I've been in Bequia for a week. It's a small island in the middle of the Caribbean and I was out there to scope out a project. Anyway, the Internet connection was poor, hence the blog suffered. Here''s the blob over the last few days:
With Kosovo still fresh in my mind I'm sat in Barbados airport looking at the cricket. This still has me in shock somewhat. In the last week I left Kosovo, arrived in Stockholm, Sweden. Stayed for 3 days, flew to London and this morning exactly 5 days after getting on a plane in Pristina I am about to get on a plane to St.Vincent in the Caribbean.
Basically a contract came up to work on planning a web site for a yacht company in Bequia for a week. I found out that I got it 24hrs before leaving Kosovo. I can't wait to start this contract. I've been wanting to try yachting for years and never really had the opportunity until now. Diving, yachting, designing a web site....looks like this is going to be a fun week.
The temperature is a cool 29c and I still have my winter jacket on (it was snowing in Stockholm). I have to admit I'm totally disorientated. I did a 24hr stopover in London. It still felt like home when I got back. I suppose you never loose the connection with your country of birth, but never the less, it still felt strange, especially meeting friends and explaining Kosovo and now this to them. Think they thought I was insane. As I sit here looking at the cricket though my totally jet lagged eyes I'm being to think that they have a point.
Day 1 and I got up this morning and jumped off the boat for a swim. It's 34c and considering I was looking at snow 64 hours ago I'm finding this a little weird. I'm working for a yacht company who charters out cabins on yachts with a full crew, I have met three of the crews and they are such nice people. They come from all over the place, South Africa, Australia, Sweden to mention a few and they are all taking people out on week long holidays. There's very few careers I'd trade mine in for, but I have to admit this is one of them.
Day2 : the project is going well although as with most of these things I am now looking at making something completely different to what they asked for. The original plan was to spec out how to get their booking system on line. I am soon realising that they need to focus more on their membership. I asked them where their membership database was and they just laughed and pointed at a filing cabinet. In a way I would far rather do this kind of stuff than work on some large corporate IT thing. I like placing structure in something that has not even grown out of paper. I think the warm weather, cool drinks and Reggae helps though.
Day 3: I sat at a bar last night and just chatted to everyone. I met a painter from Liverpool who came out here 30 years ago and never left and a couple from Australia who sold their house, bought a boat and just took off. I'm finding myself very happy in the company of people like this. Stories and humour with it over a drink - nice.
Day 4: I went to the Cash point today. As I was walking across the street I noticed a group of girls sat outside the Bank. One of them shouted across to me "I like you, do you want a girlfriend?". Now why isn't Sweden like that? Anyway, I just said hello and walked into the Bank feeling a little embarrassed. My card didn't work. On my way out she asked me again, so I explained to her that I could not take her out on a date because I did not have any money. I won't tell you her answer to that except to say that I spent the rest of the day laughing.
Day5: Helped one of the crews fix some stuff on the boat today. I miss fixing things in Stockholm. Living on a boat there is always something that needs attention and that appeals to me.
Day 6: Back in Barbados airport waiting for the flight to London. Magnus (the owner of the company) offered me a job as chief mechanic yesterday. He was of course joking, but I don''t think he realised how close I was to saying yes. One of the crews told me to go to Vietnam, buy some land and get a boat. Sounded pretty reasonable really.
Not a bad view to get up to. The net at the front is a very excellent place to chill and watch the world go by.
Same deal, different angle.
A couple of the yachts. They have 12 and they are a cool $1 million a piece. Mind you, if I had a million I'd probably buy one.
This is a sign outside of the bar. The Parrots here are pretty cool.
I was stood looking at a fishing competition which I found about as interesting as any slaughter farm. This little girl was looking at me so I took her photo. I turned the camera around to show her the photo. She stared and after about a minute she looked up her mum, held the camera and shouted "me" before laughing. Cool kid.
The front room of the boat. More like a Palace than a boat really.
Now let me think, why do I feel at home?
It was very surreal walking into the lounge at Vienna to await my connection flight to Stockholm. The snow was falling outside and the first thing I herd was "Waterloo" by ABBA. No better way of reminding you that you are going home.
The ground crew would not clear the snow off the wings of the plane as they were afraid of getting hit by lightning. This caused a 20 minute delay and me to laugh at the Captain as he announced it. Shit, he sounded pissed off. Thinking about it, who'd blame him. Most of the people in the plane were equally pissed off. A nice Swedish woman turned to me and said "now that wouldn't happen in Sweden". I just laughed and said that it wouldn't happen in Kosovo either, but I guess she didn't get the joke.
We went to the radio station called Urban FM the other night. This guy walked into the room looking pretty high. Christian said "I think I've seen you before, but didn't you have longer hair?", to which he replied "no, that was my mum", turned around and left the room. Around this time we met Dardan, one of the originators of the station. He's frankly a little hyper and he talks like Ali G, but he's Albanian. After 20 minutes of this we needed to go out...massive respect to Ali A.
We went to Lounge 16 where I got locked in the toilet. This was not part of the plan, especially seeing as I'd just left a girl who was Welsh and in between jobs on the sofa. My first indication of something amiss was when I noticed the bottle of urine in the sink. I paused to consider why the bottle was full of urine and why it had been left in the sink. Having drawn no conclusions I decided to leave and return to the conversation with the welsh girl. At that point I casually stumbled across the lack of handle. I got out 5 minutes later and returned to the Welsh girl to explain that I'd just broken out of the toilet. She left. Massive respect her.
It's not everyday you sit quietly in a bar only to have a guy come up to you and explain that the girl in the corner is a 29 year old virgin. The girl was sat with her five friends. They were the best looking girls in the whole world and I was the luckiest guy because I happened to be sat there as one of them struck up a conversation with me. She was a graphic designer. Life could not be more perfect, a subject that I can talk about. I met here friends and they all had good jobs. This was the moment that I decided to stay in Kosovo. I have after all waited 35 years for a moment like this. She was just explaining to me that her Mum was the editor of the magazine when Christian walked over, pointed at the virgin and said "what, that's your mum?". They all left.
I just Fedex'ed Christian to Iraq.
I herd a story about a girl that went home drunk. Friend of her's phoned her up the next day to ask if she was ok. She said "not really, I puked up on my Grandmother last night".
I got offered a job the other night. Not every night that a CTO comes up to you at 2am and says "Work for us, come in on Tuesday and we'll sort out the paperwork". "right", I said. He then told me that he's doing a web site for Miss Kosovo. "yer" I said.
I've been seeing Christian in a different light lately. The other night he was stood on a stool in the middle of the bar throwing glasses on the floor and shouting "come on you Albanians" and "are you tired" which is a weird Albanian greeting. I was trying to ignore him, but it was difficult with all that flying glass around the place.
Bumped into the CTO again the other night. He was talking to Miss Kosovo - doh.
Me, Bujar, Christian and Petrit.
Bet you can't do this.
Go home and die.
Tom Calthrop, Hatton Garden, Dominica