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Haunted House

A Trip to Oman 1987

Soekarno's Platinum


The VISA run to Tawau Malaysia from Tarakan Indonesia (1998)

In April 1998 Glenn and I found ourselves with a problem that comes up frequently when working as an Expat overseas,  known as the visa run. The visa run is a trip out of the country for 1 or 2 days then straight back to the country of origin to lengthen a visa or immigration  permit.

Actually, I had nearly forgotten about it until Glenn or Production Manager came out to tell me while I was at our field location on sunny and swampy Bangkudulis Island.

I was half way up the main road listening to another excuse from my foreman as to why the excavator (PC200) was sunk up to the cab, when I saw Glenn walking up the roadway with a litter bottle of water in one hand and a towel in the other wiping the sweat from his forehead. Glenn is a large brother at 6' 4" and 260 lbs, in fact we are more or less about the same size.

"John! we need to get back to Tarakan, we have do a visa run to Tawau." I gave some final instructions to get the excavator out of the muck before I get back in 2 days time. With an admonishment not to get the other excavator stuck. We walked back the 0.5 mile back to the base camp. After making sure that there was enough equipment and supplies to last for the duration of our departure. We got into the 2 X 40 Hp open crew boat, for the 1 hour ride back to Tarakan. This ride could be as long as 2 hours if the river was choppy. At 16' the boat did not handle 1 meter swells in the river at all well.

We immediately called the ferry service to Tawau 100 km distant but, (as usual when you really need something) the ferry had broke down and was under repair for the next week. So we contacted our supplier on Tarakan and asked if he had a boat that could get us up to Tawau. He did have a boat. It was a 2 seat 12' boat (These are used as local water taxis and have 40 Hp engines). I told him it would take 5 hours in a regular taxi not to mention the danger of being in such a small boat in the ocean. He then said, "No problem, this boat has a 200Hp engine, drinks fuel like a pig, but it is fast." He was right! The boat did 80 km to 100 km on smooth water. There was a catch, we would have to drive the boat ourselves.

Since there was no ferry or flight to Tawau we were left with little choice. The next morning we took off for Tawau. Well not quite. The boat was not licensed to cross the boarder into Malaysia. So we had to go to the International crossing point at Nunukan Kal-Tim (East Borneo). We brought lots of water with us, and not much else. I drove most of the way up and back. The only unnerving part of the trip was when we had to go out into the open ocean to go around a sand bar which extends several miles out to sea.  As we did not have a compass, we just had to keep the faith that we were heading in the correct direction.

The next morning we went down to a public pier in Tarakan which was surrounded by houses of every description. With children running up saying "Mister John Mister Glenn where are you going?" and an reminder of "don't forget to bring back some gifts!" Our reply was the usual Ok, Ok sure, sure no problem. Its not that the local people really care about where you are going, its just a way of saying hello. After 400 meter walk from the roadway, we found our little boat ready to go. We climb slowly into the boat, with the adjustment of our sunglasses we were ready to go. After quick wave of the hand to those left standing at the pier we headed out to Tarakan Bay around the north of the Tarakan island toward Bunyu Island then north to Malaysia. Generally we would have gone around the southern tip of Tarakan Island but the water is calmer around the north. Having been around the island a few hundred times I was aware of all the potential water hazards. The boat was running great and the water was smooth, so we took our speed up to 60 mph.

Zipping past fishing boats, after 90 minutes we saw Sebatik Island and came around to Nunukan. We were lucky, we had fairly calm water all the way up. The was no awning  for our boat so we were in the sunshine all the way up and back. We got into Nunukan about 08:30 am. Then spent the next hour explaining to immigration as to why we did not leave directly from Tarakan. They made a noble effort to extract some financial compensation for there trouble, but I told them to call our good friend the head of immigration in Tarakan. After that call was made, the attitude changed from "Well this is really going to cost you." to "If there is anything we can do for you Mr. John or Mr. Glenn just let us know, we well help you anyway we can!"

After clearing immigration we then got on the boat from Nunukan to Tawau which ironically is so slow it takes 2 hours (The same time if we went from Tarakan direct to Tawau) for a trip we could have made in our little boat in 20 minutes.

We finally arrive in Tawau around noon, check in to the hotel and straight to the Indonesian Consulate. Which of course was closed. We were able to sit down with our good friend the Consul General and promptly invited Glenn and myself out to dinner. Tawau may not have much, but it does have some fine Chinese seafood restaurants. These are open air right on the waterfront. After kilos of lobster and liters of beer, and do to the fact that Tawau does not have much of a night life, we called it a night.

The next day we got our visas with no problem and headed straight back to Nunukan. This time we were ushered through immigration with no problem. Got our boat refueled which with a 300 liter capacity turned out to be a gas tank with an engine. We headed back to Tarakan.

On the tide was going out as we passed over this sand bar which runs 7 miles out to sea and 15 miles wide. As we were crossing we were kicking up mud and sand with our engine. The water could not have been more than 1 meter deep, and we were cruising along at 50 to 60 mph. We had to get across the bar before we ran out of water. If we got stuck on the bar, we would be there until late in the evening. No place to be at night and without lights.

We made it, just barely. We arrive in Tarakan about 4:00 pm. It was an interesting trip, now I just take the large ferry only $15.00 from Tarakan to Tawau and take only 3 hours. A few months later I sunk this boat on Bangkudulis Island by hitting a log on the river at 40 mph, but that is another story.

The haunted house of Cilandak.

In 1985 while my ex-wife (Maria) was still my future wife. We moved to a house opposite a mosque in Cilandak South Jakarta. The house had 4 bedrooms, 3 downstairs and 1 upstairs. The inside of the house just past the front room was an open area with a little cement pond/water fountain. Rooms were dark and gloomy, lacking in good paint and light.

After we had moved in we had moved in, street vendors would sometimes stop and ask, "Are you having any problems there?" We answered sincerely "No." But after the first couple of weeks strange things started happening.

A key in a lock on a closet door would break off. We started out with 4 keys to this lock. The first 2 keys broke just after inserting them into the lock. On the third key, we just left in the lock. The key broke off without being touched, and appeared to have been cut, melted by heat.

This closet could be accessed on two sides. The opposite side was permanently locked. As it was kind of a walk in closet with a marble floor. We used it as a place to put our shoes, which we put neatly against the wall. When we awoke in the morning a different pair of shoes would have been moved to the center of the closet floor. Once there was also a puddle of brown water with my dress shoes again in the center of the closet. It had not rained the night before and we were unable to ascertain where the water came from.

Laying in bed at night, you could hear people speaking from the area of the fountain, but could never make out what they were saying. If you walk into the area of the fountain it felt like you walk into the board meeting AT&T, everyone stops talking and looks at you. Even though no one could be seen.

Nina, Maria younger sister came downstairs in a frantic manner 11:00 am in the morning and said, "I was held down on the bed by something on my stomach and arms and could not move for 10 minutes."

Nina's friend Mike Newton (Mike died a couple of years after this in skydiving accident) and I were looking at a fan sitting on the floor. It was not on, but was slowly moving across the floor. As it just about 9:00 pm, we thought it was an excellent time to go out and have a beer.

Maria and I also had a couple of dogs at our house. In the back of the house was a little alley between the house and the back wall. It was impossible to bring either dog back to that alleyway. They would not go near it.

A few days after these events, Maria woke up and was sick. She went to the bathroom sink and vomited up a little ball which opened itself up into a "Lipan" (small poisonous centipede) about 1.5 inch long. Usually these Lipan are black on the bottom, as they run around in the dirt. This one had never seen dirt and was white as paper underneath and green on top.

As this point Maria and I made a visit to the local shaman who said, "There are 5 spirits in your house, 4 minor and 1 major spirit. If you do not want to be bothered by the spirits, you must sleep on the floor, and make a offering of food and batik. The "Lipan" was sent by an enemy of yours, do as I have said and you will not be bothered again." We did as the shaman instructed, but still had problems of things being moved around.

But at least Maria did not vomit up any more Lipan. At about this time my car keys when missing. I told the spirits or anyone who was listening that "If you do not stop the harassment, that I will burn the house to the ground and you can haunt outside." They seem to take my threat seriously, and got quite after that. You could still smell flowers in the back alleyway, but otherwise there was not much going on.

After a couple of months our next door neighbor had  told us that the previous resident had hung himself in the back alleyway. After 6 months we finely had enough money to move, and this time we made sure that there were no surprises.

A trip to Oman Dec 1987 - Jan 1988

At 11:00 am I had just arrived in the Dowell Schlumberger office in Singapore on 10 Anson Rd. I had just returned from 3 week well kill project on a Shell Oil platform  located offshore Miri Malaysia.

I thought I would be heading back to Indonesia for my month off, but I was wrong. As I walked into the office the receptionist said; "The GM wants to see you." I walk to his office located at the back of the building, and knocked on the door. He said; "Come in." I said; "I am back." The GM then tells me that I am needed in Oman. I said; "Why?" I was told that he did not know, but I was needed in Oman and the flight left at 7:00 pm this evening. I handed him my expenses and asked him to approve these, as I had to send some money back to my future Ex-wife Maria to take care of the house.

With my expenses approved, and wire transfers made I was ready to go. The GM's secretary handed my KLM ticket Singapore, Karachi, Muscat. I asked whom am I suppose to me. She said; "I don't know, you are to go to the Holiday Inn in Muscat. I thanked her and headed out to the airport.

The Singapore airport is probably one of the best in the world, very efficient. I had lots of time to eat, look for a couple of novels. It always a good idea to bring reading  material, as oil field work involves lots of waiting. I got my coach seat buy the door, so I could stretch my legs out, and settled in for the 8 hour trip.

After a one hour stopover in Karachi Pakistan we arrived at the Muscat Airport at around 11:30 pm. I went through immigration and pick up my bags, may my way through customs and to a taxi to the Holiday Inn. At 12:30 am I was the only one at reception. The clerk asked me; "Are you Mr. John Hess." I replied, "Yes." The clerk suspiciously look around the room handed me an envelope and said; "This was left for you." I took the envelop thanked him and headed up to my room.

I opened the envelop and there was a ticket Muscat to Marmul, departing at 8:00 am in the morning. There was nothing else. After requesting my wake up call I tried to get a few hours sleep before I had to head back out to the airport.

The flight took off as scheduled a vintage DC3 and we made 2 stops before arriving in Marmul. During the trip, I sat next to the window looking out at the vast desert. Very few roads and lots of nothing.

The airport in Marmul is small one room building. I got off the plane with 4 or 5 other passengers, which promptly left the facility. There was no one to meet me. I noticed a Bedouin in a red Toyota pick-up, and said; Asalamalakum (A greeting good anywhere in the Islamic world) and asked him if new where Dowell Schlumberger is? He gave me a uncomprehending look, I then said; "Shell Oil?" He smiled and beckoned me to come in.

He gave me a ride to the Shell Oil office, I thanked him and headed in the office. I was greeted by s short man who had the look of an accountant. He told me that the Dowell Schlumberger offices where located just a couple of blocks away. I walked in to the office and the District Manager introduced himself, and said in typical oilfield nonchalance, "I thought you were arriving tomorrow." I was taken over to the porta camp and assigned a room. When I got in I noticed a heater, and I was thinking to myself, 'What the hell is a heater needed for? It must be 100oF outside!' I found out later that night.

Thinking that the desert was a hot place, and coming from a tropical country. Had not think to bring any warm clothes. Yes, it's hot during the day, but temperature would drop to the lower 40o'sF at night. Oh, that's what the heater is for! I ended up buying a sweater, to keep from freezing while working at night.

It was an interesting group working in Oman. No one engineer was from the same country. There were 10 Expat engineers from 10 different countries. The common language of the oilfield was used 'English.' The only persons in the company that could not speak English, were the company cooks, they spoke Hindi. This made for some interesting meals.

At breakfast, if you ordered eggs you may get just toast. If you ordered toast, you may get cereal. If you ordered cereal you may get an omelet. After a couple of days I realized it did not matter what you said, the cooks would just smile and fix whatever they thought you wanted, whether you wanted it or not.

Getting use to working with another culture is not always easy. I needed a helper to move some equipment to the truck and I asked one of the local employees to give me a hand. He said, "I can't help you, I am a driver." the next guy said, "I can't help you I am a welder." Next, "I can't help you, I am a mechanic." The last person told me, "Yes, I can help you I am a helper." I finally got the truck loaded. The next day, I needed a piece of equipment welded so I asked the welder, I was told, "Yes, I am a welder, but the doctor told me not to weld for 2 weeks." he then produced a note. But he was at diligent, even though he could not work he showed up everyday to at least socialize, which was apparently at least as important as work.

The work location was about 400 miles (8 - 9 hour drive) east  near the boarder of Saudi Arabia in the "Empty Quarter." The Empty Quarter is aptly named. There is nothing out there except rocks, dirt sand and flies, only God know what they live off of.

We had driven out to the rig, and discovered that a needed down hole tool was missing. So, I had to drive back to Marmul and then back to rig a 16 hour trip. While driving at night the sky was so clear and bright you could drive by starlight. No one around for hundreds of miles. Driving on the road at night, I was getting sleepy, so I pulled over to the side of the road to take a nap. As I closed my eyes and tried to sleep, it was like I could hear people and animals walking around. I got up and looked, there was as I suspected, no one around. I tried a couple of more times, but the feeling was uneasy, so I hit the road and drove on to the rig site. The trip was fairly uneventful, except that I nearly drove over an endangered Oryx. Another road hazard are camels. Their belly is just about windshield high, if you it one, it guaranteed to end up in your lap. Also, no matter how old mangy that camel may be, rest assured that if you hit it, it will be a racing camel worth several hundred thousand dollars.

After a few days we completed the cementing and drill stem test job and headed back to Marmul.  While we where heading out to another rig we came over a hill and saw a beautiful green circular pasture. On the pasture were a heard of goats. The sign said it was an experimental agricultural station by Shell Oil. We stopped in to look, and were given a couple of kilos of strawberries. This was a real treat. We brought them back to the staff facilities in Marmul and the rest of the crew could not understand were we could fine fresh strawberries. My friend and smiled and told them we found them under some rocks while we were out in the desert.

I found the weather unusual. It had rained one night while we were working on a pump. So on top of cold windy weather it started to rain mud. So at 11:30 pm, it was wet, cold and windy. We went back to the base camp and put those heaters to good use.

After one month my tour of duty was finished and I was sent back to Singapore and Indonesia. I would not have minded spending more time there, but I still much prefer Southeast Asia.

Soekarno's Platinum June 1999.

Mohammed Arieff known mainly by his nickname "Boy" is our Logistics Manager. He is a true Boogieman, or known here as a "Bugis" man as he comes from the indigenous people of East Borneo. Boy is an excellent logistics manager, if you need something in a remote field he will get the equipment to you. Boy is versatile, he speaks English, Indonesian and Bugis. He has a huge family with many relations throughout East Borneo. Boy also, is on the lookout for that elusive get rich quick deal. Every once and awhile, he comes across a viable deal worth following up. The other 75% is rubbish.

In June of 1999 we were having financial problems. Boy met a guy, who knew a guy that was selling Platinum, which had been stashed since the time of Soekarno. The story goes, that Megawati Soekarno Putri was selling this Platinum to finance her run for President of Indonesia.

It was a plausible story, after all her father did have bars of gold and platinum stashed while he was President. But the question was, Is it still around or has it been spent? As I was in Jakarta, we (Glenn, Richard and myself) had asked Boy if he had physically seen the bar of platinum, or is this just talk? To our collective surprise he said he did. He said that he would fax us a photocopy of one of the bars.

A few minutes later a photocopy of one of the bars came out of the fax. The markings and stamps looked real. The person selling the platinum wanted $6,000.00 US per bar or about 20% below market value. We then faxed the photocopy of the stamp to a purchaser of Platinum in London. Again to our surprise, they said that the numbers and stamps were real.

Boy said the guy had 45 bars he wanted to sell. We asked Boy if he could bring a couple of samples for us to examine. Boy then brought 3 bars by hand from Balikpapan East Borneo to Jakarta. The next day Boy arrived with the bars in hand, and they did indeed look like real bars of platinum.

We handed the bars around, and discussed on ways we could test it to see if this really platinum. Platinum has a very high melting point it is also very heavy. We decided the easy thing to do would be to work out the specific gravity of the metal.

Carefully, we measured the displacement of the bar and weighed it. To our disappointment, we found that the bar was half the weight it should have been. In fact, after studying the bar a little longer, we figured the forgery was chrome plated lead.

We followed our axiom of never taking anything for face value, and thus were saved from a potentially disastrous deal. Now here is the part I find interesting. In order for this person to make the forgery with the correct stamps and numbers, he must of seen the original bars sometime in the past. Perhaps the real bars are still out there somewhere.

Deals like this one come and go. The real one will be the one you don't check out. I am glad we did investigate the matter fully, I would still be kicking myself in the ass if I hadn't.

24 Hours on Bangkudulis Island

At this point  I need to put in a disclaimer. About 99% of the Indonesian personnel I work with are great. Smart, hard workers, diligent, great stamina, honest and creative. They are a pleasure to work with. Then there is the 1% which seem to find there way to Bangkudulis Island. I will introduce you to a couple that fall in the 1% category.

It was 12:00 am, the late night movie was over and it was time to get some rest. I walked over to my sleeping area which was a 20' x 6' x 8' shipping container. Turned on the light sprayed for mosquitoes, shut the heavy metal doors and turned on the air conditioners. I had 2 X 1/2 Hp units, has I like to sleep cool if at all possible.

At about 2:00 am there was a knock on the door. This is not unusual to be disturbed at night, as sometimes problems do seem to come up i.e. water or electrical power, so I did not give it much thought as I opened the door. To my surprise there was no one around, only a single goat looking up at me from the board walk. I looked down at the animal and said, "Well what do you want?" the animal continued to stare at me but said nothing. I closed the doors, and laid back on the bed. I then realize, that the knock came from the upper part of the door far out of the goat's reach. Oh well, perhaps he had help knocking on the door, who knows? I went back to sleep. At 4:00 am nature called me out, so I walked to the end of the boardwalk just in front of my container, assisted mother nature by watering and fertilizing the plants with nitrogen and ammonia. As I looked up, the night sky was crystal clear with the Milky way galaxy in full view, as well as the occasional meteor shooting across the sky.

At 6:00 am I knew it was time get up. The alarm said so, and it never lied. After washing my face, I headed down to the Mess to see what we had for breakfast. I sure it was either "A" fried rice or "B" fried noodles. Today was an "A" day so I took my meal and coffee to the dock to watch the occasional fishing boat go by and the morning sunrise. The coffee we had in the field was strong. In fact, Indonesian coffee is served by bringing the water to temperature that is near the surface of the sun, then pouring the bubbling water on top of the coffee. Stir the cup and wait 30 minutes for it to cool to a reasonable temperature. The is always some coffee ground residue floating on the top, (At least we hoped it was coffee residue) grit your teeth to filter out the large particles and drink. Or kind of drink and chew. It may be a little rough, but it's guaranteed to make you bright eyed and bushy tailed for the rest of the morning.

I noticed our 60 DWT supply boat the MANDELA was docking with the high tide, so I walked over to the office to meet with my supervisory personnel to give the day's work instructions. Most important being unloading of the MANDELA, clearing of area for Well #4 and repair of the storage tank. After giving instructions everyone headed off to complete their tasks as instructed.

As for myself, I was personally supervising the work on the Wellhead of Well #1 about 500 meters from Well #4 and 1.5 km from the Base Camp.

I gathered up the crew as well as several litters of drinking water and headed up the board walkway to Well #1 started our work day at 7:30 am.

At 9:30 am my construction supervisor Toha came over and said, "The PC200 excavator drive wants to know which side of the culvert to clear on. We hiked over to Well #4, and explain to the driver "Do NOT go to the right side, the excavator will sink into the mud." I then said, "What did I just tell you?" The driver replied, "Do not go to the right side of the culvert." I told him very good! and hiked back to Well #1.

It was about 10:30 am when I got back to Well #1. To my surprise I saw the Captain and the crew of the MANDELA. I asked him, "Did you get everything off loaded from the vessel?" He said, "Yes, everything except casing and we will have to wait for high tide to get that off. Hi tide would take place in another 5 hours. I then asked the captain why he was here and not on his boat. He replied, "We just wanted to see the well site." Just advised him to keep his distance as we were working on the well head which had a 1,150 psig I did not want any unnecessary personnel around the well. With that, the Captain and crew headed back to their boat and the base camp.

At 11:00 am Toha came back over to Well #1 and said, "The PC200 is stuck." so we hiked back over to Well #4 site and sure enough the PC200 excavator was on the right side of culvert stuck with 50% of the track buried at a 45o angle up to the cabin. I asked the operator to come over, and calmly asked him why he was on the right side of the culvert when he was told NOT to go to the right side culvert. He then went on to explain, that it was so much easier and faster working from the right side rather than the left. I pointed out, how that now he was stuck, no work could be accomplished until the PC200 was unstuck. To get it out of the hole and potentially loosing the whole excavator, we would have use the B300 excavator to assist the PC200. There was not point firing the operator at the moment because, I needed him to unstick the PC200. It could take me 5 days to get a replacement from nearby Tarakan or Bunyu.

I called the mechanic to the site moved B300 excavator from the base camp to the location of the PC200. I then gave the operator, my supervisor, and mechanic the following instructions, "You are to get the PC200 unstuck, the PC200 operator is not to move in any direction unless he is told to do so. Failure to comply with this instruction will result in his immediate removal from this unit and deportation back to Tarakan." With all in agreement, we started on removal of the PC200 from its potential grave.

After lunch of bundled rice and chicken with the crew I headed back down to the base camp to write my daily report to Jakarta, and speak with the office in Tarakan by radio. As I was walking back, I saw a Cobra 2 meters long cross under the walkway. I tried to hit it with a machete but as usual missed. At 2:30 pm  I got to the base camp, I noticed that the MANDELA was nowhere in sight. I thought maybe the crew went back to Tarakan? I looked over at the mess and there was the crew, standing together all with a sad look on there face. I looked around but did not see the MANDELA anywhere. I walked over to the Captain and said, "Where is the MANDELA?" he did not reply save for pointing at the empty dock.

I walked over to the empty docked and looked over the side at the river. About 4 inches above the water was a light marking the highest point of the MANDELA, which was this morning 4 meters above the waterline. I turned and look at the captain as though he was a creature from another world and said, "How did you manage to sink my supply boat?!?"

Apparently, unknown to all, there was an old piece of steel piling from the old dock which happened to be located under the boat at the dock. As the captain was walking to the well site, the tide was going out. This piece of steel pushed up through the bottom of the boat punching a 10 inch hole in the keel. On the boat was still several joints of casing weighing 800 kg per joint.

There was nothing that could be done. I looked up to the heavens to see if there would be divine intervention or inspiration. There was none. Assessing the damage and recovery of the vessel would have to wait until tomorrow.

It was at that point I looked over to where the welder usually worked by the riverside. His umbrella and oxy/acetylene and the hoses were pulled over to the warehouse. I walked around to the back of the warehouse and there he was cutting a piece of steal plate. In next to him were he was operating the 3,000oF torch was a open bucket of diesel fuel on the other side was a open 55 gallon drum of diesel fuel. Worse there were 10 people standing around watching him make the cuts in the steel.

I yelled "STOP!" which he did. To my amazement and near disbelief, he had left his safe spot on the dock by the river, drug his hoses and torch 100' to the back of the warehouse so he could cut the steal in between the 2 open sources of fuel. I spent the next 30 minutes berating everyone that was a witness to this incident on the stupidity of using a cutting torch next to open sources of fuel. This is why we have our motto or mantra "Never attribute to malice which could be adequately explained by stupidity." That was the welder's last day of work at Bangkudulis.

I went to the office and sat down to write my report. PC200 stuck, B300 assisting PC200 site clearing stopped, MANDELA supply boat sunk, casing still on board.

At that point Toha comes running in saying "Mr. John, Mr. John! There has been an accident! One of the workers had the end of his index finger on his right hand cut off!" I immediately told them to get the standby boat ready. They wheeled him down to the base camp in a wheel barrel. I applied first aid to control the bleeding, and had them depart in our only remaining boat to Tarakan. It was 4:00 pm. Sunset was at 6:00 pm. If they left now they would just make it back with 30 minutes to spare. We would have no emergency transportation tonight.

We got the injured crew member, and my welder on their way. I asked the partner of the injured man as to what happened so we could make an incident investigation. It turned out that the injured crew member was testing his magical abilities, showing that he was impervious to injury. So he stuck his finger into the fan belt of a small electrical generator. Needless to say, it did not work.

He got to the Tarakan hospital in time. His finger was sowed up, missing the end piece which could not be reattached.

I went back to my report which now read, PC200 stuck, B300 assisting PC200 site clearing stopped, MANDELA supply boat sunk, casing still on board, crew members finger injured when testing magic in genset. It finally took 2 days to get the Excavator out of the sink hole and back to work and 5 days to raise the MANDELA from its underwater parking spot and another 10 days to repair the hull and make it river worthy.

At 6:00 pm we start fogging the camp with insecticide in an attempt to bring the mosquito and blood sucking flies under control. I walked around the came showing some of the crew members where to fog. I was walking on the boardwalk with Toha. The fogging crew was walking along side in the grass. He inadvertently stepped in quicksand and started to sink. He started to "Yell help me!" I said, "Quick hand me the fogging machine!" which he did. He then said, "What about me?" I told him, "Your expendable, we have lots of workers, but only one fogger." I told to stand still and don't move. We got some rope and pulled him out after a few minutes.

It was 7:00 pm by the time I had my bath and dinner. Fried fish, tapioca leaves and rice. I read for about an hour then got up to watch TV. Amazingly, we had cable (Satellite) TV. So I ended up watching the Discovery channel, Wild Discovery Insects in the Asian rain forest. After watching the program for 45 minutes, sitting in one chair with my feet up in the other a very large poisonous centipede at least 18 inches long came running out the bottom of the TV heading straight for me. It dropped through a floor board about 3 feet from my chair. Enough TV for one night.

That was it. It's time to go to bed. Hopefully, that damn goat or his friend won't come knocking.