Thursday, October 13, 2005
Astronaut, Cosmonaut, Taikonaut
Yesterday, China launched its second manned spacecraft into orbit, where it still dangles on the time of writing. Maybe I should wait with this comment until both astronauts – sorry – taikonauts have safely returned, but it’s one way to deal with overpopulation. I just don’t see the point of building huge rockets, why didn’t they just build a human pyramid? I’m very glad that the Chinese government stated that the space program serves peaceful purposes only. They could have fooled me with those two fighter pilots saluting to the shouting four-star general while a small army of high-brass onlookers applauded in rhythmic unison, all of them standing straight and ignoring the light snow shower.
I also made the final arrangements for my coming voyage today, although it’s slightly less spectacular than being fired on top of a huge rocket containing tonnes of liquid hydrogen and oxygen. I’m going to Niger in November. If you don’t know where that is, just turn left after the rail road crossing, drive in the direction of the highway for half a mile and then ask anybody for Africa. Niger is very poor and very sandy, with more than three quarters of the total territory being part of the Sahara desert. It will be my first mission in my new job, and I’m going there to prepare a new development programme and the development of a monitoring system to evaluate capacity-building activities for local NGO’s. Sounds boring enough? Well, what do you expect, it’s a business trip! And I’m looking forward to it anyway, because I’m more than fed up with reading very boring reports and situational analysis documents as I have been doing for the past three months or so.
But I’m especially looking forward to the weekend at the Belgian coast that’s coming up. For the first time in months, my girlfriend and I will spend a weekend without paint brushes, sanding machines and plaster smearing. No DIY stress, fresh fish, long walks, fresh shrimp, staying in bed all morning, fresh mussels, playing on the beech, fresh crab, having a drink and so on. The whole family is invited to celebrate my father’s birthday. He will hit the big 6-0, or as they say in Antwerp: tram 6 is passing.
So all together: Hip Hip…