Thebastidge: Catching up
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    ********************Southwest Washington Surplus, your prepping supply store********************

    Thursday, November 09, 2006

    Catching up

    So last week kinda sucked on some levels. We convoyed up Route Irish on the Rhino to the Iraqi Special Forces compound to install their network. The guys there were pretty cool, and honestly, the most motivated and focussed Iraqis I've seen so far. Besides, SF guys always have good stories.

    The barracks we stayed in was brand-new, but sucked. There was no water in our end of the building for 99% of the time we were there. When there was water, it was a trickle that wouldn't make it up as high as a showerhead, we were squatting to splash water on ourselves from the spigot at knee level. The other end of the building had water most (but not all) of the time, but only enough pressure for one outlet at a time. There were two showers down there, and we were sharing the building with about 40+ Iraqi guys and our crew of 7.

    The crappers were Iraqi-style troughs in the floor, and were pretty ripe with no water. Even before they started being used, they were kinda nasty.

    The first two nights I could barely sleep because of the biting critters in the bedding- I got some OFF and sprayed the shite out of my mattress and slept a little better on the third night- of course, by then I was so exhausted I could've probably slept through a python attack.

    The building we did the work in is so infested with termites they had to come in and drill holes every two feet apart along every wall to put chemical into the concrete. It's also a brand new building. They were installing the electrical as we worked, which slowed me down quite a bit when trying to configure server equipment. They don't run on redbull like the team does.

    I ate Iraqi chowhall food for the first time. The bread is frickin' great. I tell you, Mexican tortillas are cardboard compared to the unleavened bread that Iraqis make. It really is good. They often eat this bread with cream cheese and honey or a type of marmalade for breakfast. It's really fantastic. The other meals tend to chicken or mutton and rice. The rice isn't so great (I'm kind of a rice snob after so many years in East Asia) but the beans are pretty decent-tasting. The meat wasn't bad to taste, but may have been tainted. I tried not to think about the hygeiene standards of the guys who prepared the food. I normally have an iron stomach, but even I had a couple days of 'digestive issues' after eating their chow. Not pretty in a barracks with no water and where you have to squat to shit.

    Still, overall the installation went fairly smoothly. It was the return that took extra time. With Saddam's guilty verdict the day we were to come back, pretty much everything got shut down. Spent a day in the transient tents at BIAP, which was actually better than Iraqi billeting- at least I got a hot shower.

    That was also the day it finally turned cold for the first time. Drizzling, cold-ass rain coming down in occasional heavier showers. It was cold enough to see our breath in the morning. didn't get much warmer all day, but it's a bit warmer now. The State Dept. folks have taken to wearing their business attire again- I guess it's finally cool enough to indulge tribal customs like neckties and business suit jackets again. It's cold enough to make me wear a sweater now even in the daytime unless I'm exercising- like riding the bike I finally managed to get at BIAP. Getting that thing back to the IZ wasn't super hard, but not like throwing it in the back of my pickup, either. It's amazing that it took us a day and a half to go the 10 miles or so from BIAP to the IZ. Welcome to the 7th century, folks.

    Looks like I'll be out for an over-night trip this weekend, and then back here again. Sadly, I've started referring to the IZ as "getting home".


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