Saturday, August 27, 2011

25 Aug 2011

Another entry from the road.  Kandahar was more or less exactly like I remembered it from my prior visit, hot, dusty, and smelly.  The building we stayed in this time was called the Tropicana (last time I was in the MGM Grand which happens to be right next door).  I didn’t have the room to myself like last time but my fellow travel companions are pretty easy to room with so no complaints.  We stayed in Kandahar for a few days attending various meeting and talking to people all over base about some of the ongoing projects that we are working.  I was able to get the short “leadership” level brief on one of the systems that they have over here which was pretty cool and very informative.  I had seen things on that system before but never nearly as detailed. 

I mentioned Kandahar’s legendary boardwalk after my last trip there but was able to experience it a bit more this time.  We ate at the big pizza place one night which was actually pretty good.  The crust was very thin “traditional” Italian style crust while the rest was normal pizza style, nothing to special.  Well aside from that it was Pizza which I haven’t really had any of for a long time so that was fun.  They also have a few ice cream stands which are pretty clutch when it is 110+ out and you’re walking around outside a lot.  We also hit up the TGI Fridays one night for a late night snack and hey why not.  Bit of a disappointment, not that I’ve ever been a huge TGI Fridays fan (cant think of the last time I went to one prior to last week).  Really it would have been awesome but they didn’t have Mozzarella sticks.  The ones in the DFACs just aren’t that great. (buffet style serving of fried cheese has some drawbacks.   No Mozzarella sticks, War truly is hell….

…till you get to the Canadian complex anyway.

Yeah gotta love those crazy Canadians, they have a Tim Horton’s.  If you don’t know Tim Horton’s is roughly the Canadian equivalent of Dunkin Donuts.  Yup fresh doughnuts, mmmm doughnuts.  They were very tasty. 

Not much else exciting happened while we were in Kandahar, spent the days talking to people and the evenings reading or watching movies over in the MWR.  Well I did get to do laundry which while not really exciting makes the last half of the trip much more pleasant.  We didn’t make it on the flight we wanted to so we had to sit around the PAX terminal all day waiting for a later flight but once we made it on the flight went smooth and we got back to Bagram at a reasonable hour.  Flying involves a lot of waiting but at the same time I’m flying through the Game of Thrones series, on the third book already.

We were in Bagram for a few days, we weren’t planning on being there very long but since the whole start of the trip got delayed everything else got delayed which means our reserved flights weren’t an option, more waiting.  The Paladin guys that I’m doing this whole trip with put me up in a pretty nice shack, small but nice.  No complaints.  Also being in Kandahar and then Bagram I was able to get to my email so I was able to help keep up with stuff going on back at C3 somewhat decently.  I think the boss is ready for me to get back, esp since this trip is taking a tad longer than planned.  Oh well

Flying down to FOB Shank the guys we were with had reserved seats on one of the little planes that flies around here and through some miracle we were able to get standby seats on it as well. (they hold less than 10 people.)  Unfortunately about an hour after we got told we were on the flight and everything they canceled the entire flight.  Oh well, more sitting around the terminal.  We did finally get on a flight so it all worked out.  They loaded the passengers first so then we taxied over to a different part of the airfield where they loaded the cargo.  Bunch of small wooden boxes, hmm wonder what that could be…  The flight itself was really short, we ended up getting here right as the sun was going down.  It was a nice clear night and you could see the stars really well which was nice, haven’t had many chances to see the stars while I’ve been over here.  Even saw the milky way. 

Our temp lodging here is pretty nice, we’re in a tent like we were at leatherneck but instead of it being open with bunk beds it has 8 small rooms sectioned off with plywood and 2x4 walls so everyone has an individual “room”.  They are still open at the top and all but it is pretty nice and the mattresses are halfway decent which is always a plus.  We’ve only been here a few days but they have been really productive.  Talked with a bunch of EOD and Engineer guys about what is going on and their equipment needs, got some familiarization with a couple of different robotic systems, got to go check out an aerostat up-close and talk to the guys that work those.  Also today it rained!  This is really the first real rain I’ve had since I got to Afghanistan.  It was drizziling when I got off my inbound flight from Kuwait and then it almost sprinkled a few times at C3, once it even looked like it had rained but I missed it.  This time there was tons of wind, rain, lighting, the works.  It really cooled everything off and the air smells a lot cleaner since there isn’t a ton of dust everywhere.

Yesterday afternoon I started feeling pretty bad, headache and stomach just didn’t feel right so I skipped dinner and just went and relaxed.  I felt a little better this morning but still pretty poor so I did a very light breakfast,  I felt pretty bad all morning and at lunch I had another light meal and they guys said I was pretty pale which Id believe since I felt pretty crappy.  We had about an hour between meetings this afternoon so I came back to the room and took a nap and after that I’ve felt a ton better, not 100% but much closer to it.  Even had a normal dinner.  I’m guessing it was a weak case of food poisoning or something like that, that stuff normally runs it’s course in ~24 hours.  So hopefully I’ll be back to normal tomorrow.  (I’m sure being on the move for the last two weeks hasn’t really be helpful in terms of being well but on the whole not really that big a deal.)

This should be my last entry from the road for a while, I’ll probably post these entries once I get back and then I’ll start back up with my “regular” updates.

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