Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Haven't been blogging for a while because of a busy schedule after the Singapore holidays.

Anyway, we arrived back in Beirut first to apply for our visa to Algeria. On 9th December, we got back to Algiers on a night flight. On 11th, we were busy moving to a new guest house. After that, I prepared a presentation for the year end meeting on 14th December. Soon after, deepsixed and me departed for Morocco to apply for yet another 3 month Algerian visa. After getting the visa, we intend to fly to Beirut to celebrate the new year and spend January to do 2008 planning.

Life can be this complicated sometimes.

Bye Bye Cheraga

December 11 was moving day. Our group of young? expats (below 40) were transferred from the present guesthouse in Cheraga to another guesthouse in Palm Beach. After living in Cheraga for almost a year, it was a pity to have to move.

Relocating to Palm Beach could take a little of getting used to. In Algiers, it is already challenging to find a supermarket with a wide range of products to cater to the expats. To date, only three supermarkets in Algiers fit this bill: Opera, Galaxy and Carrefour. Even these are still below par compared to our neighbourhood NTUC or Cold Storage. So after moving, we would have to travel a longer distance to be able to visit the same familiar supermarket and grocer. With a Corolla issued to us, we could probably cope by planning weekly purchase trips.

Most of my stuff are in two categories: books and clothes

The second inconvenience has not presented itself yet. It is winter now but comes summer the entire route to the office will be crowded with traffic to and fro Palm Beach. The entire Palm Beach will be crowded with visitors during summer. Supposedly now, we are able to enjoy some seaside tranquility after moving here. Save for the fact that it is very cold and breezy out there now.

Algiers Palm Beach is similar to the resort-like Palm Beach in Florida only in namesake only. Palm Beach Algiers is made up of: a cluster of seaside motels, which are vacated during most of the year except during summer. Our new guesthouse is one of these motels; a few rows of seaside bungalows belonging to the Algerian high society members; small superettes (mini-marts) and restaurants measuring little larger than 5 meters square; and a kilometer stretch of undeveloped beach.

Because of Algeria's violent past, building are usually surrounded by high protective walls topped with concentina wires to ward off the unwarranted visitors. Palm Beach was no exception but it makes this little resort town look like a cluster of mini prisons amidst meter tall unkempt wild grass patches and a small beach (Read: escape is neigh impossible).

Takes a lot of imagination to picture this relatively unscenic place as the much touted place to be during Algerian summer.

Moving in: first glimpse of my new apartment

When I first arrived to my new apartment, I didn't like it at all. What was management thinking? The place resembles a cheap seaside motel. Wait, it IS a cheap seaside motel with very basic facilities as the company is going for cost-cutting. A big downgrade from our brand new Cheraga guesthouse, this place looks so used. Further more, Palm Beach is further from the office than Cheraga, and in summer the jams are a killer.

Unfortunately, we have no choice in where the company places us so we have to try to make do. The only plus point I could think of at present is that it has a view to the mediterranean sea. But now in winter, being near the seas can be so cold and the two small heaters in the apartment are hardly warm enough.

After the professional movers came with the furniture from the previous guesthouse, the apartment looks a little more furnished and homely. I would love to update you with more pictures of how the apartment looks like now but I got busy with work presentations and packing for my Moroccan business trip, so I have to postpone.

Currently, the guesthouse has 5 residents. Deepsixed and I occupies the two apartments in the fourth storey. The two latino guys occupies the third floor. Our Turkish coworker lives on the second floor. The remaining apartments on the second floor, one third floor apartment and the large penthouse are awaiting the 15 inter-company transfers (ICTs) from China, Syria, Japan, Egypt and Sudan to arrive in Feburary '08. When full, the guesthouse will become a bigger expatriate community. Hopefully then, everyone can get along with everyone.

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