Saturday, November 8, 2014

Angola

Last September, for about three weeks, I was assigned in one of the Floating Production Storage (FPSO) facilities located in African seas. So far, it was the farthest business trip I had and my very first time in Africa – Angola to be exact. Applying for visa was not a problem but I was required to have a yellow fever vaccination before I can proceed with the application. It was single injection but the pain can be felt for a couple of days. I was also required to pass the survival training which is a must for engineers going off-shore. Though I was kind of hesitant with the assignment at first, especially with the outbreak of the Ebola crisis, I had no choice since I was in charge of this project. 

angola

It was a 17-hour trip from Japan to Angola. The sun was just about to set when I arrived but my eyes were closing since it’s already midnight in Japan. I didn’t have the chance to explore Luanda but during my travel from the airport to the hotel, I was able to see how vibrant the colors were, from clothes, buildings, graffiti, etc. For one night, I stayed in a city hotel in preparation for my early morning flight. I have to take a chopper as the facility (ship) is in the middle of the ocean. It was the longest two hours of my life since it’s also my first time to ride a chopper.

orangevendor
painting

For the next 18 days, I found myself observing how the sea and sky meet while doing my supervisory work. The sea was relatively calm which was a good thing or else I will be constantly throwing up. Environment was quite challenging though, as you have to stay on the ship even after a 12-hour shift, but it gave me a chance to appreciate the limited environment I am in. What an escape from the busy world. The internet access was also limited and for a while, I am free from the chaos that is social media. Everything was a routine and I was embracing it.

ocean

Offshore assignment was completed in less than a month. It was definitely a different learning experience as I was able to witness oil production in the middle of the ocean. I stayed for one night at the city hotel again to have a rest before flying back to Japan. The hotel was a bit expensive, but it was cozy and newly-renovated.

lobby
room

As the plane took off, I wave the African sunset goodbye.

angola

I may not know where exactly my next assignment will be, all I know is that my trip in Angola made an impact in my professional life. 

angola
                                                                   photo by Orlan

Angola

The rays of African sunset 
filters the air, 
highlights the colors 
of the city. 

The metal hammock 
gently sways in the middle 
of the ocean, 
cradles strangers 
like Noah's ark. 

I hang my hard hat, 
wash the grease 
off my hands 
and wave goodbye 
to the rays of African 
sunset.

For Poetry Pantry 226

totomai
/2014/11/08

40 comments:

  1. First of all, what beautiful photos (once again)! You have managed to characterize Angola quite colorfully in your poem. I like the way the metal hammock cradles strangers like Noah's Ark -- excellent metaphor.

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    1. Thank you so much Mary. It was an effective hammock, I feel like sleeping always but I cannot haha

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  2. a very peaceful scene you painted in your poem. :)
    it must have been an enriching experience in your work. and btw, thanks for sharing those gorgeous photos.

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    1. Thanks D!
      Yes, definitely. It was my first offshore assignment. Too bad I have a limited time to explore the city.

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  3. Your poem reflects the beauty you found in Angola's light and colors. I too like the images in the second stanza.

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    1. Thanks Gabriella. Perhaps I will be given another chance.. but not as an engineer but as a tourist.

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  4. First I enjoyed your introduction a lot. I could feel the bliss of being bored if I may say so.. stuck in the middle of the sea with horizon the only company... but your passing through Angola sounded like an experience that is really thrilling.. The image of a metal hammock is stunningly good.. goes so well with the introduction.

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    1. Thanks Bjorn. If only camera is allowed, I could have taken lots of photos of the horizon from sunrise to sunset. I was bored during my first few days but later embraced what's in store for me.

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  5. You know something, your blog is a healing place...such abundance of peaceful and soothing beauty really replenishes the soul...the gently swaying metal hammock encourages dreamy languor....

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    1. Aww. Thanks Sumana. I'm humbled by your words... inspired me more to do better..

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  6. beautiful and exotic. i'd love to visit Angola and i love your job!!! :D

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    1. My job is quite challenging but that's my destiny I guess haha. Thanks James.

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  7. What a wonderful post. I loved hearing about your amazing trip, seeing the photos and especially enjoyed your art work. You are very talented!!!!!! Love the African sunset in your poem! Love hearing about how colorful Africa. It sounds just as I dream it to be.

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    1. Thanks Sherry! Though I wish I had the time to escape from the ship and take lots of photos of Angola...

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  8. Wonderful picture of Africa and what its like to leave.

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    1. Every job assignment, no matter how short it is, is sad. Thanks G L!

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  9. What an exciting life you lead. Great photos but somehow I got the feeling you were pleased to get back to Japan ! :)

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    1. I was excited to get back to Japan because I love autumn very much. Thanks Rallentanda!

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  10. What a challenge you went through! Indeed it will change your life dramatically...Wonderful photos, artwork, and poem about Africa sunset filtering air, colors and metal hummock... what an unforgettable memory you made! ~ Thanks for sharing! x

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    1. It's one of my memories being in my profession. Thanks!

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  11. I enjoyed your poem, and your courage to go someplace you did not want to go and staying to do what had to be done. The photo of the sky meeting the sea is quite beautiful! I hope you will participate in the Gratitude Quilt this year. It is simple to join in and will make your heart happy when you see the love unfurl on Nov 27th. (no sewing involved) Just close your eyes. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Ask yourself "what am I grateful for in THIS moment?" listen to your heart and type out the words that flow from your heart and send them to me. There is a link to my email address and a link explaining this project if you don't know about it yet can be found at the top of my blog. If I've already asked you I apologize for being annoying :-)

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    1. Thanks Laura. Will try to check your request :-)

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  12. How important it is to venture outside your comfort zone now and then. Not only do you appreciate the lives of others but find you have grown yourself. Great post!

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    1. Thanks OE :-) I am not sure if I will be ready with my next assignment lol

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  13. Wow. I enjoyed the photos as well as the prose and poetry. Your images of the hammock and the ark are full of amazement!

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    1. Everyone can take a rest on that metal hammock. thanks Susan!

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  14. I share the same excitement about this blog as the others have so well expressed.
    ZQ

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  15. Interesting story, great photos, and above all what a beautiful poem, which could stand alone (though I'm glad it didn't).

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  16. I so enjoyed your journey, pictures and poem ~ I specially love the one about the sea and that african sunset is stunning ~ Have a good week ~

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  17. what an awesome post! those pictures are so inviting, and the poem is icing on the cake. sounds like quite the epic voyage you had!

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  18. I'm glad you accepted the assignment. Angola is far from Liberia, nothing to worry about. :)

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    1. Thanks Kit! Yes, I know but I also have this "but" haha

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  19. The vibrancy! The essences you captured with your lens. What an opportunity! And an amazing poem born out of the experience.

    The lines:

    "cradles strangers
    like Noah's ark." -- perfection

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    1. travels can be a source of inspiration :)

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any thoughts to distill?

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