As we mentioned in the last post, Trigon is supporting USAID/Jordan in providing construction management/program management (CM/PM) services for two major school construction and expansion programs: the Jordan School Expansion Project (JSEP) and the Schools for a Knowledge Economy Project (SKEP). Our lead staff have headed to Jordan to get the project underway. We decided to ask each of them to share their thoughts on traveling to Jordan and the travel experience.
First up: Greg!
I’ve spent up to two weeks at a time OCONUS on projects before, including our work in Palestine with the USAID/West Bank and Gaza Mission. However, my time in Jordan will be much more extensive. I am looking forward to meeting and learning about a new client, trying to understand their major pain points that resulted in the creation of the project we are starting, and helping to minimize or eliminate these issues.
Personally, I’m looking forward to exploring a new location (I’ve never visited Jordan before) and experiencing the culture here. I am also looking forward to seeing many old friends and former colleagues and employees from our previous work with the West Bank and Gaza Mission. I’ve already been in touch with a number of them, and we are planning to get together soon.
I usually don’t have the best luck with flights but overall, my flights over were fine—though it would have been nice for a shorter route and better seats! I had to fly from New Orleans to DC (Dulles), then to Vienna, Austria, and finally to Amman. No extra leg room on any of the flights and certainly no first/business class here! Fortunately, my longest layover was only about two hours, so I didn’t have to sit endlessly in either Dulles or Vienna.
It’s always interesting to see how things operate with different airlines and at different airports. While waiting on my plane in Vienna, we were in a relatively small boarding area but it had five (5) gates and all of the gates had planes scheduled to depart within about 20 minutes of each other! It was chaos in there, as there was not nearly enough room for everyone to stand in the area much less be lucky enough to get a seat. And then when it came time to depart, it was every person for him/herself to get through the gate, at which point we squeezed onto buses, packed in like cattle. The buses took us to our plane out on the tarmac and when the doors open it was another free for all to get on the plane with no airline attendants or anyone directing the action. With boarding stairs going up to entrances at both the front and back of the plane, it made for some interesting people dynamics trying to get to their seats from both directions. But in the end, everyone survived and we departed on time.
The weather was refreshing in Vienna and we boarded the buses and plane outside, which explained why so many people had jackets and coats, unlike me. A nice 50 degrees and sporadic light rain was a welcome change after leaving the heat and humidity of New Orleans at mid-day.