Cool Stuff / Pictures and Places

A Bucketful of Sand

The grains of sands in the desert are too numerous that it is virtually impossible to measure them even in metric tons. Be that as it may, but my consolation lies in the fact that I can always have a bucketful of sand and put it in my own little corner. Visiting the sites in the desert and capturing the moment is fascinating. In retrospect, the trip was worth every single minute.

Last February 6 to 8, 2011, the HR Department visited the western frontier of the VAOS fields: Zella, Ghani, and Jofra. Like the previous site visitations, the purpose is to announce to the junior staff the salary adjustments effective January 01, 2011. This is an important step to achieve pay equity and eliminate professional jealousy among the employees. The aim is to adhere to the “equal pay for equal work” philosophy of the company. As we said before, this is part of the HR initiative to enhance the company’s competitive edge by aligning a crucial factor in the business equation: to attract, retain, and motivate the workforce. This is critical in a sense that if you have the right talent in the right job doing the right things the company is in a better position to deliver more value to its customers.

In Zella Field – We took the ZOC afternoon flight. The touchdown at Zella airfield was good and we were met at the airport by Mr. Karl Oitzinger, Zella Camp Supervisor. From the airport, we drove to Zella camp to meet the junior staff at around 6:30 PM. Incidentally Mr. Karl Oitzinger is celebrating his 25th year with VAOS. He is really special in the sense that he is one of those few and rare roughneck who started their career early and yet still have a good mileage left in them. I would like to commend him for his dedication, hard work, and service to the Company. Way to go Mr. Karl!

Another employee, Mr. Pacifico Belegal, was celebrating his 20th year anniversary with VAOS. However, he is still on his field break as of this time. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his loyalty and service to the company.

The valley of kings in Jofra/credit: VAOS desert trip

The valley of kings in Jofra/credit: VAOS desert trip

In Jofra Field (Harouge Oil Operation site) – The next day, Mr. Alban Krasnici, site coordinator for Ghani and Jofra fields, fetched us from Zella. He took us to Jofra for a short pre-lunch meeting with the staff. Along the way, I saw a cornucopia of interesting sand formations. Some were shaped like a table top, some are like small hills and others are shaped like small plateaus. The rock deposits at the bottom of the formation have interesting color variations. Some are greenish, others are blackish, and others are reddish. Makes me think this humungous breadth of sandy formation we call desert was probably once part of the great oceans millions of years ago. How the mighty waters subsided over the years is a phenomenon in itself.

After the meeting we had a short lunch before we travelled to Ghani. The lunch in Jofra was a delight. Thani the Thai Administrator and I have a wonderful time. The steamed rice, oriental soup, vegetable salad, and chicken curry were mouth-watering. For a moment, it was a gastronomical retreat for us. Silence enveloped the kitchen except for occasional hissing of the frying pan, the crunching noise of masticating and clinking of the cutlery in action. I secretly wished for a 30-minute siesta afterwards but I was disappointed. Better luck next time, I surmised. This is work. Sometimes there are wishes which are not meant to be granted.

credit: VAOS desert trip

credit: VAOS desert trip

In Ghani Field – We hit the road right after lunch via the famous Jofra highway, a 30 kilometers makeshift road in the middle of nowhere. We joined Mr. Artan Krasnici, Jofra site coordinator for Jofra, in his rugged Toyota pick-up. The ride was bumpy but soon we emerged at the junction before turning right into the blacktop road.

Ghani rock formation credit: VAOS desert trip

Ghani rock formation credit: VAOS desert trip

The luscious aroma of brewed coffee in Ghani was tempting. I took another look and then decided to deny myself a second serving. It was a small victory over self-control. Since there is still ample time left before the meeting, my Boss decided to do some side trips and explore the countryside.
Sightseeing is part of the trip – Many times, I’ve heard this phrase before. Indeed when one is in a different place or when one is in a different surrounding, the natural instinct is to observe and discover the new surroundings. Mixing work and adventure once in a while is good especially if it lifts up the spirit, eases the mind, and brings peace to your inner self.

I love the countryside. This is where man meets nature in its primal, naked state without the trappings of sophistication that so often pollute the pristine environment.  While we are on top of the spectacular fortress, I can’t help but wonder why it was built in the first place.

credit: VAOS trip

credit: VAOS trip

From atop the tower, we sit and wonder in amazement at this magnificent structure. In my own small world, I have added another bucketful of sand. And I meant to keep it to remind me of those poignant memories that I consider a treasure – hidden in those small and insignificant grains of sand.

credit: VAOS

credit: VAOS


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