"Poorly Planned... Badly Executed"

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Off to Work in the Potassium Mines

Looking over the city from the hotel. As you can see this is the flat part of Kazakhstan and there ain't nothing here but desert!!

Well ok I’m not actually going to be working in Kazakhstan’s, ‘Borat’ famous potassium mines but the next best thing… looking for oil in the Caspian Sea! “It’s veddy nice” but I’m getting ahead of myself so I’ll start at the beginning.

It all started with Eden and me heading for Norway with the basic plan to kayak/work/live happily ever after but I’m sure you’ve all got that bit by now. The hitch however was making all that come together and to throw in some distraction we had been hearing rumours of amazing amounts of holidays and good pay in the oil industry working offshore. I don’t know about you guys but once someone told me that they work two weeks on four… yes that’s right four weeks off there was no way that I could go back to working normal hours.

And so I started applying for jobs with Norwegian companies in the oil industry… turns out that it is not as easy to find a good job in the oil industry as I had hoped. Apparent’ I’m not the only person who thinks two weeks on, four weeks off is a good idea. Anyhow not to be easily put off I stuck at it and wound up working for a seismic survey company who map out oil wells. I’m now a trainee navigator and your not allow to ask me what I do yet because I don’t even know yet but what I do know is that I will be working five weeks on five weeks off… not quite the dream but a jolly good start.

And as for being in Kazakhstan, My new employer has sent me here to learn the art of seismic navigation in the Caspian Sea. Now I bet you’re all wondering what Kazakhstan is really like and to tell the truth I don’t really know yet because I’ve only been here long enough to be driven from the airport to the hotel – an experience on its own. Traffic lights are more of a guideline as apposed to a rule and the same goes for lanes… whether someone is coming the other way or not (ie you don’t need clear road to pass). Oh and other cars can be treated as a salmon course, Mike would love it.

Here is one of the many people who were out sweeping the streets. Apparently there Prime Minster (or someone similar) was coming to visit so everything was being tided up and there were police everywhere which was a little intimidating. When I first got here someone from the company I work for took my passport and gave me a photocopy because the police are far less likely to bother you if they have to talk to someone who knows the system to get your passport. Even having a cell phone helps because you can call someone to help you out... the message I got was simple though - avoid the police, so I was a little nervous taking this photo right in front of them.

No real hiccups so far though. The plane did sit at the gate for two and half hours before we left Amsterdam but it did make it all the way with out crashing so good on ya Air Astana… “Number one airline in all of Kazakhstan

Despite the bleak landscape there is no shortage of colour here... some of the many flags and ribbons flying in the breeze.

Anyhow I’m going to be working on a boat for the next five weeks so there will be not much action here until I’m back in New Zealand for a month of adventure in which I’ll introduce you to the co-creator of MCP – ‘That Guy’. Oh and if I die avenge my death!!!