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.
We finally got our corrected orders yesterday, and headed over to Ali Al Salem. Upon our arrival, we found out that checkin for the flight to Bagram started in 10 minutes, perfect timing after nearly a week of waiting. Well after schleping all our bags in, we heard a nice announcment come over the intercom saying our plane decided to go elsewhere.
The tents here are MUCH more crowded, but have marginally better A/C and a cement floor. Facilities are crowded, and I didn’t get hardly any sleep due to needing to get up at O’ dark hundred to check on the flight for today (which promptly got canceled just after dawn), and all the traffic through the tent and vehicles schleping gear around at all hours.
The only upside is I probably get to see Heather tomorow as she pulls into Kuwait from Kwaj (Although given the fact I partially instigated her comming here and the CRC/travel sucks, that might not be such a good idea :-p). She’s lucky, she’ll be working here in Kuwait and is mostly done traveling, I have a ways to go still. One of the guys in the bunk finally got his flight after waiting 5 days.
Some of the other ITT people I encountered apparently know my soon to be supervisor (who’s name I don’t remember) and said he’s a really good guy, which is always positive news.
Camp Arifjan, Kuwait photos
No, that’s not a terorist, that’s merely a crazy Puertorican co-worker.
Still no new orders, so were still sitting here at Arifjan waiting to go to Ali Al Salem to get ready to get on flights from which we’ll get bumped by active military personnel. Wind has picked up today and it’s getting really dusty. I can only imagine what these dust storms I hear about are like.
Talked to an ITT guy from Kabul today who’s on base for training. Apparently Bagram and Kabul are about the same for quality of life, but he likes Kabul a bit better. Hour convoy or 15 minute chopper flight from Bagram to Kabul, no clue which one we’ll get.
Â Got a hit from a Raytheon head hunter for PKI stuff in Iraq… well over a quarter mil a year. I’d be sorely tempted on that, but I just signed on with ITT and am not one to bail on a contract, not to mention I’d probably end up seperated from Tera for a year.
Internet options here at Arifjan for us at the moment seems to be $5 and hour to plug my laptop in for good bandwith, or use the heavily locked down PC’s at the MWR facilities with not so snappy bandwith for free. Mostly using the free stuff for now.
Chow is ok, little better variety than I initially thought. It does seem to give everybody rank nasty gas though.
Everybody is really bored and just wants to get to where were going and get settled. Packing and un-packing every day with all the false starts is annoying. At least we get paid for all this. And speaking of getting paid, the first pay check with the sign on bonus just showed up in my account, nice.
Both Tera and my smallpox vacinations are starting to blister and get really annoying and itchy (as expected), hope they run their course quickly.
I’ve got some Arifjan & tent photos, but due to the afore mentioned free vs. paid internet access I really can’t upload them at the moment, but will as soon as I can.
Whelp, I think I’ve rambled on out of boredom enough. If you’ve made it this far, your either very bored yourself or related to me. :-p
Well, apparently our orders were messed up and need to be re-issued, so all of the ITT people bound for Iraq/Afghanistan get another paid vacation day (well, salry +25% instead of salry +70% that we should be getting in Afghanistan) doing nothing. here in hellishly sunny Kuwait. At least the A/C in the tent keeps things cool. Hopefully we get where were going sometime here soon.
Apparently Tera and I are now going to Kabul Afghanistan instead of Bagram. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not, but prior to hearing about our official assignment I’d heard there’s better housing at Kabul.
Found free Internet access at the library in Section 2 (near the CAC office), can’t use my laptop, but it’s fine for surfing and posting. I would post some Arifjan photos, but Tera has the camera and the CF card with everything on it.
General order #1 states no booze or porn, violate it as a contractor, and you loose your job among other things, harsh. Also it’s Ramadan (big Muslim holiday) and if your off-base, there’s no eating, drinking or any signs of public affection during daylight hours. Get caught, it’s big fines, thrown in jail until the end of Ramadan… then loose your job. Really harsh.
2 minutes of Googling yielded a couple possibly relevant links of interest:
Well, Tera and I finally made it to Kuwait after a great deal of traveling. I must say, Ambien really helps make the plane ride go faster and beat the jet lag. As far as Kuwait, all I can say is wow, itâ€™s really a desert & not terribly pleasant. Ya, I know surprise surprise and no duh! I wasnâ€™t walking into this with my eyes shut or anything, but itâ€™s absolutely nothing like I was expecting (not that I had any supremely coherent idea of what to expect). Iâ€™ve been to the desert in eastern Oregon, California & Arizona, and this is something entirely different. For reference, cut to the random CSI (the good original one) scene in the desert, take away 70-90% of the already sparse vegetation and add in a bit more sand kind of like the beach. Itâ€™s dusty here as a result, the air looks about as nasty as it does around LA, only this is from sand not smog (I think).
The Army mess halls so far have been decent, similar or higher quality to Kwaj with a little less day to day variety. For now were in a tent, think MASH with marginally insulated desert tan walls and an A/C unit at each end. Itâ€™s actually pretty cool in here tonight and I might regret having just sheets on the bed and no blanket.
Thereâ€™s always a fine line between giving out info and OpSec (a.k.a being cool & informative vs. â€œI could tell you but then Iâ€™d have to shoot youâ€ or more likely Al Queda comes and shoots me or some body else because I just told them how & where). I try to error on the side of caution, because I really donâ€™t like being shot.
Well, anyways Iâ€™m writing this just before bed and will try and post it tomorrow. There are 2 unencrypted WiFi signals here I can see in the tent, but havenâ€™t been able to connect to either for whatever reason.
Well, the Army has seen fit to declare me valid to deploy to the Sanbox (Tera too). So we should be flying out at some secret time soon, I could give you details, but then I’d have to kill you… and it’s going to be somewhere north of 18 hours of flying and I don’t want to have to fly back just to do that.
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6 shots & 3 vials of blood today, ouch. Only stuff left to my knowlege is the “Death by powerpoint” event that they won’t let you sleep through, and reading my TB test then I get declared Valid (to deploy). I’m hot, short on sleep, and have very sore arms. This sucks, although I’ve been through worse.