Saturday, June 07, 2008


Sometimes life's a bitch. Or maybe management's the bitch!

As I mentioned previously, just as the beach-going weather sets in, I received instructions to move out of the guesthouse at Palm Beach, Sidi Fredj.

Conditions at Sidi Fredj is very bad but at least there is a beach to spend the summer. The Cheraga guesthouse can provide better comfort but the surrounding area is really boring. Both places cancel each other out in different pluses and minuses so I really can't complain.

The bottom line is that I hate moving!

Moving Day/ Traffic
On moving day yesterday, I could see the road leading to Palm Beach jam packed with beach goers. The queue of cars trying to enter the beach was so long even during the late hours in the afternoon. Probably the late sunset at after 7 pm helped as people could stay at the beach longer.

With heavy traffic everywhere, it was nice to see policemen stationed at almost every junction to direct traffic. I think that this is one of the things Algeria is superior to Morocco. In Morocco, I see a lot of policemen on the road doing nothing about the traffic. They are just there to collect bribes. Yes, the Moroccan police are that disgusting!!!

Isn't it labor intensive and expensive to expend so much manpower to direct traffic, you'll ask? Yes, it is. But judging from the Algerian driving style which disregards most traffic rules, the roads will be impossible to drive with every vehicle trying to meander around each other. Bottlenecks will appear everywhere. So the human "touch" is necessary!

Last Moments At Sidi Fredj?
While the bulk of my things were already transfered, I will continue to stay at Sidi Fredj for the remaining two days of this visit. I leave tomorrow for Beirut.

Trying to maximize my remaining time at Sidi Fredj, I mingled a bit with my fellow tenants, the ICTs. I was invited by the Chinese (3 of them) ICTs to their apartment for dinner for several times. Once I contributed a dish - ABC soup, South-east Asian style.

A home-made Chinese dinner, easily tastier than Restorante Mudan at Hotel Mecure

Me and Pablo, my Colombian colleague, being the other manager there, were also invited to an evening teaparty organized by the Syrians and Egyptian ICTs. We munched on digestives, sipped beverage and shared our general disdain for most of the commercially prepared Algerian food we can. It was a nice evening that uplifted Pablo's spirit after Colombia's defeat to France in a friendly soccer match that day.

The boo boo-factor at Cheraga is the lack of social activities. Cheraga guesthouse is occupied by senior managers and they aren't a lot of fun. Most of them just want to drink, smoke and sleep.

At The Beach
Yesterday, I visited the beach with Pablo. It wasn't the best but it wasn't that bad. At least there were efforts to keep the beach clean.

The lack of safety consciousness in Algeria showed in few instances at the beach. In particular, young men are especially prone to reckless and dangerous behaviour.

For instance, many riding motorcycles were observed to be dashing across junctions and traffic at breakneck speed along crowded roads. Some were doing willys. None of them wore helmets. Perhaps they think they look cool but they could endanger theirs and others life.

Things were not safer at the beach either. I saw young people riding jetski along and very close to the coastline. These people own the jetski, so they are rich and probably well educated. But yet, they also don't have the consciousness that riding that close to the coast line could endanger the safety of people in the water, especially children.

I'm no stranger to high speed ocean going crafts, so I know how difficult it is to spot a head bobbling in the ocean. And also I wonder in the first place, why are these people jetskiing so near the coastline when the ocean is so big?! If not to draw attention to themselves than what else?

Algerians are sometimes stupidly crazy like this. Everything that can be done, they will do it.

While I was observing the jetskiers, a rider on a horse galloping along the beach came into my view. I know that there is a horse riding school nearby but didn't the rider think about safety also. What if the horse got startled by something, went berserk and started trampling on the sun tanners? Can a rider control the horse 100% of the time? I think not, especially in a place with so much distraction.

It wasn't all bad though. I did get to enjoy a nice sunset and experienced some interesting activities of the local people at the beach.

I thougth they were playing majong (popular Asian domino game)
So in love.... =P

Merry makers at the beach - drum n dance

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