Work, But Will It Work?

        I’m half awake as we’re driven from our Nurpur guest house to the site of the first install, and boom: the driver whacks right into a cow’s ass. And a bond is formed: I laugh so much at this that the driver decides everything I do is funny. Our verbal communication is limited to “Cow? Boom!,” but this doesn’t keep either of us from finding the other hilariously goofy.
        The first install is proof of Murphy’s Law. Apparently, CD drives are a rare delicacy here: the guy assumed when we specified that the computers needed CD-ROMs we meant one drive in the entire lab. Meanwhile, the software I planned to install would have loaded smoothly only if we had a CD drive per computer. Long as in a 12-hour day story short, the teacher at the school flip-flops between wanting different versions of windows and we end up leaving him a kick-ass lab of 8 machines with windows xp, office, and an addictive suite of freeware “educational” games.
        Interesting interruption is the press conference. As with many things on this trip, I have no idea what’s going on: smile and nod is my routine, and I end up getting a cool native hat out of it. Actually, it takes a few tries for me to get the hat: the first 2 they give me (in the middle of the press conference) are too small for my head, so they send a guy into town to find a larger one. Fortunately, I’m the goofy American and thus too different to ever be embarrassed:)
        And I feel like shit. Easily the sickest I’ve been in years, my throat hurts, I’ve got a headache, and my sinuses are so clogged that I can’t hear right. Grinning, popping some Tylenol, and bearing it out of guilt that we haven’t done any real work yet this trip gets me through the day, although I do just have to laugh at the wonderful timing my body exhibits.
        I realize this trip’s backwards: tourism, press conference, and then installing a lab. Whatever: as long as we get it all done well, it’s all good.
        Mad exhausting day and then a lengthy drive to Una, site of the next day’s install. Needless to say, I sleep through most of the car ride and want to pass out promptly upon arrival. But Sameer’s dedication compels us to stay up for several hours working on the software image that we’ll deploy copies of the next day. By the time we’re finishing up, it’s around 3 or 4 in the morning and a bit of a farce: I literally fall asleep in between pressing buttons on my computer, queuing files to be burnt to CD and then shutting my eyes before I can click burn. Sameer claims he woke me up several times to ask me what to do next and that my answers were accurate, but my recollection of this is more than a bit woozy...

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