Monday, May 17, 2010


Hello, Everyone --

I had an absolutely terrible day yesterday. Just needed to make it through today, and then I'd have a day-off.

Well, I made it through my Monday...and it was the best day I've had since I arrived here. :) Funny how that works.

The day started off, as all my days do, with a call to my Sweetie. Something about hearing her voice first thing in the morning that just sets the mood for the day, and she always makes me happy. :)

Work was work - thankfully easy and smooth this morning. About an hour before lunchtime our Site Manager pokes his head into our office and asks what our plans are for lunch. I said, "Well, I think we'll head on up to the DFAC and see what they have to offer." He said, "Want to go out for lunch?"..."Sure!"

The only options we have for eating around here are the two DFACS, and the food court area. However, he offered us one additional option - The Other Side...

The Other Side is East Taji...the IRAQI side.

Lunchtime came, and off we went - four of us in the company Nissan pickup. The trip over there didn't take long - the Iraqis are just on the otherside of our airfield. We did have to pass through a checkpoint and a guarded gate, but that was it. ITT has a small contingent on that side, handling communications. They're located in a small, but very comfortable, and well appointed compound, guarded by decendents of Indian Ghurkas, some of the fiercest warriors there have ever been.

Inside the compound we were greeted, and led to the food. On the menu was Carolina-sytle pork ribs, BBQ beef ribs, (a little-too-overcooked) steaks, roast turkey, turkey fried rice, salad, and dessert choices of brownies, strawberry cheesecake, or apple pie. Mmmmm mmmmm...

Our cook was a good ole boy from...Carolina. He really enjoyed cooking for us, having gotten up at 4a to start marinating the ribs. His efforts were evident.

After a very filling lunch, we took a tour of the compound. They have all the comforts of home, but it's very compact, and maybe a little claustrophobic. If you like wide-open spaces, it's not for you.

We took a break from the heat in a room constructed between two sets of trailers. Everything inside was handcrafted - the windows, the benches, the cabinets, the tray ceiling. It was well air-conditioned, and was setup with cable TV. We didn't want to leave.

But leave we eventually did. After leaving the compound we drove around the Iraqi base. Some of it is still pretty rough - we did a number on it with all the bombing during the height of the war. The Iraqis are rebuilding, but it's slow, and it's a large base.

Right now, the Iraq Army has officer candidate training facilities, and limited helicopter operations. It's pretty sparse. We (the US Army and Air Force) are guiding and helping them. Just hope they don't use all this good training and equipment against us in the future.

Eventually, the US will turnover the rest of Taji back to the Iraqis. Some say it'll be in a year, some say it'll be a few years. Either way, I'm sure they'll love coming over to OUR side, where the living is easy (HAHA).

Our tour ended back at the gate that separates the two sides. Our IDs were checked, and a cursory inspection of our vehicle was done, then *poof* we were back on 'safe' soil.

It was a good lunch, and the kind of boondoggle I really needed.

Now, I can REALLY enjoy my day-off. :D

P.S. Sorry, no pix. :(

P.P.S A boondoggle is a term we used on the ice for time off from work to get out and do something different, usually out of town, and always someplace scenic.

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