Sunday, August 12, 2007


Catching up

It has been an exhausting few months, with little time for home, leisure or any other of life's pleasures. The pressures of the project have magnified for a number of reasons, and the imminence of the opening of our first regional centre in Lattakia has added to the tension. The fact that we have got content work going on in Canada, software development in the UK, graphics in Egypt, and interactive exhibits in Germany all for this one installation just adds to the - erm - interest.

The discovery centre had had a commitment of government funding for the building, and we have recently being trying to put all of this into an agreement which reflected that public money would be spent, but kept us free from government interference. This has got more and more complicated, with more and more senior politicians and legal advisers involved, so that I recently despaired that we would ever be able to keep government cooks out of the Massar broth. However, in some respects at least we now seem to have some productive options which, if not perfect, are at least not a disaster.

Circumstances have also pushed a lot of recruitment back my way which is actually quite enjoyable, but very time-consuming and draining. However, we have already found a number of good candidates for roles in the organisation, so with luck we will keep our momentum going.

While all this is going on, I have also been looking at apartments as my current apartment (which it turns out I was occupying without any proper lease agreement) has just been sold. Two bedrooms, one very small - $1.2 million!! Prices are just ridiculous in Damascus now. Anyway, there has been a rather fruitless trawl round alternatives, many of which are just not suitable, while those that might be are filled with abominable furniture and fabrics. One decent but expensive apartment looks possible right now, so I am keeping my fingers crossed. It is unsettling knowing that you have to move out of your home without anywhere else to go.


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