11-10-very very frightening

If only it would rain!  It hasn't rained here in two months.  That's
at least two months.  Probably longer.  How do the plants survive it?
It's the rainy season, now.  Has been since approximately the day I
arrived.  The rain is three weeks overdue.

I have no idea what it's like here when it rains -- it could be huge
monsoons that you can't walk in, or might be sprinkles which make a
"rainy season" only because the rest of the year it never, ever rains.
But I want the air scrubbed, and I want to see the plants react to
getting water -- some may bloom immediately, and I want the streets
hosed down by a downpour.  There are so many human smells on the
streets, as you walk.  

There are a large number of people who seem to live in Antananarivo
with no shelter of any sort.  They cook on the street, sleep there,
hang out together.  They do their washing and bathing in the lake or
the riverlets around town.

So on one hand, I know that rain will be very uncomfortable for them,
and on the other hand, the smell of the spots where people have been
living could use a flush.

There's also a powerful, sweet, somehow HORRIBLE plant smell I
sometimes smell around here.  I cannot isolate it to a particular
tree.  A big hose from the sky would ease that problem, too.

I walk in with Pat this morning and learn a new place name.  The
street which slopes down at a twenty-five degree angle that I use when
I walk home from SALFA (and sometimes when I walk there with someone
and don't take the stairs) has a name: Cardiac Hill.  Ok, so it's not

Today, we are wiring for the new network.  This means removing the
ugly thinnet network, and connecting everything to a 10/100 switch in
the center of this brand new star.  It's currently a bus, with
everyone seeing everyone else's packets, and broadcasts all over, and
packet collisions and major slowdowns.  Once we're done, the hubs will
still be there, but each hub will be isolated except for its
connection at the switch.  This should be much faster, and thanks to
the removal of the thinnet, much more reliable.

To do this, we need to drill holes in window frames and push and pull
cable around dusty corners.  It's a mess and a pain.  I am filthy
fifteen minutes into working on it, and I only get dirtier.  Each time
we get ready to do this, we are stymied by the fact that we are
missing tools.  The drill is on loan.  Martin (who has the keys to the
tool shed) is out fixing things.  We wait a few hours.  This sort of
thing has been going on for days.  We've been specifically been
waiting on the drill for two days.

All this culminates in Rivo coming into the office around two PM with
a long face, and a drill in his hand.  It's returned and ready to use.
But there's no bit in it, and Martin is nowhere to be found, and it's
utterly useless to us.

Somehow, by luck and determination, with liberal doses of Rivo's
knowledge of the building and the wires, we get all the wires in place
using existing holes.  Well, ok, two do go through a window, but we
plan to drill one big hole (big enough for an RJ45) and fix that later.

But one cable run needed to be hung under the roof, which goes around
the third floor of the building.  Patrick volunteers to do the job.  I
am horrified, but too glad to see it get done to say "What?  Without a
harness or a net?  ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND!?!?"  Actually, I do say
this, but what I don't say is "No, don't do it, we'll do it another
way."  Patrick goes out a window and does a hour-long version of
_Safety Last_ for our entertainment pleasure.

I watch from the street while deadly, rocklike chunks of a bird poop
encrusted feathers fall from the rafters onto the sidewalk.  As
Patrick moves along up top, I notice a tiny little girl, not yet three
years old, in an orange jumpsuit directly under him.  I have images of
him slipping and BOTH of them being killed.  I motion to the girl,
then to her mother to get her the heck out from under that crazy man.
They scoot, a little, but toward the area under the cable he is
pulling, and into the sporadic drizzle of this avian masonry smacking
down on the pavement.

It's a good day.  The network's not done, but most of the cable is in
place, and tomorrow we flip the switch on... well, the switch.

When I get home, I hear thunder and see lightning, but there is no
patter of raindrops.  I hope the rain is close by, so that some of the
air will get scrubbed.  My nose is running, and my throat is burning.
Could be a virus, but I think it's SMOG.