Saturday, 26 March 2011

Air, Sea & Land

It's been a very busy week - on Sunday and Monday I travelled down to Perth for the Tuesday morning meeting at Eni, which I followed by a couple of other business meetings and a late night reporting my activity. On Wednesday I had to go to the airport early to make sure two crew members who were travelling out to the Saipem 10K made their check-ins, and then I had to hang around for my own flight to Karratha. From Karratha I flew to the 10K where I spent the night so that I could get a review of Geolog's service, as well as conduct an audit and review my own crew (Mark says "Hello dad"). Then it was back to Perth on Thursday night, and on Friday a follow-up meeting at the Eni office, with a meeting with our consultant immediately after. Afterwards I had to head straight to the airport to catch my flight to Bali and make a tight connection to Jogjakarta so that I could enjoy a long weekend in Magelang with family and friends. Which is where I am now. I'm exhausted so it's lucky we are at a really plush hotel on the bank of a beautiful river.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Happy Birthday To Me

Today marks the 10th anniversary of my 29th birthday, and is the first birthday I've celebrated outside of the UK since I turned 14 (unless you count my 28th which I spent on a rig in the Danish sector of the North Sea, which I don't).

On Saturday Rae pulled out all the stops to plan a great day out. It started with a lie-in when Rae got up at 7am with Oscar. I got up 30 mins later to have a cup of coffee, only to find she'd snuck into his bed while he was watching telly and fell asleep. I left her there until 830 and played with Oscar.

Then at 10 we went up to one of the malls to get some DVDs - Spartacus (Blood & Sand and Gods of the Arena), King's Speech, Tron: Legacy plus a stack of kids Tv shows for my mini-me. We were back at home for 12, and after a quick hotdog lunch (which I've been looking forward to for a week) Brent picked me up for a massage at Majesty, just down the road.

An hour and a half of traditional massage saw me relaxed and oiled up ready for the next phase: go karting! Yes, Balikpapan has a go karting track, and it is a well kept secret. We arrived at 3pm and waited for the group before us to finish up. By the time they were done at 3:30 all the guests Rae had invited - Brent and Arlene, Adam and Danielle (plus 3), Lee and Danielle with Brooke, Karl and Tonya (and William), Angela with Paige (Dave was offshore), Lucien/Tamzin/Mattias, Graeme and Susan and the Weiss clan (Adrian, Antonia and their 4 sprogs - had all arrived. The dads took the kids on a slow couple of laps so that they could get it out of their system early (this worked on all of them except for Oscar) before conducting the first qualifier (Brent, Lucien, Graeme and Lee), with Brent and Lee winning. A stewards inquiry was held after it was claimed that one of the cars was more powerful so we decided to draw lots for subsequent races. Some of the ladies had a go after that, with a few mums taking the more nervous kiddies for a couple of very slow laps.

Then we all chipped in and had our drivers race each other. That was probably the most highly cheered race of the day, with us expats shouting loudly for our own drivers and hooting those who had crashes.

The next qualifier was between myself, Adam, Karl and Adrian with Adam and I being the winners. We decided to have a rest at this point and let the older kids (Claudia and Alec) have a go. Oscar was having none of it so I popped him in my lap and belted round the track for 5 minutes, with him shouting "Daddy we go fast!" and "We in the lead" as loud as he could. He was loving it, and I can't wait for him to be old enough to take himself out on a go kart.

The final race saw the top 4 fastest drivers from the qualifiers (Brent, Lee, Lucian and myself) facing off. Brent drew the fastest car again (lucky #5), with Lee in the second fastest, myself in the one that had a strange sound coming from the engine, and Lucien in the nag. At the start line Brent and Lee held pole position, but they weren't concentrating on the flag so I managed to nip ahead of them on the first corner and gain an early lead. While Brent and Lee were busy battling it out they weren't paying attention to me so I carried on putting distance between us while poor Lucien was stuck pootling along like a granny on Sunday. I wondered if the boys were letting the Birthday Boy win, but Arlene and Rae assured me that the competition going on a quarter of a lap behind me proved that no-one was going to let me have an easy victory. Luckily for me I held on to first and crossed the line, though Lee had slowly chipped away at the distance between us.

The session ended just after 530pm and everyone dashed home for showers and a change before meeting up at Bombay Curry House at 7ish, where we all put in for a lavish spread. Adam and Danielle produced a bottle of white Chardonnay for me, and Lee and Danielle had a busty red. Considering the price of wine in Balikpapan ($30 for something you'd pay $10 at home) these were probably the most expensive presents I'd ever been given!

The day wound down at gone 11pm when the kids were too tired and fractious to keep up, and we all said goodbye to each other. Plans were made for the next day but they all fell through because there were hangovers to be nursed and hyper children to be contained, so each family opted for a quite day at home. Rae, Oscar and I popped over to the pool for an hour before a deluge sent us scuttling off home.

All in all it was a tip-top day, and thanks go out to all who attended - particularly my wife and son who put a great deal of effort into organising it.