Monday, October 22, 2007

Back To The Middle Ages

Sometimes I feel that coming back to Algeria is like being back to the Middle Ages.

When I return to my apartment in Cheraga, I discovered these:

1) Heater for apartment and water spoilt and dismantled. The apartment is getting cold (20 degrees celcius interior)and I have to shower at co-workers apartment everyday. I felt very inconvenienced.

2) Wireless internet down. Router missing.

3) Cable TV down

It's back to basic living...

4) Housekeeping lady ate my pork Bah Kua!
I found few pieces of my vacuum packed bah kua missing. Only the housekeeping lady has been in the apartment since I'm gone and she has been known to eat our food and take our things.

Is it a sin if a Muslim ate pork, even though unkowningly? Well she deserves it for taking food without asking anyway.

2nd Freshmen Training Camp Begins!

So the 2nd company 'freshies' training camp has begun in Algeria from Oct 21 until Nov 15. Company has decided, following a successful season in Morocco last year, to increase the intake from 40 to 120!

The big intake was to provide a pool of TW-trained inductees to cater for our Algerian distributor's human resource problems. This is also the first year our regional training academy begins to train associates for our distributors/dealer in other countries like Egypt, Syria, China, Japan, Morocco and Sudan, which explains the huge intake as well.

I pity the 'freshies' who are used to creature comforts like me. Upon arrival, they were sent to El Bahir hotel, an enclosed compound that is pretty away from civilization (at the 'attractive price of USD21/night!), and immediately began facing water and food problems. The showers weren't working and food catering wasn't sufficient.

Nothing to shout about in the interior decorations area too. The furniture and room design is circa 60s.

I began to feel that my apartment in Cheraga is a paradise.

"Grand Opening Night"

So yesterday was the opening party of the freshmen camp on site at El Bahir hotel. I was invited.

As usual dinner started late so I took a look around at the facilities. The hotel features a swimming pool albeit it was drained during autumn and winter.

The design of the swimming pool is certainly one of a kind. A rectangle pool that is length-wise olympic standard, albeit narrower in breadth. Right at one end of the pool are two cylindrical pillars with each a tree growing in the middle.

I wonder very often what the Algerians are thinking?!?!

Lifeguard: "Swimmer in Lane 5, WATCH OUT for that tree!!!!"

The dinner portion of the event was in reality very short. The freshies were already starving because breakfast and lunch was light. When the late dinner started, everyone rushed to the food.

The picture did not do justice to reality. I had never seen a buffet spread suffered a more savage and brutal multi-pronged attack other than yesterday evening.

Algerian and Moroccan forces forced a decisive armored pincer push on poulet. Egyptian and Syrian troops launched an airborne blitz assault on poisson. Chinese and Sudan special forces struck at the rear on viande.

It took tops 15 mins for the dinner guests to clear out 3 large table spread of food! Even the dessert table was mopped up simultaneously. Indeed, the adage "Leave No Eclair Behind" was proudly upheld by the freshies last evening.

Highlights of Last Evening's Dinner?

1) Visited by the Japanese ambassador to Algeria at the dinner. He was invited by the chief executive of the local distributor since they are friends. Our core business is Japanese cars so maybe it was a good PR move on the CE part.

2) My first taste of Mattake (matsutake or pine tree mushroom). A luxury product in Japan it is reputed to fetch a high price of USD 1,000/1 kg. In Algeria, they told me that it is growing in abundance. It tastes quite good when barbequed with soya sauce which complement the fresh pine aroma very well.


Anonymous said...

eh... business idea! Bring the mushrooms to japan! Why not? You can work there and sideline... all you need is 10kg a month... work there for 2 years to settle the distribution channel and you're the next mushroom king! hahahhahaha.... but after hearing your description of how the algerians work, i think somehow it may not work out... hahaha...

Anonymous said...

Without knowing you I doubt that you're having a lot of fun in your life.

Relax a bit, smoke something nice and try to get l... sometimes.

Greetings from Algiers!

MadameMonet said...

I live in Morocco, and it's not very easy to find much pork here. there is a little bit in packages imported from France, but it's really different from what we're used to in America! And there's not much of it. I've actually found lamb to be a reasonably good substitute in most Chinese recipes.

Madame Monet
Writing, Painting, Music, and Wine

Sencha said...

Hi Tom,

Thanks for your advice. I will try to have more fun in year 2008, if everything works out right and I continue to stay in Algeria.

Sencha said...

Madame Monet,

I thought pork is available from Marjane supermarkets?

Lamb as a substitute in Chinese recipes? Don't you need a lot of ginger to rid lamb meat of the musky smell?

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