So this past week I finally moved out from the staging area on The Palm crescent to the World Islands
, where we’ve been putting together the massive amounts of product we have over there. We get there via a boat, which we dub “the mothership” that is a speedboat usually around 25′ long with enough room for our equipment and the 9 of us. The trip takes about 20 minutes and then we transfer off the mothership to our smaller Zodiac-type inflatable hard-bottom boats that can carry 2 people + equipment or 3 people with no equipment if needed. But we have enough for 2 people per boat. Some boats have 15HP engines but most of them have 10HP. Depending on the engine and weight we can skip along at 15-25mph. They are a ton of fun to drive around, but just as fun to ride too since you have to sit upon the bow to keep the boat level on a plane for top speed, holding on to the ropes and leaning back out over the water racing under you. For short trips we can sit facing forward, the bow rides high enough you can sit with your legs dangling over the water. Riding solo, blipping the throttle makes the boat stand up so much it’s just like doing a wheelie on a dirt bike and it can be tough to get it to plane out for a fast ride, you sometimes need to cut throttle and get back on it and actually surf your own wake when it catches up to you. It’s tricky. Once I managed to surf a wake wave from the mothership as she rode past. No one has capsized yet but riding single in the 15HP boats has led to some close calls! If you don’t lock the engine steering down tight the boat can start to oscillate side-to-side like the steering forks of a bike prior to high-siding the rider. Some engine problems have caused us to break out the paddles a few times.
One of the awesome things about working on The World (other than getting to drive around in boats, and staying relatively cool throughout the day thanks to being near the water) is that here is where they will be firing off several 24″ shells during the show. They are actually making them out there and we’ve spent some time with the guys working on them and learning about the process, it’s really cool. These things are massive
. They aren’t close to the biggest shells ever fired but until now the largest shell I’ve been around was a measly 8″. These things will end up weighing around 170lbs, will take 11lbs of black powder to lift half a fricking mile high and they will break about just as wide, containing various effects within 0_0 I don’t know yet where I will be stationed out on the islands during the show but I can tell you these things will be impossible to miss. I’ll have my camera recording the whole thing.
We are making good progress each day and I have a good crew working with me. Everyone knows their shit so there’s not a lot of discussion about who has to do what, we all just did what needed to be done and got into a nice routine so everyone was doing pretty much the same thing at each location, which is good because that way you can spot mistakes when you get to a site and realize something you’re doing here is different from what you did at the last location. My captain Andrew and I are both the companionable silence types who prefer to work quietly, throwing out occasional jabs or comments based on what we are doing. The other two, Tony and Tom are who I like call Jabberwockies, since they talk about random stuff just to have a conversation. I don’t mind, since they have themselves to jabber with and I can just toss out an occasional grunt or comment.
We can’t work after dark out there so we’re always back around 5:30 and to the hotel between 6 and 7. This hasn’t left a lot of time for activities after work if I want a good night’s rest but I did sacrifice some sleep this week to go check out the Dubai Mall, which is the world’s largest by total area. While the Emirates mall has the ski slope, this one boasts an indoor amusement park (not as cool as the one at mall of America though), aquarium and ice rink. I’m planning to get back for all three of these at some point – the amusement park has a driving simulator that features an actual complete full-sized car on a full-motion bed, with a large screen in front of the windshield. One of the cars is a Nissan drift-type car and it is right-hand drive so I want to see what that is like.
Another event I was able to catch was Video Games Live
, which I have attended before twice when it came to NJ. I couldn’t buy tickets online because of a consistent registration form error but luckily I remembered to bring my All Access badge I got when attending the first time back in NJ from one of the show producers who is a friend of mine and that let me walk right in and enjoy the show. They played an Uncharted 2 composition, which was fantastic, and had the Silent Hill producer/composer on stage performing with his bad-ass matte-black guitar. He and Tommy did a dual jam during the ChronoCross/ChronoTrigger composition as well. Great show and one of my roommates is a big gamer fan and attended as well for the first time.
So actually today is my first day off, but only because of high winds and rough seas we’re not able to get out to the World Islands. Catching up on some work this morning (including this update) and then heading out with crew mates to check out karting at the Dubai Autodrome
this afternoon. Maybe go skiing or ice skating this evening, or hang with the penguins, or check out the Souks
. So many options! I’m also gathering up people to go see The Hobbit this week sometime. Winds are supposed to return this Sunday so we’ll see if another day off is in the cards…