Linux / UNIX keyboard.

Requests For Quotes

Metito Overseas, Limited
THE BAHRAIN EXCAVATION

So there I was, minding my own business, when Metito Overseas, Ltd, a construction company based in the United Arab Emirates, shows up asking me to submit a quote.

Not a quote to sell them a dozen stainless steel urinals or other industrial toiletania, as is usual with these irrelevant requests for quotes, but a quote to undertake a major construction project at the Bahrain national airport.

Really.

I couldn't just ignore this one. It took me a while to get around to responding, but eventually I did, attaching a number of pictures that seemed to help illustrate my quote.

But first, below is the request they sent.

From mohammed.faour@metito.com Thu Nov  5 03:38:40 2009
Received: from metito.com (83.111.176.51 [83.111.176.51])
	by service43.mimecast.com;
	Thu, 05 Nov 2009 08:39:19 +0000
Received: from [192.168.1.58] (account mohammed.faour HELO LAPDOH970003)
  by metito.com (CommuniGate Pro SMTP 5.2.13)
  with ESMTPA id 33733; Thu, 05 Nov 2009 12:37:26 +0400
From: "Mohammed al faour" <mohammed.faour@metito.com>
Subject: FW: Lavatory service pit
Date: Thu, 5 Nov 2009 11:38:40 +0300
Message-ID: <003a01ca5df3$603fa3e0$20beeba0$@faour@metito.com>
X-Mailer: Microsoft Office Outlook 12.0


Dear Sir

We are water treatment co. in GCC , you can visit our www.metito.com we
are quoting for one project in Bahrain Airport & we are looking for the
following to be quoted by your co.


1-   Lavatory Service pits ( Vacuum & Flushing ) 25Nos

2-   Potable water pits         25nos

3-   Please see the attached specs .  ( Airplane Model - A 380 8 nos (
Lavatory pit & Potable pit )

B 747 8 nos  ( Lavatory pit & Potable pit )

B 737  9 nos ( Lavatory pit & Potable pit )

Your immediate reply would be highly appreciated .

Regards

Mohammad Faour 

Here is the attachment they sent.

Yes, it is just a fragment of one page.

Yes, the top of this page is missing, along with who knows what else.

Click here or on the picture to see the original.

Request for quote from Metito Corporation for the construction of 25 lavatory and potable water service pits at the Bahrain airport (PDF file).

The request from Metito for a quote for the construction of 25 lavatory and potable water service pits at the Bahrain airport, click to see the original PDF file.

It seems to be missing at least section A and the first of section B. It starts in somewhere in the middle of section B with:

POTABLE WATER PITS

Supply and installation of potable water pits including supply valve and connector, return pipe connection with check valve, 20 m long hose, shut off valves all necessary accessories all as specified.

C Potable Water Pits 25 No

VALVES

Supply and installation of all necessary valves and vents on potable water and blue water piping systems including drain valve pits for the system for propoer [sic] operation.

D Isolating, pressure reducing and drainage Valves on the distribution network 1 LS

VACCUM [sic] AND LAVATORY SERVICES PITS

Supply and installation of Lavatory vacuum and blue water pits including vaccum [sic] valve and connector, flushing Connector and valve, chemical pipe connection, wiring to SMS, twenty meters of flexible duct and all necessary accessories all as specified.

E Lavatory Service Pits (Vacuum and flushing) 25 No

Below is what they received in return, with the several attachments sprinkled in as appropriate (many are thumbnails here with larger versions available when clicked).

Gentlemen --

You recently requested a quote:

> Dear Sir
>
> We are water treatment co. in GCC , you can visit our www.metito.com we
> are quoting for one project in Bahrain Airport & we are looking for the
> following to be quoted by your co.
>
> 1-  Lavatory Service pits ( Vacuum & Flushing ) 25Nos
> 2-  Potable water pits         25nos
> 3-  Please see the attached specs .  ( Airplane Model - A 380 8 nos
>      (Lavatory pit & Potable pit )
>        B 747 8 nos  ( Lavatory pit & Potable pit )
>        B 737  9 nos ( Lavatory pit & Potable pit )
>
> Your immediate reply would be highly appreciated .
>
> Regards
>
> Mohammad Faour
> 00974 5562797

I apologize for the delay in assembling this quote, but it was only now
that we find ourselves in a fortuitous confluence of events.  It could
have been a grim and savage business getting the laborers into place,
but as detailed below, things are now well underway!

We have found in various projects in the past that building permits in
your part of the world are, to be frank, an enormous pain and sink of
baksheesh that is best avoided.  Our usual mode of operation is to start
the project "on spec" as it were, hoping that initial stages go well
and meet with your approval.  The quote then becomes one for the
(relatively inexpensive and short-term) completion of a project already
largely completed at extremely low cost to us given our innovative labor
and material delivery.

Reviewing your requirements, and to clarify the following, you asked for:
25 lavatory service pits and 25 potable water pits, divided into aircraft
type and configuration as follows according to your RFQ:
 * 8 Airbus 380
 * 8 Boeing 747
 * 9 Boeing 737
In further detail, as per your PDF attachment 20091103151536617.pdf,
the lavatory service pits should include lavatory "vacuum and blue water
pits including vacuum valves and connector[s], chemical pipe connections,
wiring to SMS, twenty meters of flexible duct and all necessary accessories
all as specified".  The potable water pits each need "supply valve and
connector, return pipe connection with check valve, 20 meter long hose,
[and] shut-off valves [and] all necessary accessories all as specified".
Plus one master "isolating [and] pressure reducing and drainage valve"
connecting the water pits to the water distribution networks.  I assume
that you realize that the top margin of your document and any preceding
pages were cut off when you scanned it into a PDF file, but the meaning
of the various columns is quite straightforward.

Now, the plumbing details may well make up the bulk of the specification
details, but these requirements are easily met.  The much greater difficulty
in a project such as yours is the production of the pits themselves.  Here
is where you will find that our operations exceeds your expectations!

The first problem is cutting a clean pit perimeter into the existing airport
tarmac.  Our demolitions expert, Rudy "Fingers" McGee, has a great deal of
experience in this area.

Note that his nickname is not, as is common in his field of work, an ironic
reference to past mishaps.  No, through his meticulous attention to detail,
Rudy has all his appendages.  His colorful appellation instead refers to
how he supported himself throughout the early 1980s by picking the pockets
of tourists in Amsterdam, his adopted home at the time.  He does keep his
skills sharp, an ability we find very useful when in need of certain
documents from uncooperative government officials.

Anyway, by the mid 1980s Rudy had moved on to concentrate on his greatest
interest, explosives.  And he found work in a number of very interesting
and successful, if unattributable, projects.  For example, you don't really
think that in 1989 those East Germans really dropped several kilometers of
a highly reinforced Soviet-built wall in just a few hours using nothing
but hammers and some gardening tools, do you?
Rudy 'Fingers' McGee, explosives expert, clandestine operation ID picture.

Rudy "Fingers" McGee, ID picture from the Sverdlovsk Gambit.

Map of Bahrain showing the airport and quiet coastline and beach south of the point of Ra's Hayyan.

Map of Bahrain showing the airport and quiet coastline and beach south of the point of Ra's Hayyan.

Using that same system he pioneered then of a long thin cloth tube filled
with thermite and tied to a length of detonator cord to be fired precisely
2.6 seconds after the thermite burn begins, a precise outline of the needed
pit can easily be melted and cut through tarmac.  (Rudy is perhaps overly
fond of thermite and in need of creative outlets, so if you have any
superfluous radio towers or chimneys you need dropped, please let us know.)

Rudy should already be in Bahrain as he has been operating in the region.
If some Iranian hydroelectric projects mysteriously suffer catastrophic
failure when taken to just 70% of their original rated capacity, well,
consider it a presentation of Rudy's bona fides, although of course we
can't openly take credit for what will certainly have been a tragic failure
of what appeared to be quite sturdy construction.  Your border control
people might have noticed an inbound crossing by someone with papers
documenting an Albert Giardino, one of Rudy's favored noms de guerre.

Once the tarmac is precisely cut, the brute force work of pit excavation
begins.  We shall apply a technique frequently employed in the region,
the manual labor of indentured servants effectively owned by the Saudis.

The problem of getting manual labor from Saudi sources is that, to put
it into aircraft metaphorical terms, the choices are:  Outright Purchase,
Wet Lease, and Dry Lease.  And the obvious problem with purchase of their
human chattel is that the Saudis insist on initiating a paper trail, the
very sort of thing that attracts busybodies like Amnesty International,
Human Rights Watch, and so on.  Really, you would think that they have
something better to do than harass businessmen simply trying to tap the
vast manpower owned by the Saudis.
Map of Central Africa showing the location of the undocumented cluster of Chinese nickel, titanium, and uranium mines.

Map of Central Africa showing the location of the undocumented cluster of Chinese nickel, titanium, and uranium mines.

As for the metaphorical "wet lease", that is, the leasing of the labor
and their support in nutrition and potable water, that is just an
invitation to be overbilled by the Saudis.

No, the only way to go is the "dry lease", renting the labor and providing
for their support.  The dry lease model has worked well for us in the past.
Adequate food and adequately potable water can be obtained quite cheaply.

Fortunately, some of our Chinese colleagues just happen to be returning a
appropriately sized cadre of Saudi-owned laborers from an officially denied
and undocumented road construction project in central Africa.  That project
put in a road from a new Chinese-operated cluster of nickel, titanium, and
uranium mines to a newly constructed and exclusively Chinese port facility.
As they were about to ship the laborers back to Saudi Arabia, we have simply
extended the lease with the Saudis and transferred the laborers to this
project.  As part of the deal, the Chinese shippers will deliver them to
a quiet stretch of Bahraini coast south of Ras Hayyan within the next
ten days if all goes according to plan.
Workers in an undocumented Chinese uranium mine in central Africa.

Workers in an undocumented Chinese mine in central Africa.

Undocumented Chinese open-pit uranium mine in central Africa.

Undocumented open-pit Chinese mine in central Africa.

Expect to hear a distress call from a vessel identifying itself as the
Chinese M/V Kwai-Chang Caine, and urge your Coast Guard to be less than
usually vigorous in investigating this call.
'ManPak' shipping containers used to transport Saudi-owned slave laborers.

"ManPak" rail-mounted shipping containers used to transport Saudi-owned slave laborers.

The alleged Chinese freighter M/V Kwai-Chang Caine preparing to drop undocumented workers in ManPak containers.

A vessel that at times misidentifies itself as the Chinese freighter M/V Kwai-Chang Caine.

'ManPak' shipping containers used to transport Saudi-owned slave laborers.

"ManPak", truck-mounted.

Unshored pit dug in the ill-fated Royal Kuwaiti Garden project.

Unshored pit like those dug in the ill-fated Kuwaiti Royal Garden Irrigation project.

The Bangladeshi laborers are being shipped in Chinese "ManPak" containers,
a clever system using standard shipping containers subtly ventilated and
cunningly equipped with floatation and stabilization devices.  They can
be lowered directly into the water by crane and towed to the shore with
small motor launches.

The Chinese have found that 70 men of slight build can be shipped for
two weeks in a ManPak with losses of 5% or less, but we are giving them
the relatively opulent packing of just 40 men to a container, the better
to bring them to the work site in useful condition.  An additional
advantage is that the workers will be fully heat acclimated after their
months in the Congolese jungle.  This won't be like that ill-fated
Laurentian Shield Expedition of the winter of 1992-93!  Really, who
sends Bangladeshi indentured laborers into far northern Quebec in the
winter?  And the goals of that project were questionable anyway,
half-burying school buses in the muskeg bog well north of the tree line.
Three ManPaks at 40 men each yields 120 laborers, or ten 12-man teams.

Excavation brings a risk of pit collapse and worker loss.  No doubt you
are familiar with the debacle of the Kuwaiti Royal Garden Irrigation
Project undertaken by a competitor of our a few years ago.  It was
shocking that they lost all but the three laborers who happened to be
laid up with dysentery at the time (and it is mystifying to consider
just what it would take to waylay Bangladeshis with dysentery).  Our
competitor's error was in dividing shoring and digging into two separate
teams.  A digging team that is responsible for its own shoring will of
course be far more careful!

Now, to get the pipe and pipe fittings to the site.  A U.S. government
agency's proprietary operation known as Conjectural Technologies and using
the cover of an obscure contractor providing extreme condition testing for
Rolls-Royce Aircraft Engines needs a history of legitimate work in the
region.  This means that they will work as a subcontractor for a very
low rate.  We have worked with them in the past (CT, that is, not RR),
they are quite competent.  Given some favors owed our operation by a
certain Emirate further down the gulf coast from you, our air assets are
effectively free -- hence our ability to get the project underway "on spec".

You may be concerned about possible mishaps with covert aerial delivery
of large amounts of iron pipe, and I would assume that you are thinking
of the ill-fated 1988 Harare Pipe Drop.  The controversy was out of
all proportion to any physical damage done, and I must side with those
analysts who said that there really was no significant damage done: the
defects in the parliament building's roof were pre-existing and due to
a long lack of scheduled maintenance.  The ironic fact that one of the
pipes happened to skewer the corrupt defense minister's limousine like
an over-sized martini olive was undoubtedly the sole cause of the ensuing
excitement.  While it is fortunate that the limousine in question was
sitting empty at the time outside the apartment building where the
defense minister's mistress lived, one can't help but speculate whether
the following spring's border incursion into Malawi might not have
happened had the pipe drop gone more smoothly.  Well, live and learn.
Low-altitude high-speed cargo drop from a Hercules C130 cargo aircraft.

Very low altitude cargo drop using parachutes to slow the pallets.

Holland M Murdock, expert pilot, clandestine operation ID picture.

Holland M Murdock, ID picture from the Sverdlovsk Gambit.

Rest assured that we have learned from mishaps in the past, both ours
and those of our competitors in this field, and high-altitude pipe drops
will not be a part of this project.  No, this operation calls for a
high-speed low-altitude pipe drop.  What's more, our chief pilot in
this project, Holland M Murdock (formerly Captain, USAF, discharged from
active service under obscure conditions), has suggested a four-plane
sequential drop.  His illustrious background in low-profile unconventional
air deliveries gives us high confidence in his plan.

The first drop will happen forty minutes after the last scheduled arrival
has cleared the runways and taxiways.  If that flight keeps its schedule,
this would be at 0210.  Our inbound aircraft will identify itself in
rather excited Korean as an obscure Korean cargo line (Murdock being
fluent in Korean thanks to close to a decade with a Korean common-law
wife).  Korean airlines are notorious for confusing runways with taxiways,
so the misalignment of the flight will not be remarkable, although the
maintained high speed will be unusual even by Korean standards.  The pipes
will be strapped to soft wood pallets that will be slid out the rear
cargo ramp at high speed and an altitude of 30 meters or less.  Our
experience in this area is that the soft wooden pallets will be completely
reduced to splinters on contact with the tarmac at a velocity well over
300 kph.  The pipes will follow a straight trajectory, not quite aligned
with the taxiway and rapidly slowing and stopping in the exterior-side
sand.  Given the complete darkness at the time of the drop, it should be
quite spectacular with all the resulting sparking of high speed iron pipe
sliding across pavement.
ILS approach plate for runway 12L at Bahrain airport.

ILS approach plate for runway 12L at Bahrain airport.

ILS approach plate for runway 30R at Bahrain airport.

ILS approach plate for runway 30R at Bahrain airport.

Visual approach plate for Bahrain airport.

Visual approach plate for Bahrain airport.

Ground chart for Bahrain airport.

Ground chart for Bahrain airport.

The key, as Murdock has pointed out, is to then make second and third drops
(of similarly spectacularly sparking metal pipes) at ten and twenty minutes
after the initial drop (nominally 0220 and 0230).  Rapid sequencing strongly
discourages close investigation.  The local authorities will wait until first
light to venture onto the field lest their vehicles be skewered by the sudden
arrival of yet another drop.  Meanwhile the forewarned Bangladeshis will have
just enough time to recover each set of pipes before the next drop.

The fourth drop, scheduled for 30 minutes after the first (nominally 0240),
will be of telephone poles and surplus railroad ties and short rail segments
rather than pipes.  The rail segments and ties and telephone poles, all of
the poles pre-cut in half into lengths of six rather than the standard twelve
meters, will be used for shoring.
Surplus rail and cross-ties.

Surplus rails and cross-ties.

Surplus railroad rail segments.

Surplus rail segments.

Surplus railroad rail segments.

Surplus rail segments.

The key is to make the drops on the taxiway centerline and shatter the
pallets, so the pipes, poles, ties, and rails slide down the tarmac and
off to one side.  In the Bougainville project, half the pipes were lost
in the deep mud so prevalent in New Guinea at that time of year.  And
the typhoon, which was just starting (that project was plagued by poor
timing) delayed the resupply flight by three weeks.  By then a new cargo
cult had formed.  A few dozen native cargo-culters were killed in the
second drop because they had painted themselves white and laid on the
tarmac as if they were stripes, so as to propitiate the Gods of Cargo.
While the tribe accepted the loss as divine retribution, the local
authorities were unhappy with the resulting media attention.

Our loadmasters, responsible for precisely timing the drop of the pallets
out the rear cargo ramps, have trained under Eugene Hasenfus himself.  If
you know your 1980s Central American history, and I'm sure you do, he is
the guru of precisely dropping unusual cargo into tight spots from
unlighted aircraft.  Yes, he also has a problem with remembering not
to talk after capture, but then he wasn't supposed to have been wearing
a parachute on that Nicaraguan mission and so his post-crash behavior
should not have been an issue.
Bhendi Bazaar in Jaffa, site of the Sri Lankan Bus Plunge.

Bhendi Bazaar in an area with much wider passageways, several blocks distant from the target structure.

Map of Sri Lanka.

Map of Sri Lanka showing the location of Operation Sri Lankan Bus Plunge.

Our last operation involving both Hasenfus and Murdock was the somewhat
mysterious (at least to the outside world) Sri Lankan Bus Plunge in late
2004.  Murdock's reputation is that he can fly anything with control
surfaces, but he was sorely tested this time.  A large bus, significantly
reduced in height by an excited driver's attempt to pass under a low bridge,
was dropped onto an LTTE regional headquarters.  One key to accurately
dropping a rear-engined bus is to roll it out the cargo ramp nose-first, so
it enters the airstream as essentially just a heavy diesel engine with an
empty chassis forming relatively light stabilizing "tail" behind it.  The
tail section of a Cessna 172 was fastened to the front of the bus (which
would, of course, form a tail for the bus once in flight), controlled by a
modified model aircraft control system.  A video camera mounted just above
the engine linked a "pilot's-eye view" back to the virtual bus flight deck
on board the dropping cargo plane, from which Murdock "flew" the bus.

The drop was from 9,000 feet for three reasons: high enough for a nearly
vertical terminal trajectory, low enough that a skilled drop artist like
Hasenfus could put it within three city blocks just from physics alone,
and allowing just enough time for Murdock to get the feel of the very
limited control and hopefully nudge it to the specific building, a
converted school making up an entire block within the tightly packed
Bhendi Bazaar district of Jaffna.
Practice drop for the Sri Lankan Bus Plunge.

The result of the one practice drop for the Sri Lankan Bus Plunge.

Aftermath of the Sri Lankan Bus Plunge, emergency services working at night.

Immediate aftermath of the Sri Lankan Bus Plunge, with emergency services working at night.

It was a spectacular success -- Hasenfus nailed the small "drop window" for
deploying the bus at altitude, and despite some initial worries, Murdock
managed to guide the bus almost exactly into the very center of the target
building.  The relatively delicate Cessna tail section and associated
electronics were completely obliterated in the passage through the roof,
the top floor gymnasium, and the five floors of school rooms converted to
offices and storage areas below that.  The LTTE operation was destroyed,
and the Sri Lankan police adamantly insisted that it was "a simple bus
wreck", despite the bus's entry clearly being through the roof and the
building's location within a densely packed market with the nearest
passageway wide enough for a rickshaw some three hundred meters away.
Aftermath of the Sri Lankan Bus Plunge, destroyed buildings.

One block from the impact point of the Sri Lankan Bus Plunge.

Aftermath of the Sri Lankan Bus Plunge, collapsed LTTE headquarters.

Near the impact point of the Sri Lankan Bus Plunge.

Aftermath of the Sri Lankan Bus Plunge, destroyed LTTE headquarters.

Near the impact point of the Sri Lankan Bus Plunge.

Aftermath of the Sri Lankan Bus Plunge, destroyed LTTE auxilliary vehicles.

LTTE auxilliary vehicle destroyed in the Sri Lankan Bus Plunge.

As for the valves, elbows, angles, tees, and other fittings, they will be
threaded onto the ends of the pipes in the first three drops.  While rubber
encasement

	(as employed in the successful Operation Pakistani Ball Drop)
can be used for valve delivery, it is far better in your case to attach
them temporarily to pipes.  Rubber balls containing valves and other
fittings are hard to contain when dropped at high speed into in a flat
and open setting such as yours. 

	Operation Pakistani Ball Drop
was a high-altitude drop into an urban setting, an entirely different matter
when dropping heavy iron pipe fittings encased in hard rubber balls.
Bahrain airport plumbing details: CIS interface.

CIS interface.

Bahrain airport plumbing details: Plumbing elbows.

Elbows.

Bahrain airport plumbing details: Plumbing fittings.

Additional fittings.

Bahrain airport plumbing details: Plumbing tie-in point.

Plumbing tie-in point.

All that remains is installing the pipes in the pits and plumbing them into
the existing infrastructure, plus making the electrical connections to SMS.
Those are, relatively speaking, minor details.  When we have a more concrete
estimate of the cost of that step, we will be back in touch.

Bob Cromwell
Other forms of nonsense