Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ridiculous Day

Dinner was at a nice place but we were sitting outside with the mosquitos and cats. The dinner meeting was a good one for all of us. One of Prof Febrin's friends from Sweden wanted to see the shake table at Andalas. He is an architect who is interested in making base isolators from old tires. This was very good for Fengky and I because we have been wondering how to get the hand auger and related equipment from Andalas to the city. I went to sleep with hopes of a very productive day ahead.

This was not to be the case. I woke up and could not open my bathroom door. The lock was stuck for some reason. I ended up waking up one of my neighbors and he helped me open the door. The lock was definitely broken. I finally got to use the bathroom and was all ready to go. I got out to the living room and Fengky informed me that one of our friend's father had passed away earlier that morning. And so we were going with the construction clinic staff to visit her house instead of going to Andalas.

We hurried over to the clinic but no one was around. The driver was there though so Fengky made another change of plans. We picked up the Swedish guy and took him to Andalas. We got the soil equipment along with one of the lab technicians who would accompany us for the rest of the day. The soil equipment is heavy and is too much for one motor bike. The lab tech has another motorbike but he thought that we would be using that car for the rest of the day so he hopped in the car with us. We dropped off the Swedish guy back at his hotel and then got to the construction clinic only to find out that the staff had already left. So we got the driver to take us to UNP, one of the potential sites.

I feel like I should write this up for WormsEye, the Arup geotech newsletter because the whole day and investigation was just so ridiculous. We marked out a spot and waited for Fengky to get permission for the investigation. When we finally got the go-ahead, we started digging and found lots of coarse sand. It was all going well until one of the officials came by and told us that the whole campus is sitting on about a meter of fill. So we tried to dig pass this only to encounter lots of pebbles at about 70cm down. The official then informed us that there was about 40cm layer of rocks between the fill and the original soil. I don't know why he didn't tell us before we started digging. Then he told us that the soil closer to the street is not fill.

At this point, it was noon and the mosque nearby started its call to prayer. It was really loud so we had to stop work anyway. So I waited for the guys for about an hour while they prayed. Then we found food and ate for another hour. We then moved everything to the front of the mosque and was all ready to start exploring. We poked at the ground with a metal stick and found that there was lots of rocks and concrete underneath the grass. We think this part of the yard was part of the original road. So much for doing a thorough desk study before going out to investigate.

By this point, we had gotten a message from Professor Febrin about the seismic CPT equipment that UNP has. He gave us a name so Fengky and I went to the civil engineering department to look for her. She wasn't in but we got her phone number off of someone else.

We called the construction clinic driver to take us back to the university but he was unavailable. So we took a taxi to the clinic to wait for him. But when we got to the clinic, the guys wanted to try to take the equipment on one motorbike. I really think we could've waited for the driver or gotten another taxi but they were sure they could do it. I ended up taking two of the pieces to the university on angkots. These pieces were heavy because they are solid metal. I was glad that there were no sudden stops on the angkot because if anyone ran into the steel bar I was holding, they probably would have had to go to the hospital.

When I finally got to the university, we found out that some of the professors are taking all the equipment to do some investigations about 10 hrs away. They wouldn't be back until Saturday. It took forever for me to find out when they would be back. We wanted to do all the investigations before Ramadan and that's why I flew back from Java early instead of attending the conference. Somehow it doesn't seem to be such a big priority for them even though they are the ones who will be fasting the entire day.

This was probably one of the most ridiculous days I've had so far. I ended the day with bakso at the place across the street and uploading stuff about last week at an internet cafe.

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