My activity at work over the last week has been a blur. Unfortunately, I will never forget the events which have transpired, but hope they will mold me. Perhaps one day, I can reminisce and share in an epic rigtale. However, for the time being, it will be a story I keep to myself and share only in person. Next month, I have another round of training in Oklahoma. Today at the office, I see my Palestinian co worker who has just returned from training in the states.
“How is America?” I ask him.
“It’s good. It’s green. And trees everywhere, It was scary. You can’t pass through them or see in front of you!”
This week is the second holy day, Eid Al Adha. When I was young, we separated the holidays as “Big Eid” and “Little Eid”. This is the Big Eid. Of course, as an oilfield hand, I will be offshore, celebrating the holiday in my holy blue jump suit, gazing at the water and day dreaming of a simpler time.
It is not Monday yet, so I still have the weekend to preemptively celebrate alone before work takes over. I took myself to Red Lobster. I backed a little bag with my Kindle, a journal, Vogue magazine, sketch pad and pencils. I will celebrate the holiday by inspiring my creative side with a seafood feast.
I grab the first taxi I see and say “Take me to Red Lobster!” The cabbie does not know where Red Lobster is…. I have the web page open on my phone, and like two lost teenagers roaming the city, we set out to find the restaurant. After driving in circles, we pull over to ask a starbucks worker. Eventually, my carriage pulls up to Red Lobster and I skip up the stairs announcing to the hostess table, “A booth for one, please!”
Reading my magazine and devouring an entire basket of cheese biscuits, I feel at peace and ease with all my life choices which have led me to this point. The Filipino waiter makes a concerned face as he takes my order.
Laila: I’ll have the Lobster tail, Scallops and shrimp. Instead of rice, may I have shrimp alfredo pasta. And a side of crab legs.
Waiter: This will cost extra.
Laila: Yeah, just bring it.
…20 minutes later…Food is on the table
Waiter: Do you need help cracking the crabs?
Laila: No, thanks.
*Waiter stands patiently by the computer and discreetly watches me clean three plates of food in less than 15 minutes*
In 30 minutes, my plane landed in Manama and I spent 36 hours among family. This little excursion reminds me that home is never too far away. While work is conusming and hardly allows for time off, I hardly need time off when my family is so close. Flying to Bahrain from Qatar requires far less effort than going anywhere from my previous station in Houma.
Saturday, I came back to Doha to tackle the post job and begin prepartions for the next trip to the Rowan California. My focus train was cut short, as MightyMouse had other plans. I left Monday to come offshore and stand-by for a possible tubing cutting. This job was promised to last one day. Per usual, it has not. Rather, I am trapped on this rig and using the time to read and study the new tools I will be running.
Cell phones are strictly prohibited offshore. They seize them at the heliport. I have found a way to smuggle mine. I quite simply tuck the phone into my pants and hide it there until I reach the rig. The metal detector always chimes as I walk through, but no one will ask or search me. In this instance, I don’t mind taking advantage of being female in a society where everyone is afraid of females…. When you treat people with different rules, they abide by different rules.
This is the door to my room on this rig:
This photo was snapped illegally with a contraband cell phone.
I also spent some time today staring at the calm sea. I watched schools of fish swim in a line circling the rig. Occasionally, they would all flock to a point, and turn around to their place in line. No fish dwells on that spot, but they all go look at it for a second. I wonder what they are doing. Every once and while, a fish will jump out of the water.
I snap another illegal photo…
The fish can be seen clearly with the naked eye. However, the cell phone does not capture the fish as clearly. Please note the red circle directing your attention to one of the fish.
This rig is operated by Qatar Petroleum. There is another Qatar Petroleum rig nearby. A fellow Whataberger crew is occupying that rig. Last night, we attempted to see each other by standing on our respective helidecks. It is just too far away to see a person. I am going to procure binoculars as part of a basic maritime kit for all the engineers so we can communicate offshore when our rigs are close by.