Friday, August 03, 2007

Shaken, Not Stirred

It seems that things are heating up in the country as we move into the second half of the vacation months.

On the one hand, the weather has decided to roast us alive. Last night, around 7h pm, it was a murderous 35 Celcius (95 F). I was feeling weak and disoriented, especially since I'd been in those high temperatures since coming home from my AC-cooled office.

Of course, it's hurricane season. Last one was Chantal, but we've moved on to another one in-the-making. Though it should mostly affect the South of the island, it's giving me the worse heatwaves!

I'm also worried about heartquakes. We've had consistently high temperatures so the danger, IMO, is there.

But people are also trying to roast my mind. Here's an overview of the last few weeks:

- My phone is still dead. It's been almost 6 months. I actually got a bill for 992.34 gourdes (about $28). I wrote to them to say I didn't appreciate the joke. I have little hope of the situation changing anytime soon since the head of the state phone company has been trouble from disgruntled employees.

He's been interviewed over and over again over the massive firings going on. Can you blame the guy? When he came into the job, the co had 5,000 employees. Among them, eight (8) doctors, including a gynecologist and an urologist!!! He says he only needs between 750, but is willing to go up to 1,200 employees.

I think he's serious. There's even an ad in the papers looking for a company to restructure the IT department. The proble, as always, is the other people. The director publicly admited that the reason only 25% of the 150,000 land lines in the metropolitan area are working is good old sabotage. I'm pretty sure it's true since a LOT of people suddenly lost their phone service at roughly the same time.

He also promised cable internet for next summer. Oh, I want, I want! But will he (and I) get it? Let's wait and see.

- Major corruption/criminality crack down. Two high-profile business men are being questioned by the police over allegedly selling a man a car that had skipped the whole customs thingie. They seem to have even forged the official papers and signatures. The poor buyer got the surprise of his life when officials refused to give him his car.

Notice my very diplomatice/professional tone. That's because I'm jaded, baby. I don't believe the officials are clean, I don't believe the car dealers are clean, I don't believe this is going far. Unless somebody big has it in for the dealers, this all will die down soon.

Oh, the government is running anti-corruption ads but it's a pot and kettle situation, as far as I'm concerned.

On the other hand, the US DEA has been fishing for drug dealers left and right. Lawyer-types and the common man are incensed at this intrusion. I'm pretty sure some sort of deal has been signed.

Maybe I'm imagining things but isn't surprising that the IADB just gave us $12.5 million US, lump sum even, for "restructuring the government"? And promising us more next year?

- Mr Big Stuff UN is in town this week. You can tell by the volume of UN in the streets, especially when they are blocking streets without any explanation. Mr BS has been up down, crosswise this city. He met with Rinse Repeat first and that was fun: each was talking his own spin and I was LOL myself breathless.

Oh, people are in a tizzy. Mr BS said the city is dirty, people got upset. He said the UN isn't living any time soon (if ever), people got mad. Big Stuff says that they'll not be living until things got better "in the long term".

Rinse Repeat especially doesn't seem to agree with the UN issue. Nationalists agree with him, it seems but what's anybody doing about it? When they first came here, people said it would be for 10 yrs. After that press conf, maybe we should double that estimate...

We're also getting a new head of the MINUSTAH next month, a Tunisian diplomat. He's the first North African in the job. So now we are switching the hot chili peppers for harissa.

- The house of representatives has flushed the Culture Minister. They say he did some funny stuff with the Carnaval money. Rumor has it that Rinse Repeat himself told the Culture Min that he SHOULDN'T give money to the different elected officials usually envolved with Carnaval money ie the mayors, representatives and others.

Today, in fact the President is meating with the House. Is he giving them what-for? or just cold hard cash? Rumors are flying. Some say Rinse Repeat will NOT get rid of his BFF Minister. Others think this is the beginning of the end for either Rinse or the House.

See what I mean when I say my brain is set on broil? And we haven't even got to the State Examen Results yet. School is in a little over a month away. Gas prices are high, there's very little electricity, everybody is broke (ok, that's not new).

I need a liquid nitrogen bath, quick!

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