsuit, that is barely keeping his junk covered.

My eyes burned.

After he left, Colin and I figured that it was safe to go for a swim.

We were wrong.

G-String Guy comes back, with a different g-string swimsuit! It was painful from close up, even the ladies were running for shelter.

Needless to say, he cleared the pool. I almost got a photo to share with everyone, but he left before I was able to get a shot.

After seeing that, I think that Speedo's might not be so bad after all.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Try to catch the sun

I went on my trip today, and yes it was sunny. They get sun for over
300 days a year here, so it is seldom blah. One place that we were,
it was close to 40C!

We started of with a drive to Avignon, the driver, a lady from Taiwan, a couple from Ottawa, and me. We got to know each other, and asalways, people are fascinated by my job. The driver was veryimpressed, fire fighting over here is very important, so much of theirforests are gone because of fire. So, I was feeling a little like the hero that the pilots like to think of themselves. Feels kind of strange.

Anyway, we got to Avignon, and went for a walk on the Pont d'Avignon, or it's proper name, the Benezet Bridge. It was one of the first bridges to be built across the Rhone river, joining the French Empire to the Holy Roman Empire (Provence was one part of the Holy Roman Empire...I learn that today!) but it has been partially knocked down by the river itself about the 13th century (I may have that date wrong). It was originally built by a fisherman who had a vision from
God who told him to build it. On it are two chapels, one that was
Roman in architecture, the other Gothic, one built on top of the
other. The Gothic one was a chapel to protect the fishermen.

After that, we walked up to the Palais du Papes, and actually got to
go inside this time. It is amazing how much money the church spends
on housing one man. There is a lot of restoration going on, and a lot
of frescoes have been destroyed by fire, but it is still an impressive
structure. I kept getting in trouble from the cute staff for trying
to take photos. I managed a few, but there were no signs up, and
others were taking photos. The main reason for the no photo rule is
that the flash damages the ancient paintings and such. I don't use
the flash, but they still stopped me, yet I saw flashed going off
constantly and they never got in trouble.

After we found our way out of the Palais, (it was a bit confusing), we
went for lunch in a little family run seafood restaurant. We had a
nice leisurely lunch, with some yummy fish, salad, a wonderful wine (I must find it!) and desert.

The next stop was Pont du Gard, the worlds largest Roman built
aqueduct. It was incredibly large, and amazingly well built. Two
thousand years old, built with sandstone only, (no cement or mortar),
and still looks like it could stand for another two thousand years. I
was really amazed at the construction, how fine the Romans were at
their building.

Pont du Gard was by far the hottest area that I have seen while over
here in France. 38C+ easily, with no wind. There was a very inviting
river at the bottom, but we didn't bring swim wear and we didn't have
the time. It looks like it would be a really nice place to spend a
hot afternoon playing in the water though.

So, having seen the major attractions, we headed home through the
country, past orchards with peaches, nectarines, cherries and olives.
We past a town that was known for it's olive oil, with old presses on
display on every corner advertising different farms, and countless
fields of olive trees.

The last stop before home was Tarascon and it's fortress castle on theedge of the Rhone. We didn't get far inside, just the courtyard, butwe were told that the rest wasn't worth spending the money on.

One thing of note, we are in a region that the Allies fought to
recover from the Germans in WWII, and a lot of the area has been
damaged from the fighting. On the bridge in Avignon, and on the
fortress in Tarascon, it is very noticeable that there are holes in
the stone from artillery and bullets. It really makes you appreciate
what this region has been through. There have been many wars fought
on this soil.

So, that was my day, it was a nice diversion from sitting at work or
at the apartment all day. Saw some sights, got some sun, ate some
great food, drank some great wine, and had a great visit with some
very nice people.

I don't have my photos up yet, will probably be tomorrow since I don't
want to trust the internet here at the hotel. Better connection at

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

While the days slipped by

Funny story from my co-worker Colin after his trip to see relatives and friends that are here from Canada for le Tour de France and to travel around this part of Europe.

Where he was staying up in St. Saturnin near Luberon, there is a very
nice public pool, and one of his friends decided to go there for a swim.
He got changed, and went out and jumped into the pool to cool off,
only to have the life guard start yelling at him. He didn't know what
the problem was (he's from BC, no French), so he kind of moved to the
shallow area, but the guy still was yelling at him. Finally, he
figured out what it was, he was being told to get out. The life guard
was able to speak a bit of English, and it turns out that he was not
wearing the proper swim wear, because surf shorts aren't allowed, and
he was told that he would only be allowed back in if he was wearing
Speedos! It turns out that it is not considered "sanitary" to wear
anything other than a Speedo, even though the swim shorts are meant
for just that! Even funnier, to be "sanitary", he was told to RENT
some Speedo's!!! Oh ya, that is sanitary! He decided to forget about
going swimming and left instead of going the "sanitary" route of a
rental suit.

I am glad that the pool here at the hotel is private, I would rather suffer in the heat than show up in a Speedo!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A restless eye across a weary room

Rain rain go away, I want to go in the pool. Actually, it isn't the rain that I am worrying about, after all, you would get wet in the rain or the pool either way. It is the rather active lightning storm that seems to rage about 3PM every afternoon of the past week or so. So, probably no pool again tonight.

I just had a phone call from Gus, he tracked me down to the lobby where I am using the internet. He thought that he had tomorrow off work, but it looks like the schedule changed (or he mis-read it) and he had planned to go to Italy with friends that are in town. He has motorcycles rented, and rooms booked, and he was a little freaked out that I wouldn't be able to work for him! Good thing that I hadn't made plans yet for tomorrow. He owes me big time now.

I just booked my flight to Denmark for Megan and Hans' party, I tired last night to book it, but the internet went down when I was in the middle of it and now the price has gone up by $100 CDN. Some times the internet here really pisses me off. Some days, it works great, other days, like yesterday (and today, come to think of it), it goes down every five minutes. I can't understand why they have so much trouble with it? They probably need a new router as it seems that the router is causing the problems, and has been I am told for about 7 months now.

I have found a pamphlet in the hotel lobby that is for tours around Provence in a little bus with English speaking guides. I know that is not the best way to learn French, but at least this way I can actually understand the history, instead of trying to translate everything in my head. Constant translation is tiring when you are struggling to learn the language. I don't have a very good grip on it as of yet, but I am getting better.

Distracted again...

So, the bus tours are for a few hours in the day, and take you to vineyards, castles, chateau's, little towns in the hills, historical places, etc. Perfect for a tourist like me. I wish I had known about this a bit sooner, as they have a Lavender tour, but most of the fields now are no longer in bloom. Maybe next year if I come back, I will be able to see the fields in bloom and take a million or so photos.

I will have to explore their website a bit, to learn a bit more about what I get to see, and then book a trip or two. That is if I can stop working for Gus all the time. Hehe

Sunday, July 16, 2006

All around me golden sunflakes

A lazy Sunday at work.

Fairly slow day, no fires so far. So, Gus and I are trying to keep our selves entertained. We can't do anything to the airplanes while they are on alert, so we are researching motorcycle routes in Italy for Gus and his friends to go riding next week. I really need to get my motorcycle license this year; if I come back here I will want to do some riding.

I am also following the F1 race on my laptop, it is annoying that they don't have streaming video of the race, so I am watching live race info on a timing chart with a bit of written commentary. I guess that it will have to do.

We had one of our pilots come to visit us for an hour or so, and it was nice to just sit and chat about photography, and New York (he is going there in November, so I showed him some of my pictures and told him about a few sights to see). He wants to visit because he gets to practice his English, and I can work a bit on my French. I am not sure of his name, but I think that it is Claude.

Like I said earlier, it has been a slow day, but we did have a bit of excitement, the alarm went off, and most of the Canadairs left the parking area like the world was ending. Two of them actually managed to get off the ground before the alert was cancelled, but it was entertaining to watch all the crews go running out to the planes to get them going. Organized chaos. (this last paragraph is a late edit in the day)

I drove Colin up to meet with his friends last night about an hour and a bit north of Aix, up in the hills near Apt. He is planning on watching some of Le Tour de France today, and I hope they made it. Lots of mountains to play in there. The drive up there was a lot of fun, for me anyway. Claus didn't think so, I think my driving made him nervous. Something about driving very narrow mountain roads, with barely enough room to pass oncoming traffic, with a madman at the wheel. You couldn't go that fast, but 60km felt like 200km in the back of the car. I had fun, and would love to try that in a sports car instead of a little Renault.

But, we made it in one piece, even Claus. We found Colin's friends and the nice little house that they had rented. It was a nicely restored old home in a little mountain town with staircases everywhere, low ceilings, and neat little rooms and courtyards. It would be easy to get lost in there, and difficult to navigate while drunk (I wouldn't know, I was driving). We stayed for a short visit, but since I had to work, and Claus had a headache, we left for home. We took a slightly different route home and found one of the things that I was hoping to see.


It wasn't still in bloom, but the smell was amazing! And it was a bit too dark to take any really good photos, but I took a few just for proof. Claus grabbed a handful to make the car smell nice, and we headed off again, only to find a few more fields. It is really too bad that we missed them on the way up, I would have liked to get some more photos in better light.

Coming home, I missed the turn off, and ended up going slightly the wrong direction. We had driven too far by that time to turn around, but it was kind of in the right direction, so we kept going. Got to see a few more neat little French towns before getting home.

Oh, and I was asked yesterday if I want to come back here next summer...and stay for a year. I don't know if I would be up to a year here, but I am thinking about it. It would depend on a lot of things, like who will be working here still next year, (most of the guys contracts will be up at the end of next summer), wages, and a few other things back home. It would be an interesting opportunity, but I will have to think about it for a while and see.

I am sure that Bonnie would kill me if I left for a year...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Cheerfully out of obscurity into the dream

It has been three weeks now that I have been in France, although it seems much much longer, and I have come up with a few things that I have notice so far in my stay here.

First off, I must say that the women in France are beautiful. Young women, middle aged women, and old women, they all are beautiful. It seems that even if they aren’t beautiful naturally, they try to look good with their clothing and make-up, and must succeed. There are of course exceptions to that statement, but in general, they have North
American women beat. I find that women in North America in general, don’t try to look good when they are out; they think jogging clothing is good enough. Here, even going grocery shopping, you won’t find anyone where baggy sweat pants.

Here’s one for the French Canadian’s…what is written on stop signs in France?

Stop, of course.

On the topic of driving, I am starting to really enjoy driving over here. You won’t find giant SUV’s driven by moron’s yakking on their cell phones while watching the latest music video on the DVD player in the dash. Driving is taken seriously, and people actually learn to drive properly. They may seem crazy and erratic by North American standards, but to me they are driving cars like they are meant to be driven. And the highways are much better in quality and they seem to lead to where you need to go. I am so going to hate driving back home after this.

The weather. What can I say? It is currently 38C outside in the sun, and only one morning with a good rain storm. (Lightning so close you could feel the static in the air) And the sunsets out at the airport are amazing! I bring my camera, but if I were to take photos of all the sunsets, I wouldn’t get any work done! The heat does make for exhausting work when you are busy in it, but it also makes the swimming pool feel that much better!

Oops! Almost forgot to mention the food! First I think it is funny how all my years of bi-lingualism in Canada prepared me for grocery shopping in France. I can read most of the labels!!! Thank you Government of Canada! Next I want to mention the quality of eating out. When you go to a restaurant and the waiter actually cares about what he is doing, and does his best to make sure that your meal is going to be the best that you have ever eaten, you know you have something good going on. Any of the decent restaurants that I have been to have been superb, and you walk away feeling like you got your money’s worth and then some. And the desserts! I have been so good, and haven’t had much of the French pastries, but it has been hard to say no. The few that I have had where amazing! The best was at a restaurant at the local casino, some cake with a peach that had been soaked (skinless) in raspberry coulees (I probably spelled that wrong), then served with fresh strawberries and raspberry coulees drizzled over it. Incredible is not enough to describe it!

There are of course things that are not as nice here. I have found that the French are dirty people. Not themselves, but their environment. Garbage everywhere! Driving down the road, there is garbage all over the place, people throwing stuff out of their cars, people dropping trash on the sidewalk, and just general filth. Even the guys I work with, who are from this area but have seen other parts of the world, complain about the filth. This is such a beautiful area, with amazing old architecture, and history, marred by common filth and lack of respect for their own world.

And speaking of architecture, I am in photography heaven! I go out for three hours and fire off 50-100 photos, and really haven’t seen anything interesting! I could spend forever photographing the old churches and cathedrals, the old narrow streets and all the little stone sculptures everywhere. And it may seem odd, but I have taken a fascination to photographing the old doors and doorways in some of the older areas of town. But then again, I am a bit odd already.

There are a few things that I will want to be doing in the next little while. I want to go back to Marseille and go and see the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde, and the other giant cathedral that is near the waterfront. I want to go back to Avignon to see the Palais de le Pope (that could easily be a few hundred photos), and I want to go in search of lavender fields. The lavender fields are in bloom right now and from photos and paintings that I have seen, it is definitely something that I must see. The photographer in me says “Go!” I might try and convince Colin that he wants to go looking for them tonight after he gets home. If not, I will try and get up early tomorrow, do my laundry and then take the car and see if I can find them before Claus has to go to work.

I just had a thought; I need to get some photos of the guys that I work with so that I can let everyone see them (so you can put faces to names). I would also like a record of being at work here and the people that I have spent my time with.

I think that is enough rambling for one day. I might sneak off to the lobby later to sit in some air conditioning (yup, I must be Canadian, still prefer the cold), and write some post cards. Then, it will be pool time. The sun won’t be so direct and I will be able to spend a bit more time in the water.

Hope you are all doing well, and enjoying your summer. Take care!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Swaying in the ripples and the reeds

So I am sitting here in the hotel lobby, when in walks Colin and Chris (Chris is our stores guy). I say hi,and Colin hands me my official work permit. So, finally, I am allowed to be working here (I was sort of allowed, but didn't have the paper). Now as long as I don't put this one through the wash like I did the photo copy, I will be okay. =)

I got to sleep in my new room last night, and I am very happy to say that the bed is so much more comfortable. I still didn't sleep well though, there was some drunk guy on one of the balconies last night playing opera loudly for half the night with the occasional sing-a-long. I think I fell asleep around 4:30AM.

Today is the my first day off of my weekend, but I have to work tomorrow for Gus so that he can go to Montreal to figure out some paperwork so that he can stay here. So, no big trips this time, maybe I will find something to do, like a walk into Aix for lunch or something. My next week of work will be day shift, so I can foresee a lot of sitting around waiting for the planes to either fly or come back. We are not allowed to do much while the planes are on alert, other than fuel the planes and maybe was the retardant off the empenage and belly.

Colin asked me if I would like to go for a bike ride tonight, since Adams wife arrived today, and I think that Adam won't be going anywhere for a few days. There is a dam nearby that I would like to try and ride to, but I think that Colin would like to stick to his usual route. We will have to see.

Oh ya, almost forgot...

France lost last night, it was a very sad time for the French that I know. Some very unhappy people here, their faces looked so down, like they had just had their entire family buried in a landslide. The atmosphere here in France has been positively electricgrowing dayly as they progressed through the tournament, and coming so close to World cup victory, it was almost explosive. Even I am feeling a bit down from it, and I wasn't even cheering for the French team. Maybe in four years in South Africa, the French will come back and win again.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Glowing slightly from his toes

w00t!! I moved into a bigger room today!

After about a month stuck in a studio apartment, where I needed to go outside to change my mind, I finally got a nice big apartment, with lots of cupboard space and an actual bedroom with a big bed! I haven't even had a chance to unpack yet, I dropped my stuff of and left for work. It is still looking towards the pool, so when the noisy people go out on the patio all night, I will still hear them.

Actually, I might not be hearing the noisy ones again, I spoke with the hotel management, and told them of the problem. After coming home at 3AM, and finding a very loud party going on on the deck on Friday night, I had had enough. I yelled at them at 4AM afer I had gone to bed, then someone else yelled at them. At 4:30AM, they still hadn't taken the hint (I yell at them almost everynight, you would think that they would learn), and I got really pissed off and told them to go to bed, some of us have to work. So, the manager actually talked to them, and told them that they would be asked to leave if they continued to be a pain in the ass. Hopefully they will listen this time.

So, Gus and I are at work tonight, my Friday, and Gus' Wednesday. It will be a quiet one, since France and Italy are playing the final game of the World Cup tonight, and I am sure that the pilots and ground crews will want to be home to watch France win (they better win, I have money on this game too).

I will be getting an extra day of work this week, Gus has to fly back to Montreal to figure out some visa requirements. So, I will be covering his shift with Claus. That ought to be fun, snice neither of us speak much French.

I don't know what I will be doing while I have a couple of days off. Probably explore Aix, maybe go back to Marseille or Avignon to finish looking at things there. Or maybe hang out at the pool for a bit, watch all the bikini's =).

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Woke up to the sound of thunder

How far off I sat and wondered?

Appropriate lines from a great song by Bob Seager to discribe this morning. We had a big storm roll through Aix today, with lots of thunder and lightning, and even more rain. It woke me and most other people I know up from our sleep. I had a small lake forming inside the patio doors, and a nice cool breeze blowing into the apartment.

Later in the day, I was talking to Colin, and he was saying that he and Adam were driving to work in the storm, and they had lightning strike the field about 50 meters from the highway! They looked back and saw a smouldering hole in the ground where it hit. Too close if you ask me.

And I have finally finished uploading all my photos, I have figured out to log in with my laptop, which should make my life a bit happier. (I also changed my Flickr badge on this page to show my France photos instead of New York) So, stop reading this and go look at them!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The echo of a distant time

Mary and I went to Marseille yesterday, Gus was supposed to come with us, but he worked a very long night and was too tired to function, so we left him to sleep, and went on our little adventure.

The best part was that we had a car, so we didn't have to worry about getting lost changing buses, and walking in bad areas. There are areas of Marseille that are not nice areas to walk through, there is a lot of poverty with immigrants in the city, and there are stories of some bad things happening. I really didn't want to have bad stuff happen to us, so having a car made life better.

We started late because of waiting for Gus to come along, but we made good time into the city (it is only about 20-30 minutes away), and after a bit of a search and driving through some very narrow streets, we found parking. Or first stop was to le Abbaye Saint-Victor, which is a very ancient church near the Vieux Port (Old Port). This church has it history dating back about 1200 years, to when it was a rock quarry that they started to bury the dead in. Over the years, it was a crypt, a basilica, and finally a church. Other than the amazingly old architecture, the cool part was going down into the crypt, where you can see some of the old tombs, and how before it was Christian, it was a Pagan burial area. There are parts where you can see that the ancient structure was buried and built upon by the newer structures. It is very hard to feel as overwhelmed by history as I was back home in Vancouver.

Our next place to visit was a boat ride out to Chateau d'If, the island Fort/Prison made famous by the book, and movies, of the Count of Monte Cristo. The fort is undergoing restoration, so a lot of the old stone has been repaired, and the lower cells are not open for the tourists, but all the upper, "nicer" cells are available to visit. It was interesting to find that if you had a bit of money, you could "rent" a nicer cell, the had some extra room, a window and even a fire place. Something else I found fascinating was the carvings completed by the prisoners in the sandstone walls the prison was made of. In the main court yard and in some the cells, an individual stone would be carved with words, or pictures by one of the prisoners, and in the end there were quite a few of them making for some very historic art in the prison walls.

After the boat ride back, we were going to the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, which is the basilica at the highest point in Marseille, but we were getting tired and needed to get back to Aix to meet Gus for dinner. So we wandered around a bit more, found another church to look into, another amazing fountain in the middle of a round-about, a bunch of very narrow little streets outside the tourist area, and finally our car.

After we drove home through rush hour traffic (I did very well, sort of missed most of it by finding a tunnel out of the city), we each had a quick shower and went to one of the restaurants at the local casino. This is a little seafood place that Gus and Mary go to often, and have gotten to know the staff really well. The food was amazing, and I blew my entire perdiem for the day on dinner. I got to practice my French with the waiter (he was a lot of fun), and we even got a free bottle of ice wine for dessert (wine is cheap over here, drink it like water hehe).

So, I had a busy day, came home and spent hours trying to get my photos uploaded, then went to bed and tried to get a bit of sleep with the noisy Austrians partying all night.

Today is my last day off of this weekend, then off to work again for four days. I am trying to get my photos online as fast as the slow wi-fi will let me. Keep checking, they will probably keep updating.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Settle in your seat and dim the lights

Ahhh, what a stressful day…not!

Day two of my four day weekend, and it is another day of suffering in the sun. Colin and I got up reasonably early and walked into old Aix en Provence for lunch and some sight seeing. I am guessing that Aix (pronounce “X”) is probably many hundreds of years old and the architecture proves it. Narrow winding streets, buildings all joined together, little squares with cafés everywhere, and shops as far as the eye can see. There are some lovely fountains as well, and every square has at least one. I would think that at one time they were the source of drinking water for the people in the town, but now they are just lovely works of art.

We stopped for lunch in a small sidewalk café in a small square near the Cathedrale St-Sauveur Cloitre and had what I would like to think is a “French” lunch, where you sit and listen to the annoying street musicians in a small square surrounded by smokers and have annoying kids pester you. Actually, it was a wonderfully relaxing lunch, and the coffee was superb!

Although I took my camera, it was secondary to just looking today. I think in the future, I will have to go and spend a few hours just taking photos. I could easily fill my 1 gig memory card in a few hours!

I think that I might get a chance to try that tomorrow, as Gus, Mary and I will be going into Marseille for the day. Mary and I were going to go today, but Gus wanted to go and I would rather have him with us, to make it more fun. We are thinking of going to see Chateau D’if, and Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde if we have time. If not, I am sure that there will be lots to see there. None of have been before, so it will be a bit of an adventure.

Well, the rest of today was spent by the pool, till I started to get a bit red, then time to come indoors and do some chores. Not sure what I have planned for this evening, but for Wednesday evening, I might join Colin to go and see the Berlin Philharmonic Symphony do a free show in a local park. This is mostly so that Colin can brag to his daughters that he has seen them, and they haven’t (they are both very accomplished musicians, both playing piano and violin), but I am sure that it will be an enjoyable evening.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Is something eluding you sunshine?

Ugh, stupid plane.

For two nights now, we have had a problem with the bomb tank on one of our airplanes, and it doesn't want to go away. We have now changed almost all the valves, switches, sensors and controllers, to no avail. It still doesn't want to work. It has been 13 hour nights of go go go, and we are bagged. For me, it is a day off. For Gus, he just left to go and try again. The hard part is the pressure from the boss, he doesn't like to here that it is not flying, because it is costing us money.

The joy of working fire season. The plane usually is not a problem, we have the proper manuals for it, but the tank was built for us and doesn't have proper manuals, parts lists or troubleshooting guides. And being that it is a weekend, getting help from home is very difficult because no one is at work.

The other plane, fortunately, has been trouble free, so there has been a bit less work to do on that one. I have let Gus and Balbir look after the tank, while I did the daily stuff on the other one. Even still, it has made for long nights.

But now it is my 4 days off, and I am going to go visit Marseille for the day tomorrow. I have asked Gus' girlfriend if she would like to go along, since she isn't working and is kinda stuck in the apartment day in and day out. There is a big church, more of a monastery/cathedral up on the hill above the city that I want to see and there is Chateau D'if that was a prison out on an island in the harbor. If you have seen the Count of Montecristo, you have seen Chateau D'if.

Not much else going on, other than I am tired and will probably be in bed somewhat early tonight. Being stuck on afternoons most of the summer will take it's toll I am sure.