Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Should Have Listened to Omar

17 November 2005

This week, Omar the Magnificent (or one of those astrological writers) wrote that I shouldn’t travel on the 16th, 17th, 18th; or if I did, to keep my cool and prepare for many unexpected delays. Additionally, he warned me that with patience, it will work out. Well, I couldn’t wait for Omar the Magnificent to give me a good horoscope before making my way home, so I took the chance anyway.

Naturally, Omar was right from the get-go. Tuesday night before my intended departure out of beautiful Baghdad, we had lightening and rain storms. I think someone up there (^, you know what I mean) wanted to remind me how much I hate the mud here and that I’d better make the best of my two weeks or so away from it. Probably ¾ inches of rain and enough mud created to last for days.

Wednesday morning, I then called into the airport to find out when my “show time” was for my flight. The 1230 show time didn’t leave me but a couple of hours to finish packing and take a shower. I met Roland at building 9 and we were soon on our way to BIAP.

I happened to see Josh, one of my former coworkers from the TCF waiting there. He was scheduled on the same CPA flight as me since both the C130 flights were cancelled and the first CPA flight was cancelled. To make matters all the more interesting, the one last C17 flight was delayed for an unspecified amount of time since it hadn’t left Al Udeid, Qatar. I initially had left, but got turned around after being struck by lightening. Are we beginning to wonder if Omar had it out for me yet?

Fortunately, (with no raspberries to Omar since I’m not going to tempt fate any more than I must at this point) the C17 took off without a hitch at 2030 and we were at Ali As Salem by 2200. Unfortunately, by the time we got over to the LSA (processing center) and got our bags, etc, it was already 2300 and the last bus for the commercial airport at Kuwait International had already left!

Josh called one of our T3 guys on Arifjan and he was enroute to pick us up and try to get us to the airport on time. My ticket wasn’t till Friday morning, but I was going to try to jump an earlier flight if possible. Although Josh’s flight didn’t depart till 0130, he wasn’t early enough and they’d given his seat away. He is trying to get home to see his newborn son that his wife just delivered on Tuesday. With some finagling, the airport people were able to get him on a flight to Athens, A’dam and to Phoenix a few hours later than his original flight, but much sooner than if he’d of had to wait till tonight for a flight.

Unfortunately for me, my LH flight was also overbooked and there was no chance of hitching an earlier flight. Off to Arifjan with me! We arrived back at Arifjan which is about an hour south of the airport about 0200. After having not slept in 36 hours, I joyfully crashed once back to a nice bunk in the new ITT “Hilton” in 1465. This new base is kinda nice after remembering how old and dirty the old ITT Hilton was in its converted garage location on Camp Doha.

Woke up this morning early (don’t know how bright I was feeling on only five hours or so of sleep) at 0830. Headed over to Starbuck’s. Woo-hoo!!!! After drinking that mop water swill disguised as coffee from the Green Beans coffee shop on Victory, I am overwhelmed to tears…okay, I exaggerate but a little, but real Starbuck’s really tickles the old abused taste buds after five months without.

Did some shopping at the PX, ate lunch at the food mall here on Arifjan and generally am just hanging out now waiting for tonight when three of us will be driven up to the airport for our flights out to the real world. As I’ve said before, it isn’t so much the traveling that I mind as it is the delays and hassles of getting from point A to point B here in the Southeast Asian theater.

Looking forward to visiting friends in Germany before heading home for two weeks in beautiful downtown Sycamore. Although I’ve already missed Pumpkin Fest by a month, I am still looking forward to my sleepy little adopted hometown. The sad fact is that I’ve lived in trailers and tents on Camp Victory longer than I’ve lived in my new home. But I do appreciate my own bed and a private toilet and a private shower and my family and friends and my doggie. I’ll write more later.
Comments:
the hell with Omar Dave its the beer God that you were not paying attention to. When I was in Saudi it took me 24 hrs to get home which was the time the bus picked me up on the compound to get to O'Hare and yes I think I told you that Frankfurt airport is the way to go I have done Paris and Cairo and one direct flt from JFK but and the first few trips it was frankfurt and being stuck in a muslim country where else can you get a beer at 6:00 in the morning ???

So as you maybe aware when the muslims pray they face toward Mecca as for me when I pop a beer or drink a cold one I lift my mug toward Munich.
 
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