Here we go!

Month: June, 2013

I’m back! But my luggage is not.

It was rushed transfer, got off the plane at 6:30am, and the next plane boarding time was 6:45am, departing at 7:30am.  Fortunately, I asked for and was granted a express path pass, which let me go to the shorter queue at immigration and security.  Rushed to the gate, and onto the plane, and back to sleep.  I made it Smile

After the plane had landed, rushed to immigration.  I was one of the first in queue (every person I overtake walking, is one less person to wait behind!).  Then the wait for my luggage.  Luggage starting coming out of the conveyor faster than usual, but I was there, waiting, until the end, to realise that my luggage wasn’t there!

I went to the baggage counter and got a form to fill in, but then had to wait a while before the man at the counter had finished dealing with the people who had a lot to say.

They’ll hopefully bring my luggage to the nearby town (30 mins away) tomorrow night, and then I can pick it up from the shop.

Fortunately, I was the only arrivee on the bus driver’s list, so he waited for me.  Also, while I was at the baggage counter, an airport lady asked me twice, on different occasions, confirming my name, because the driver was waiting for me.  After getting on the bus, it left, and then I was the only one on the bus.  Until we stopped at the hotel and picked more people up.

Finally arrived at site, and I took a small bus into the camp.  Sat next to a Pilipino man who had just been drinking.  I saw him struggling to open the window and saw him trying to contain vomit in his mouth.  I tried to help him open the window, but we could not.  So we stopped the bus, and ran out, and he released the vomit he was holding it.  I was just scared that he could choke and explode all over me.

I’ve had dinner, now back in my room.  Qantas gave me an over-night kit.  Free t-shirt! horhor.

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Hope to get my luggage back soon, all my snacks and shopping is in there!!!

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My R&R Car Adventures

Welcome back, New Caledonia misses me.

It was a good and busy R&R.  Achieved a lot: bought a car, met with friends, ate a lot (refer to photos on previous post!).

Sunday morning, went to church, after church, had lunch at home.  In the evening, went for a walk with Julie to see cars at the dealerships.  It’s the best time to see cars, without car salesmen coming to “help” you.  Then we went to Bunnings, got a couple of items I needed for here in New Caledonia (magnetic torch and screwdriver), then went to Peter’s house to borrow his bicycle pump.  At the time, I was convinced that I was going to get the Hyundai I30 Wagon or Hatchback on a novated lease.  This was until we saw a 2 year old Hyundai Accent for sale in Morley, on the way home from Peter’s house.  It was advertised at $13,990 (exc. on-road costs).  Then it got me re-thinking: if I could save money, I should!  So I went home and did some research online, and it was a good deal.  However, in my research, I also saw advertised a brand new 2013 Kia Rio 5 door automatic hatchback for $15,490 drive away, both on carsales and gumtree (from the same seller).  Once on-road costs were added to the second hand Hyundai Accent, it was only about $1000 more for a new car.  I went online, read reviews, watched videos, and it seemed reasonable.

On Monday morning, I contacted the dealership and asked about the price (as they had a few prices advertised).  The manager told me that it was best to come in.  So I went there in the afternoon, and was met by friendly car salesmen…  We went for a test drive, and it was good.  Then we sat at his desk and started discussing about the car.  He asked what colour we wanted, since it was $500 more for metallic paint (white being the only non-metallic choice).  I wanted the white, as it was cheaper, Julie wanted the silver, as it looked nicer.  The nice car salesman said “How about I do metallic for the same price as the white?”.  Wow! Happy!  He showed us the silver car, and then I asked “When you say ‘same price’, what price are you referring to?”.  Then he said “$17990”.  I was disappointed, after seeing $15,490 online.  I told him that I saw that price online, so he let me show him where I saw the price on the carsales and gumtree website.  $15,690 was the cheapest listed.  I was sure that they had changed the prices, as the same advertisement saved on my phone still showed $15,490, until I opened up the page, it it showed a new price.  I queried this and he said that maybe the cheaper one had already been sold as many have been sold over the phone.

Anyway, he put $15,490 on the contract to purchase and we put it subject to finance, as I was going to take it out on a novated lease.  He brought it to the manager, who wouldn’t sign it, called us to his office and was showing us how they are making a loss on it, and that $15,690 is the lowest they can do it for.  I’ve read about these tactics before.  I was prepared to walk out, and get the Accent instead, but didn’t.  It was $200 more than what I had set out to pay.  I asked him to go lower, he said he couldn’t.  I asked him to give me accessories, he said he couldn’t, but could include a full tank of petrol.  The previous salesman said that $30 petrol was included, so a full tank was only a little bit more than originally offered.  He said that if he doesn’t sell it to me at this price, there are many other people who will buy it at that price and then I’ll miss out on this price (I’m sure this is the standard response).  I didn’t walk (everyone says I should have).  Then I thought, if I pay that $200 difference first with cash and then lease the rest, maybe it is ok.  So we agreed and he signed.

Next, it was the options lady.  She tried to sell us paint protection, interior protection, and tinting.  Paint protection and interior protection, for $1900 and tinting for $900.

Paint itself is protection, and now they want to sell protection for the protection?  Fantastic!  Layer of Titanium Dioxide coating – isn’t this what makes white paint white?  As for tinting, I thought that glass already blocks UV?  Later I went home and researched and found that not all UV is blocked, so you can still get burnt.  So I might get some after-market tinting done (for a lot cheaper!).

Anyway, I asked her to demonstrate the interior protection, but the chair she wanted to use wasn’t available, then she disappeared.  In the end, I think if I maintain the paint, I don’t need this special protection.  Interior protection, I could use Scotchgard.  All for a lot less than $1900!

Next step, we went to talk to the finance guy who discussed the rate he could give us.  I liked this guy best, because he talked real numbers, numbers that had meaning, practical and reasonable.  I told him that I wanted to lease, but will consider his offers.

That night, I sent the quote to the leasing guy, who then got a quote back to me 2 days later (on Wednesday).  I wasn’t happy with the quote – he had added in his paint protection, and tinting, which I didn’t want.  I re-did my calculations, as in my previous calculations, I thought that the tax savings were in addition to the amounts I was calculating with, but actually, was already included, so the saving wasn’t as great as I had first calculated.  There is a saving there, but in the end, I decided to go with the more expensive option – to pay it from my bank account rather than go with the lease.  That was the price to pay for flexibility, so that we weren’t bound to the lease.

While I was at the shopping centre on Thursday, I called up the dealership to ask if they accepted personal cheques, but they only accepted bank cheques.  So right away, I logged into my online banking and ordered a bank cheque.  Then the dealership called and said that he could have the car ready for us on Saturday morning.  Then I realised that I might not have the cheque in time!  That it might arrive after I have left!  So I called up the bank and they said that since it’s a direct bank, there’s no branches, so it’ll take 3-4 business days for the cheque to arrive! No! Sad smile

Fortunately, that night, I talked to my parents and they would help get a bank cheque from their bank (which has a local branch), and I would transfer the money to their bank account.  Then all I had to do was cancel the cheque from my bank.  I called my bank up, but they said that the cheque had already been sent (and money withdrawn from my account).  The only way was to print out an indemnity form and send the form and cheque back to them, pay the cancellation fee, and then they would credit the money back to my bank account!  So now waiting for the cheque to arrive so that we can send it back!

Saturday morning, went to pick up the car, nice and early.  We were very pleased with it.  I bought floor mats and then a rubber boot mat (at the advice of mum).  They fit perfectly Smile  Then drove the car back and let Julie practice her driving.  In the afternoon, we went to K-mart and bought a windscreen shade.

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R&R 6–I ate

Saturday – Snack at Qantas Club Sydney

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Saturday night – Bakkutteh at home in Perth

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Monday – lunch: 순두부찌개하고 떡볶이 at Tookbaekee2

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Monday – Summer Sunset burger and chips at Grill’d.20130624_195503

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Tuesday lunch – Roast pork and roast duck with egg noodle soup at Golden King BBQ Morley.

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Tuesday snack – Half price waffles with cream with Gelare

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Tuesday dinner – BBQ at Sinabro with Alex, An, Tony, Marina.

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Wednesday breakfast – Salmon at home.

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Thursday lunch – Nandos Mild Half Chicken with Large Chips.

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Thursday snack – drink at Dome.

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Karaage Roll and Katsu Roll.

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Miss Maud’s Cheese and Bacon Pie.

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Thursday dinner – Curry Mee at Ipoh Corner, Northbridge.

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Thursday dessert – Pralines ‘n Cream and Wildberry Yoghurt at Baskin Robbins, Mt Lawley.

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Friday lunch – Massaman Curry with Ian at Plenty, Shafto Lane.

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Friday End of Pho-nancial Year – Pho with Pho-riends at Phong Vinh, Northbridge.

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Friday Original Waffle with Icecream at Superstar, Northbridge.

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Saturday morning Chai Latte at Dome, Mount Lawley.

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Saturday night snack at Qantas Club, Perth.

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Breakfast in the plane, Sydney to Noumea.

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XPan Scans

Collected my photos from the shop yesterday.  Higher prices, different lab operator, dust, expired film, attempt to correct in Lightroom.  I left the sprocket-holes on. I give up for now.  Here they are (I’ll fix them up next time).

Sydney, August 2012 – When I went to the French Consulate for my visa application.

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My second R&R in January, we went South.

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Photo excursion with Paul and Constantine. (Sunday 26 May?)

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Photo excursion to Malabou with Paul, Constantine, and Delon.  (Sunday 9th June)

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Farewell Cheers Brie, Malabou Beach.  16th May

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Hello Sydney (for 2 hours!)

I boarded the plane in New Caledonia, and pleased to find that I was seated in an exit row seat!  I have a preference for window seat, but that was occupied by Chairman Strobele, so I sat in the aisle seat I was allocated to.  We did not talk much.  I was surprised that he was in economy class as well!.  I will see him again in 2 hours as we board the flight to Perth! 

Anyway, time to eat!

Swing 6 is over.

It’s strange.  I slept late and when my alarm went at 4:30am this morning, I jumped out of bed and was energised, I’m coming home!

I usually sleep earlier, and get up later, and struggle to get out of bed.

It must be the excitement.

My flight is scheduled to depart at 12:30pm, so I’m sitting at Salon Hibiscus, eating, drinking, and writing.  However, I can’t eat as much I would like to, because I had enough time this morning to have breakfast, and I also packed snacks for the ride to the airport.  This time, the van could seat 9 people, and there were 8 people including the driver (rather than having a 50 seater bus to myself like last time!).  Fortunately, I was in the front with the driver, so I had a lot of space!  The reason I sat at the front was because when I got to the van, there was another guy seated at the door and I didn’t want to ask him to move, so I sat at the front Smile

It’s boarding time soon, so I better post this before I pack up.

Here’s some quick photos from the week.

A crunchy green peach from Mathias.  It was sour, but also very sweet Smile

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Glimpse of slag tapping between the buildings.

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I helped someone move to another office.

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The power went out…

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Liam and Ray at the favourite concrete block waiting to go to lunch.

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Thursday night burger

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Friday lunch at the Chinese canteen.

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Serious rib-man.

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and here I am.

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Swing 6, Week 3 and 4

It’s been two weeks since I last updated this!  So let me try to recall what happened, and review!  I’ll be using photographs to trigger memories, so I’ll show them here as I go through.

Here’s my half desserts at lunch on Monday 3rd June.

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On Saturday night before leaving work, I left my CO monitor on my desk.  On Monday morning, it was no longer there, someone had taken it.  On Wednesday, I requested another CO monitor from safety.  I went to a meeting in the morning, and since I wasn’t using the CO monitor, I put a chain through it and locked it to my desk.

After the meeting, I got back to my desk and Boon started rummaging through my papers, I asked him what he was looking for, and he said CO monitor.  So I turned to where I had locked my CO monitor, and it was gone!  Looked up, and this is exactly what I saw…

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My CO monitor, chain, and lock, around Brian’s neck!  Champion!

After lunch on Wednesday, we saw that it was snowing again (foam).

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On Wednesday evening, I attended Boon’s “body blast” session, but left early to have a shower, then go to dinner, then to bible study.  After bible study, dropped by the pool room, where many of the Queenslanders were watching state of origin rugby.

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I didn’t stay for long, so walked back to my room.  On my way back, I walked past some TV rooms and saw a Chinese man watching TV by himself.

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On Thursday, I steelcapped Ray’s head with a spoon while he ate watermelon.

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That’s not my hand.

After lunch, on the way back to work, I saw the safety guys hiding behind a bush policing traffic again.

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At site, I saw that the light cover had melted off.  The area was barricaded because the slidegate guard cover was removed.  The heat from the slidegate melted the cover.  We had it disconnected and removed.20130606_145331

Then at night, had burger (Thursday night!)

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On Friday, had the first walkdown in line 2.  It was interesting walking through there, it felt like going back in time, as if seeing line 1 in construction.  Line 2 is just like Line 1, replicated.

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Everyone ready to walk-down!

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Then had lunch.

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With Dan.

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On Saturday morning, we had another walkdown for a different system.  Walking through the workshop, we got to see the slag haul truck up close.

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When we had to cross the slag haul road, we had to wait for a slag haul truck to pass.  So took a few photos.

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It was Saturday, so… icecream at lunch!

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Saturday also means Ray working super hard and finishing late.

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In the afternoon, I was given the task of transferring a pressure controller from line 2 as the one in line 1 was broken and there was no spare!  Though I had the signed off papers, I still felt like a thief, removing the installed pressure controller and bringing it over to line 1!

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Alliance-cat was around.

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I like to poke it’s face.

Boon is a thirsty man.  He needs to hydrate every single muscle.

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On Saturday night, I had the task of… finding someone and asking him to go to site, as he was needed!…

And then it was SUNDAY (9th June).  Photography outing!  I went with Paul, Constantine and Delon to Malabou beach hotel.  Most of my photographs were taken with my XPan and MP, so no photographs to show until I get them developed in Perth.  I took a few photos with my phone.

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They were keen nature photographers, photographing birds and spiders.

We then had lunch at the hotel.

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I had a horse burger.  Hamburger cheval!   It’s not really horse – just a burger with an egg on top which you put inside the burger after being served, leaving the top bun oily!

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After lunch, we walked around and took more photographs.  Out of interest, I recorded some of the bird calls and played them back and the birds were responding to it.  Tried it a few times, but hopefully not enough to destroy them.

We walked along the beach.

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Over a shaky wooden bridge over water.

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Through some bush, and then arrived at another beach I have been to before!

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There were signs that Orientals had been at the beach.  Their temporary writing now permanently frozen in my image.

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Then we made our way back, having a few stops along the away to take photographs of giant spiders on power lines.

NEXT.  Swing 6 – Week 4!

On Monday evening, on the way back to my room, I dropped by the gym and saw everyone working hard inside.

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Got back to my room, changed and then went to the gym as well Smile

On Tuesday morning, safety officers were breath testing us as we boarded the bus!

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Going to lunch, this man was picking his nose infront of me.

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After lunch, I went to stick some safety signs up.  I saw that the HMFD stack in line 2 was lifted in place!

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I took some photos then heard some shouting.  My name was being called from far far away.  Can you see him in yellow? haha…

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This is Boon’s office with a cool sign.

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I was told that there is evidence of people still urinating on the columns at site (smell and puddles), so I made some signs…

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On Tuesday, I went to the gym, then straight to dinner, then straight to French class.  I was the only student, so it was like 1-1 tuition! yay.

On Wednesday, I joined Boon’s body blast session, then went to bible study.

On Thursday, I had a burger, and skipped the gym!

I was tested for cannabis and alcohol on Friday, but, I am ok.

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On Saturday night, after work, and after gym and dinner, I joined a few others LAN gaming!  We played Open Arena, DOTA, Tower Defence, and Counter-Strike.  Finished after midnight (even though my eyes were burning, it was raining heavily so we couldn’t leaveSmile)

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Then I got back to my room, took some photographs of myself.  This is me, after 35 days of not shaving.

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Using the scissors I borrowed from the office, I began to trim.  Once it was short enough, I started shaving, while on Skype with Julie.  I tidied it up this morning (you can see that I didn’t get enough sleep).  A few others of us also having fun like this today.

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So, today, Sunday.  We went to Malabou Beach for a massive cheers.  Farewell for Liam, Liam, Mitchell and Daniel.  The bus departed site at 8:30, and made it’s first stop at the supermarket.

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Then I fell asleep and woke up just before arriving there.  The bus driver was very skilled in manoeuvring.  At first, we brought us to Malabou beach hotel, but Mitchell told him that we wanted to go to the beach next to the beach hotel.  We’ve been there before and I think even we were scared going over the steep slopes in the car.  The bus driver is pro.

We had a brie.  Most of the photos taken with XPan so I’ll show you in a few weeks once they are ready.  Here’s some photos with my phone.

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Good time.  The bus brought us back, I slept most of the way.  Woke up to smell vomit.  Daniel had vomited in the bus…

[6-2] Another week past.

Apparently people who tried to leave on Sunday last week still could not get home due to the roadblocks.  I heard that on Monday, the strikes were over.  The Sunday flight from Brisbane was cancelled, so people who were meant to come back to site on Monday, could not.  Except those coming from Sydney, like Ray Smile

This is Kyle at the gym, working hard.

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A quick summary:

Tuesday dinner:

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Wednesday, on the way to lunch, lots of people at the bus stop.

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Wednesday lunch.

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Clouds on Wednesday evening.

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Wednesday dinner.

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Wednesday body blasters.

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When I woke up on Thursday morning, I saw a notification on my phone that a new firmware was available.  When I got to the office, I plugged it into the computer and let it install.  Then got to try it out, quite cool.

Later, there was a seating rearrangement at the office, so I had to move seat.

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Friday 31st May breakfast.

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Comfortable posture.

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On Friday, after lunch, I went to the infirmerie as I had disturbed throat, sniffing and coughing.  Was given some medicine.

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The green one tastes really good, I like to drink it.

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I didn’t want to get up this morning (Sunday), but couldn’t help it.  I played a bit of games then went to breakfast.  Not many other people were around, either working, or camping.

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After breakfast, I saw there was a fire truck right outside my room.  Must be for the fire alarm that was sounding all morning.  Even my room fire alarm was playing up last night, at 10pm, ringing for a second!

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Then today, we played games! Basically from after lunch until dinner time.

Then Boon at dinner:

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