Tuesday, 24 January 2006

Time to go

I informed my Saudi Supervisor this week that I will be leaving in a little over 90 days, on April 30. That is a Sunday, but I doubt I will be able to get a flight until the following Wednesday.

His response was that maybe I might want to stay longer (typical head in the sand attitude). I did suggest that I might consider coming back during the winter for 3/4 months, but this fell on deaf ears.

Chief Fahad Shiranni is a really nice guy as is Chief Turaig, both a bit out of their depth but very pleasant chaps none the less. I don't believe one of them has a military bone in their body. I will miss some of the guys I have worked with over the past three years, but only some. One Saudi, Sultan, disappeared after Haj 2004 and never returned. He told one American that he was going to Iraq 'to kill American soldiers'. I can only hope that he ended his squalid little life in a hail of American bullets.

There is a general malaise in the Saudi Air Force, they want a real Airforce but are not prepared to put in anywhere near enough money. And the calibre of the 'technicians' is to say the least zero. At best it is a circus, at worst a scathing indictment of the Arabs failure to be a part of the modern world.

The many Mohamed's and Abdullahs I have worked with are in essence really nice people but unfortunately most will never be technicians as long as they have a 1500 old ideology as their life support system. They are really not technical people.

I have tried to impress on them that the prime purpose of our job is the generation of aeroplanes to meet the flying task, but breakfast comes first, even if there is an aeroplane waiting for a part with engines running.

Saud's have no concept of urgency, Inshallah, which means 'if god wills it' is used by them to say 'If I can be bothered'. If you ask them to do something that is quite within their limits and they fail to complete, it is not their fault, Allah did not will it. Unfortunately our American managers don't see it this way. If it isn't done it's my fault!

We are scaled for 9 contractors I am the only one left, the other two being on vacation and working elsewhere, yet I am still expected to ensure that everything that should be done is done. The thirty or so Saudi military service men do only just enough to warrant the journey to work every day. For many that means tea and talk for the whole day. Those that do work do one job per day, some do more, I have to be involved in every job they do as well as a half a dozen or more jobs of my own. They fail to understand why I spend most of my working day stressed out. It's alright for them they have a job for life. The continuance of my employment, or any contractor for that matter, is dependent on the ability to keep smiling at people you would much rather punch on the nose.

The Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) is little more than a welfare system, but unfortunately their bosses fail to realise this. The King decreed that because aviation and engineering were in the main written in English, the boys would spend two years learning English before ever seeing an aeroplane. Lot of good that did. Saudis know best. Most conversations are in arabic, much to my annoyance. Of course this leaves me out of the loop when discussing things engineering.

Roll on May, I will be back in the land of competence. Suicide is painless, but retirement is much more preferable.

Monday, 23 January 2006

Can you believe this

This is an email sent from the Program Director to the Technical Director of the company I work for in Saudi Arabia. (they can't even spell my name right after three years, should be Stephen Russell)

I forgot to tell you, Steven Russel is scheduled for vacation on the 30th of this month, no Iqama, he sent a memo to HR, A2 and I both read it, and the only thing A2 could understand is why the workforce blames HR for everything and not the particular section, ie. gov. rel. (I know, I know, I spent the next 45 minutes trying to explain to him the HR stands for Human Relations and anything that effects the guys is belonging to HR. And that nobody gives a shit why or who, just that they got the shaft)
Anyway, we did vote it the most original and entertaining memo on Iqamas , so his is getting funded and done so he can go out on vacation as scheduled.
It pays to be literate. Not fair, but it does keep us amused.

This is American management at it's best.

Friday, 20 January 2006

Closer and closer

The steel is on its way. The baseplates were waiting to be pickled and oiled.
Should start next week. Soon will have links to pics.
EDIT: Start 1 February?
EDIT: Well the steel arrived!

Saturday, 7 January 2006


As the time get nearer I have something that says the boat is coming.
Its all uphill from here.
(yes I know)

Tuesday, 3 January 2006

Mirfield to Maffi

I received today an email from Gary (Sales) at Ledgard Bridge. Keith (Production) will be in touch soon with a few tweaks to make and steel payment details and the elusive 'contract'.