Back in Baghdad

We’ve arrived. Thank goodness! It feels so good to be back. Its humid, damp, not exactly cold. Actually pretty warm compared to Afghanistan.

The flights were long and I couldn’t sleep. Probably because of some amount of exictment over getting back to Curtis. Also, might be due to the fact that we were jammed into the back of the airplane like sardines, with all our gear (body armor, helmets, bags, etc.) strapped to us.

Pictured is us in the back of a C-130 preparing for flight. We didn’t have our helmets on…shame on us! We’re rebels…um, not really, about as rebel as I get is jay walking. We were just chilling inside the plane for quite a while. Apparently, the pilot wanted to pass out candy. Nice timing I wanted to comment.

Negative ghost rider…

We’re still in Afghanistan. We check-in with the terminal every morning at 0600 and every night at 1100 to see if we’re on a flight, but we continue to get NO as the answer. So we’ve been unpacking our stuff from the car and repacking it. We have to have our stuff ready for both of those check-in times, just in case they have room for us on the flight. All we can do is try everyday and hope to get out. I’m pretty surprised its taking us this long to get out. Popular time of year for the soldiers to take R&R, I suppose. It just sucks, because I’m ready to see Curtis now!

Hello Kuwait? Maybe.

Less then 24hrs and we’ll be on the bird heading for Kuwait. Hopefully, I should say, as flights frequently get reallocated for other missions or canceled. But we do have reservations so with a little luck maybe will get out of here. Packing has been a nightmare. We’ve had mission work to finish up and at the same time get all of our sh*t packed. But we’re almost done and ready to rock. Actually, correction, KFB has been ready for days now. I, might have, um, procrastinated a little (but only a little). Who enjoys packing anyway!

All in all, Afghanistan has definitely been worth it. But there is no doubt that there are certain things that I won’t miss. I won’t miss cold showers or the lack of sleep. I won’t miss driving 5 mph everywhere I go, or being unable to workout. But I will miss seeing the mountains everyday when I wake up. The people that I work with are great. And seeing all the foreign military support here has been very motivating.

So hopefully within the next day I will be arriving in Kuwait. And then a few days later, into Baghdad!

Pimp my ride

I finally did it. I got on the camel. I have to admit, I was fairly nervous. I had to use a giant pedestal to hop on his back. Then I leaned in, to throw my leg over his hump, and the camel turned his head around and barred his teeth at me. I thought it was going to take a bite out of me!

It took me awhile to get the hang of it. I couldn’t figure out how to sit on the thing. And the guide didn’t speak English. Errr! But after a number of readjustments of my legs I was able to semi-figure something out. I bet I sure looked like an idiot trying to figure it out though! Afterwards, KFB informed me that quite a crowd had gathered to admire my riding expertise. He said he could see the envy of my riding prowess gleaming on their faces. I’m guessing hes mistaken and they were probably thinking “what an idiot” because I kept trying to slap the camel on the arse (pointless, btw).

In all truth, it was an awesome ride. More comfortable then any horse I’ve ever been on. The camel just kind of strolled along, as if IT was enjoying the beautiful day. The ride was so comfortable actually, that I would consider purchasing a camel (if I had some practical use for it – which I don’t :( ). Do people buy camels for leisure?

Coffee Nights or substance abuse?

To field the unit we’ve been working on, we’ve had to shift to nights the last couple of days. And as such, to keep my engine running I require a lot of coffee. Well, multiple coffees actually, and then a little banana shake on top of that. :) A girl’s got to do, what a girls got to do.

Before February of this year, I rarely drank coffee. But over the last 8 months I’ve found my requirements for the fix becoming increasingly strong. I wouldn’t say its an addiction but when you wake up one day and you’re ordering a ‘Triple Macchiato’ times 2…..yeah…it starts to sound like a habit that won’t easily be broken.

I guess part of me feels that its justifiable – or I’m probably just rationalizing here – that because of the ridiculously long days, everyday, that that somehow entitles me to have a dependence. Most of my co-workers smoke, Curtis has his Mountain Dew craving, and then theres my new found obsession with foofoo coffees. But really does it? And what constitutes abuse, when you can’t live without it? When you start to require it to accomplish minor tasks…hmmm?

Afghanistan is a lot different then Iraq. Today I fielded computer systems to a unit and the commander told me that he was going to use our computer systems to find the bad guys and kill them. He then leaned in and said “Don’t you fuck it up.” I swallowed – probably a little bit of fear – and then answered him with my best fake professional smile. Assuring him that we would not ‘fuck it up’.

Its amazing to know that our systems really are helping to get the bad guys. I may not be supporting the war in uniform, but I’m still supporting it, just in a different capacity. Other then the twinge of fear that this guy would and could put his foot in my as*, I felt a moment of pride, knowing that we’re doing the right thing in being here. Even if sometimes I don’t want to be.

One week left!

Roughly seven days left, depending on how hard it is to get a flight out. And it can be fairly difficult to fly out of the Afghan.

I guess in way you could say I’m going home. Iraq is where Curtis lives. Its where my books, clothes, scrapbook, and new guitars are. While on R&R I bought an electric and acoustic guitar and I haven’t been able to play either… :( I do have a practice guitar though (pictured) but its just not the same as the real thing.

Anyway! Seven days…not that I’m counting or anything. Plus a few days in Kuwait, and then back to Baghdad!

What would you do with your connex?

Per request, here are a few detailed photos of what they use the connexs for. The top right is the backside of our shower trailers. The bottom right is latrines – men and womens. The top left is just supply and then the bottom left is housing units. They stack them on top of one another and put beds and latrines inside.

You know, kind of makes you wonder….if you could have a connex, what would you use it for? Storage, Mini-Garage, Hot tub holder, Connex house (for kids, instead of tree house), FEMA living quarters, portable Pizzaria, mobile library for schools, connex derby’s or dominoes? The possibilities are endless! Any thoughts?

Connex

Here in Afghanistan they use Connexs for everything. There are hundreds and hundreds of them everywhere.

They are used for housing, toilets, supply, storage, working space. I was shocked the first time I walked into one and found a bed, a TV, an A.C. unit and other personal items.

I guess more shocking is when they’re used for latrines and showers. When I go to shower every morning, I’m showering in a Connex. There is – amazingly – alot of room in there. Only four showers and two sinks but a shower is better then no shower at all. A couple of my friends are part of a unit standing up a new remote base and they have NO showers! Eck! Imagine 15 months of water bottle showers.

Texas Hold ‘em

Wooohooo! I love poker. To unwind once a week the team and I will get together with some other folks and play Texas Hold ‘em. We’ve only actually had time to play twice since we’ve been here in Afghanistan.

Its a $20 buy in, 5 players. Last week I came in second and walked away with $30. Today I came in 1st and walked away with $80! I know its not much but, I ain’t going to lie, it sure felt great to win!

I have some friends that play for thousands of dollars…not me! I’d rather gamble with the stock market any day – even with all its instability of late.

Mostly I think we all enjoy playing so much because it reminds us of home. We buy near beers, chips, pizza and play with realish poker chips.