Saturday, March 13, 2004


Saturday, March 13, 2004
10:55:00 PM CST

13 Mar 2004

Sorry Deb, didn't mean to make you cry. You know already that sometimes I just need to bleed on paper. It's my way of bleeding out the poison that has pooled in my system. In any case, I'm over it. Dan bowed to Tony for the sake of peace, but I've got Mom's and Dad's stubborn streak that makes me stick to what I believe in. Screw him. Don't need him, don't like him, his loss and his embarrassment.

Volunteered to take a group to the military airport at BIAP --MAC BIAP (Military Airlift Command - Baghdad Intl Airport) so that they could catch a flight down to Kuwait. Allen had me drive so that I could remember the way. See, MAC BIAP is around the back side of the airport. The route there is as circuitous as the route my Dad used to take to O'Hare Airport in Chicago. Route 83 to Irving Park Road to Mannheim Road to I190 west to the terminals. Dad used to say, "I won't pay to use the tollway! The roads should be free. Damned crooked politicians." As if the first Mayor Daley, Richard J., was getting a kickback or something. Wellllll, let's not go there. Chicago politics kind of have a history, don't they. I only voted once in the last election. So did all my dead great grandparents! I'm keeping them honest. One grave, one vote.

The road to MAC BIAP is like following an old Indian path through the forest. Remember your landmarks and everything is ok. Got there in plenty of time. They got on the manifest for the flight and made checkin. I even made it back to Victory with no problems. Took my 2 mile or so run around the small lake and then the second group needed to go.

Got the second group there and the first group was still sitting there playing spades. Their flight was delayed due to plane repairs. The plane hadn't even left UAE (United Arab Emirates) which is a two hour hour flight. So we made a run up to BIAP over to Burger King to bring back burgers since noone had had dinner. Estimated time of arrival still unknown.

By the time we got back with the food, the plane had left and was due into Baghdad about 2030. Roll call at 1930 and they are as good as gone. Now for the trek the dark.

The trip always looks different in the dark. Guess that I forgot to mention that the area around the airport on this side is a "kill zone." Force is authorized. This is due to the fact that one of the prisons is right along side this far side of the airport. Add to this the extreme darkness, no street lights or reflectors, road bumps (not marked or painted yellow) to manage speed on the road, two traffic circles in the middle of nowhere that just pop out in front of you and a section of gravel road at a T intersection. It's like a live video game. Did I mention that this is the side of the airport that usually takes mortars too? Really, it isn't that bad, it is just all the factors together manifest themselves in strange possible scenarios in your little head when you haven't driven down this route in the dark and ALONE!

The trip home went very easy. The only scare came at a left turn at the end of the wall. I saw two semi's looking like they were going to turn down the T intersection I was turning left out of. No signals, but noone uses signals here (just like those old men in hats in Arizona, huh Deb?) so I wasn't too concerned. As the semi starts his turn inches away from my door, I realize that it isn't a semi, but a tank. No, two tanks turning with only just enough clearance from my door as to not squash me into the size of a can of tuna.

Fianlly got to the highway. Noramlly, on the highway, we are accustomed to watching out for objects in the road. Stick to the center lane. See, these kooky Iraqis have taken a liking to hiding explosive devices in ordinary items on the road side like in boxes and in dog carcasses and such. Obviously it's similar to a trip to the grocery store in suburbia. You have to just try not to be too schitzo about the dangers, but remain cautious and alert. Made it home safe and sound to Victory. See, just like a video game. Advance to round 3.
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