Wednesday, February 23, 2005

And the Envelope, Please...

19 February 2005

Whoo-hoo, vacation day at last. Lee Ann, who is leaving country and I went to BIAP to manifest to get the heck out of Dodge (no pun intended since I only live in Dodge and she lived in Freedom Village) right after we got off of mid-shift on Saturday morning. Normally, you manifest about 24 hours ahead of when you want to go out. But, the woman behind the counter suggested that if we could, we might want to try to get back and try to hit the 1300 schedule. Lee Ann looked at me and said, “I’m game if you are.”

What the heck, so we get to Kuwait a bit earlier and sit around, but it sure beats the heck out of sitting around BIAP and not getting on a flight and worrying about being up all hours of the night waiting for availability! I’ve driven people out to BIAP before at 0730 am only to find that they weren’t able to catch a flight until the next day or late, late that night. Spending the night at BIAP is not picnic.

We went back to our trailers and packed up in a hurry. Lucky for us, we got on the 1300 to Ali Al Salem. Finally took off around 1600 to a rather windy and rough ride. So rough in fact, that some stomachs were not quite up to the dips and such. Keep in mind that flying in a C130, it is pretty stinkin loud that you get earplugs because the engine noise is so loud in the hold. Add to that, the tight flight pattern into and out of Baghdad, things can get a bit hairy. Let’s just say that it isn’t anything like a flight on a 777 into O’Hare. Although, suspicions are that some of the pilots get a real charge out of dramatizing the flight pattern. Good thing I got a cast-iron stomach.

We are about 15 minutes into the flight and bouncing up and down and Lee Ann hits me on the leg. I look at her and she is pointing across the aisle for the envelopes stuck between a support across from us. It was like a kid reaching for their favorite cereal while seated in a grocery cart, hand stretched out opening and closing in the direction of their desire. She didn’t quite know how to get out of the seat belt (which are a pretty funky set-up if you’ve never been on a C130).

Finally, I understood what she needed (duh!). So I unbelted and reached and got two envelopes containing the much needed barf bags with only seconds to spare! Don’t think I will ever be able to quite think about Subway sandwiches in the same context after that one.

We did make it safe and sound into Ali Al Salem and back to Building 18 on Camp Doha (aka as “the ITT Hilton”) by around 10 pm. Guess now I have to decide if I’m going to move up my ticket to Frankfurt or stay put and just chill out a bit. British Airways and Expedia want like 50 pounds plus $30 to change the ticket. I can think of better ways to spend about $125.
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