Friday, August 27, 2004

Some Things Never Change

Some Things Never Change
20 Aug 2004

Made it in one piece to Kuwait and to Camp Doha, but it seems like the flight out of Baghdad was the only thing that went right. Since Ron and I were the only civilians on this plane, we got dragged along all over creation by our generous Army hosts. I'm used to the usual "hurry up and wait" mentality of the Army, but yesterday seemed a bit more pronounced than I had patience for. Once we got to Doha, we were waiting on a bus while fifty soldiers were to turn in their flack jackets and kevalar helmets. That's when we had had enough. Ron and I finally asked if we could leave the party early and head out since we didn't have to do any of the fun Army stuff.

Finally got over to the Red Cross to use the phone. Called the ITT rep, but he was already off duty for the day, can't incur any overtime to move us around and said that there are busses running to the airport. If we couldn't get a flight out, who knows how long it will take to get over to Arifjan. I say Arifjan since ITT no longer maintains any lodging etc on Camp Doha. Tried to go over to SATO to see if we could get any help with tickets, but since it was after 6:30pm, they were only doing emergency arrangements. Our options were quickly running out and no ITT reps around to help. The military doesn't help any since we are considered no better than step-children to them, so we were kind of on our own at that point.

Ron and I decided to catch the bus to the airport and try to see about any flights out. Well, it seems that the schedule our management gave us back at Camp Victory doesn't begin until after September 15th. The next bus was now in 1-1/2 hours at 10pm. If we can't get out of Kuwait then, we decided we would catch a taxi to a hotel and forget about expecting any help from our employer. Pretty sad that your own company doesn't even want to help you on leave. Do they really want us to come back after they treat us like this?

I was able to get a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt at 1:30am for about $300 more than I would have paid if I could have made the arrangements three days earlier. Problem is that you never know if you are going to make the flight out of Baghdad to get to Kuwait in time for the flight. Screws up any chance of getting reasonable costs on flights. Ron didn't make it out and ended up going back to Kuwait City to make it out the following day.

Running on 5 hours of sleep over the last 48 hours. Landed in Frankfurt around 7am. Went straight over to the train station after customs and was on the first train out to Cologne. Once in Cologne, I knew that I could finally start to unwind some. I have not really been able to sleep for more than 4 hours straight for two weeks. Maybe it's just the excitement of getting away from Baghdad. Bring on the sleep and bring on the beer!
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