Well, most all of our important stuff has been packed up and mailed off home or on to Kuwait and were running holding pasterns. Hopefully we’ll be in Kuwait by Tuesday. I get to set off on a 20,000 mile journey 3/4s of the way around the world and back, Tera will only be doing about half of that for now.
Between sitting down with nothing left to do and panicking about list minute stuff we can’t do yet or have forgotten about were kind of sort of not keeping busy. About par for this type of event, but it’s all good.
The past couple days have almost been warm enough to go without a coat, nice sunny & clear. So of course it makes sense that yesterday when I woke up there was about 4â€ of fresh snow overnight.
Nothing really new or exciting here other than the cheap mini-fridge we just got.
Now ordinarily this wouldn’t be too much or a problem, but today is my day off, and I’m here in the room. Apparently when Tera went to work this morning, she decided to lock the door behind her. That too shouldn’t have been a problem, except for the fact I was still in the room, and my key for some reason only works on the outside lock on the door, and not the inside. So here I sit, locked in my own room waiting for Tera to come un-lock the dam door, so I can go pee.
Well, I’ve finally gotten around to up uploading a couple of batches of photos to my photo gallery. Mostly of Kuwait, some of Kabul.
Speaking of Kuwait, Tera is headed there for a training class in a week or so, and I might be going in a couple of days, and again in January. We’ll have to see how all that turns out, going to be a lot of traveling, but the training and certifications will be nice.
It started snowing about 2 days ago and really hasn’t stopped. Unfortunately it’s hovering right around 32 degrees, so it keeps starting to melt off and turning into a slushy mess, and then sticking again. I’m hoping it drops a couple of degrees and everything finally freezes up. It may be a bit slicker, but at least it won’t be so wet and miserable. The fact every square inch of Camp Eggers is paved doesn’t help, it makes for very poor drainage and lots of puddles, soon to be ice sheets.
We did a whole lot of nothing for Tera’s birthday yesterday, especially given that we shifted our days off this week for it. I got her a glass horse & kitty socks, my mom got her a dream catcher necklace, I think the Post Office is hiding anything else that may be in route.
We have a couple of boxes of Christmas stuff waiting to be opened, unless explicitly labeled to be opened early (unlike some people, who open Christmas packages in November). All our boxes have finally been shipped off. Nothing’s been wrapped due to lack of wrapping paper, and shortage of time.
Working 12 hour days wears you out a bit, but then again, there’s not a lot to do on your days off or anything. Burnout of both the short term and long-term variety is not a question of if but when. I’m starting to think about vacation here in a couple months, although I’m sure exactly where or when we’ll be taking it. We don’t get holidays, but get vacation in lieu of holidays so we can end up taking them at a more convenient time in a better location. We should be able to easily finish out this year before burnout sets in.
No clue what weâ€™ll do at the end of this contract, but were not yet burned out and havenâ€™t ruled out another year or anything. Heather and Tom really like Kuwait and have been trying to convince us to head that way next year. Not quite as good of money there, but much better living conditions, and a country you can actually go do stuff in. Supposedly their kitty is enroute as soon as Tony on Kwaj can part with her, so that would bode well for us heading to Kuwait and Spooky.
here at the end of the week I’m heading back to Kuwait. ITT seems to actually provide training for their employees so they can stay current and progress in their careers, what a concept. Well, anyway I’ll be taking a Cisco (networking) class for about a week. And speaking of training, I’ve been chatting with Heather (formerly of Kwaj) while she’s been taking an Exchange class in Kuwait (dam, they really believe in keeping their employees skills updated so they are useful). They are setteling in over in Kuwait and seem to think Tera and I should transfer over that way after our contract is up. Not quite as good of money, but still pretty darn good, and much nicer living conditions.
The kitty, or lack thereof may end up being the biggest factor in where we end up. Allegidly the biggest holdup on Heather and Tom getting their kitty back is a certain cat sitter deciding they really like being a cat sitter. Even if we could get Spooky over here, our room is a little small, and I doubt there’s a vet we could get to, if she got sick. Tera seems to think she’d do fine in the room, and we may be able to get her over here to Kabul, so who knows.
I’ve been messing with some VOIP stuff for personal enrichment and the hope of getting a phone setup sometime. We seem to be getting at least 10% packet loss all the time on this WiFi connection, which really sucks and makes VOIP doubtful. Hopefully I’ll get my WiFi gear in soon so I can tap into the better connection that the NOC geeks have setup at their house a block or so away. In the mean time I’m trying to figure out all this VOIP stuff, which is really cool and starting to get pretty popular.
Apparently I’m rustier than I though. I put up a good showing, but not nearly as good as I would have liked. No worries, there’s a re-match tonight and I’ll be schooling those camo wearing punks at tonights Counter Strike LAN party. There is no force around that can keep geeks from busting out a LAN party.
Well, Tera and I are finally out of tents and moved into our room. It’s pretty tiny (you could probably fit 4 single beds in sideways leaving no room to walk & barely open the door), but it’s not a tent and were together. It’s not the Hilton, but will be more than adequate to get us through this coming year. I saw my breath this morning, it’s starting to get a bit frosty around here. The tents had heaters, but still, I wouldn’t want to be stuck in a tent for the winter (they are tearing them down soon, unsurprisingly).
I just recovered from the
Kwaj Kabul Krud, and it looks like Tera is fighting it now. I’ve been hit with a flu or cold twice now, this is Tera’s first. Given the 38 hours of traveling the first time and finally getting acclimated to the local conditions I think we could be doing a lot worse.
Afghanis still haven’t quite mastered the art of indoor plumbing unfortunately. The frequent lack of traps in drains can lead to some less than pleasant smelling buildings/rooms. The toilets also flush down and to the front rather than down and to the back, which leaves them prone to skid marks.
The Afghanis I’ve met and pass every day are pretty friendly, or at least stoically indifferent, which I guess is the stereotype. Tera has been learning a few phrases in Dari, I’ll probably try and pick up some of the basic pleasantries myself here soon.
Work is pretty good and should be as rewarding as anywhere else I’ve been. I’ll be doing more or less the same thing I have been in the past, a little less systems engineering, more systems administration and actually a fair bit of Cisco/networking stuff.
APO to CONUS
Priority & First Class letters/cards:
- Addressed from 093XX locations: 6 Dec 06
Parcel Post / Space Available Mail (SAM):
- Addressed from 093XX locations: 19 Nov 06
CONUS to APO
Priority & First Class letters/cards:
- Addressed to 093XX locations: 4 Dec 06
Parcel Post / Space Available Mail (SAM):
- Addressed to 093XX locations: 13 Nov 06
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India driving (video, don’t bother on dialup) Ok, granted that video is from India, but add in a couple donky pulled carts and some people crossing the street and it could be from here. Another one, it’s also pretty similar from a different point of view.
Lets just say I’m glad we get chaufered around by a crazy russian employed by ITT. I’m not sure I’d trust any sane person to drive around here. Every contractor vehicle is an 4×4 SUV of some kind. Most of the contractors seem to use something pretty similar to our Toyota Land Cruisers or Lexus, with some Suburbans thrown in for good measure by others. Yes, that means I get chaufered around in a luxery vehicle with an entertainment system in the back of the headrests. We don’t get outside the heavily secured area much, but occasionally have to head to one of the other bases in Kabul.
Most every vehicle over here is diesel, even the little toyota econoboxes. I’d love to be able to import a new Toyota Heliux diesel from here, but unfortunately wouldn’t be able to get it registered once I got it to the states. Some of the toyota mini-vans are even 4×4, wich as funny as it sounds make a lot of sense. Many logging roads I’ve seen are better than the paved main roads here.