Sunday, November 21, 2004

Into Uzbekistan

Doha, Qatar
Showered at midnight, showed up for the bus at 0100. Went to the passenger (PAX) terminal and waited for  a half hour to learn that the flight was cancelled/delayed. Went to breakfast, then watched most of "Without a Paddle" in the theater, followed by most of "Troy" at Charlie's. Back to the PAX terminal, where we learned that our route in now direct, on a C-130. Snagged a little more breakfast, logged into email for a few minutes, and then back to the PAX terminal where we eventually boarded. On the plane after nine hours of waiting and two more cups of coffee.
 I got a "window" seat, if you can call it that.

Red desert on one side of a river, brown earth on the other

A small mountain range that looks like an alligator buried in sand

Snowy mountains that look like something out of a heroic epic



At some points, the clouds and snowy peaks merged into the haze, right around sundown. I stood in the cockpit for a few minutes as we went through the clouds.


We arrived around 1800 local and were greeted by a cool light mist. The mist hung around all night as we got our bearings. It rained earlier and there's mud all over the place. I overheard some Russian spoken by the dining facility staff, and the chow hall had steak and shrimp and great tasting potatoes. I'm sharing a room with the two other guys on my team,  but one of them is a clean freak and has swept out his little compartment area already. We get around 6x8 feet of personal space. I plugged in my camera battery charger because I was snapping pics like a maniac on the plane ride.

In bed at 6:30 Doha time, 8:30 local. Our day started 18 hours ago and I've only napped a little in the last 36 hours. Gonna sleep well tonight, despite the lumpy pillow and super soft mattress.

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