Sunday, January 09, 2005

Exploring an abandoned chemical weapons lab?

I couldn't force myself to stay in bed until my alarm went off. We checked out of our billeting and went to breakfast. After some hanging out, we picked up our weapons and ammo then headed outside the wire with a security squad. It was just a photo op, but we were checking out a large, bullet-riddled mural of Saddam outside of a building that was an alleged site for chemical weapons development before the first Gulf War.
Those holes were there when we got there.
This chemical weapons lab kinda looks like my high school.
The downstairs had concrete channels that have flooded and had things rotting in them. Just barely tolerable.
  
Spooky, right?
We ventured upstairs, past the "Stay Out", "Quarantine", and "NBC Hazard" signs. NBC isn't the news channel, it stands for "Nuclear, Biological, Chemical." The marble tile floors were shattered and bird droppings were piled a foot high in some places.
Not a good sign


I got startled by a jack-rabbit outside as it ran away. The whole place is littered with debris.

Back on base, I checked on our flight out of here-cancelled. Next flight in six hours. So we got lunch and watched TV for a while. Then I went to stretch my legs and take some photos by the welcome sign. The name of the base has changed since we've been here: from Tallil to Ali. What's up with that?

I also stopped into the Italians' coffee shop and got a cappuchino for $1. Watched "Firefox" while waiting for our plane. Also got pizza from the Italians' food contractor. A bit different, but good. We ended up waiting in the terminal for nearly 10 hours. We crammed a lot of people on the C-130, and I was still wearing my vest because it was easier than carrying it. However, wearing it made it quite inconvenient to nap, as the plate in the vest would press into my waist when I leaned forward. That cause the vest to cut off my air supply when my neck rested on it. We landed after midnight, staggered our way through in-processing to turn in our weapons and then caught a ride with John back to the dorms.

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