Thursday, November 25, 2004

Turkey Day, Central Asian style

Karshi-Khanabad, Uzbekistan
Woke @ 0420 local. Power's out. Heat's off. Went to shower and the lights came back on, with the hot water and the smell of charcoal in the air. Checked in for our flight, got a a warm dinner for breakfast, back to the terminal to load. On the plane, engines running at 0800. Also got briefed on what the plane will do if we receive a surface-to-air missile threat or ground fire. And where the emergency exits are. The ride's a little shakier, as I'm laying down on the red stretched-canvas webbed seats. It's kind of like getting one of those quarter-driven massages from a magic-fingers in a cheap motel bed. However, the view is great.
A ridge of mountains forcing the clouds upward like waves crashing on a rocky shore.


Bagram, Afghanistan
When we landed, there were helicopters buzzing around, some folks out clearing mines, and some fighters taking off. Once we got our stuff stored in CE area, we went over to the base exchange where I picked up a heavy, engraved bronze Bactrian camel trinket.
A Bactrian camel has two humps and is native to central Asia.
All roads lead away.
RRR in Afghanistan
I also bought a mine warning sign, among other things. From there, it was on to the dining facility for Thanksgiving (at 1300 local). The line got long after we got there, with good reason. Turkey, ham, shrimp, cheesecake, even sparkling wine (non-alcoholic).
A literal Cornucopia
 So, yeah, spent Thanksgiving Day in Afghanistan watching the troops pour concrete:
Then I stomped around in the "moon dust" for a while. The dust/sand here is as fine as talcum powder.
The mountains that surround Bagram are barely visible through the overcast skies. Our flight out was dark and uneventful. Our arrival in Qatar: cooler than when we left it. But within 90 minutes, I heard people complaining about flat tires, fire alarms at the chow hall, and t-shirts damaged in the laundry service.

It's all about perspective,  I guess.


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