I'm watching the color of the sky as I write this. It's gone from sunny to grey, grey to yellow, and now yellow to orange. That's never a good sign. It means dust, or more likely, a dust STORM. No one likes those. Dust EVERYWHERE, carried by a scorching hot wind. Time to find my goggles.
Today's my day-off, and I needed it. For a fairly easy job there's alot of stress at work. And no, I'm not going to get into it. Just glad to have some time away from the place, even though there really wasn't anything to do today. Pretty much stayed inside where it was cool, and not dusty. Oh, I did sweep my room, and clean out my fridge. At least I accomplished something constructive.
Also planned my flight home. Vacation is still 12 weeks away, but everyone plans early. We need something to look forward to. Flying back to MO cost me a bundle, but thankfully my company gives us a travel credit (which almost covered the entire cost of it) after six months, and again at the end of our contract.
I've been away from home for three months. It's gone by fast, but never fast enough. Listening to the folks that have been here a while, they say the first few months are the longest. Again, thank goodness.
I've always enjoyed the desert life and environment, but this place isn't Arizona. About the only thing they have in common is the heat. I'd always thought that one day I'd like to move back to AZ, but I think being here has cured me of that. Besides, Jan's not that thrilled with the desert anyway. So, we'll go somewhere with trees and water. :)
No real excitement here in Taji lately. There's going to be a group of three comedians at the Pavilion tonight. It'll still be over 100* when they start, but I bet there'll be a good turnout. We kind of latch-on to anything from the outside world. More like grasping at straws.
Anyway, Allan and I are gonna go. Probably eat in the courtyard for a change, too. What shall I have? Burger King, Subway, Popeye's, Taco Bell, or Cin-a-bon? No, definitely NO Cin-a-bon. Oh, there's Pizza Hut, too...but I don't like pizza. We'll find something.
More soldiers seem to be leaving Taji. No idea how many, but it's feeling more sparse around here. It's all part of the Iraq troop drawdown. Should have some Iraqi Army members start to move over to this side soon, too. That'll be different. Just one step closer to turning the base back over to them eventually.
I'm so happy I'm not in Afghanistan, like my friends Joel and Jim. They're in Kabul, thankfully. Yes, it's still very dangerous there, but nothing like the southern part of the country, near Kandahar. Things are just rough there. The surge is beginning...
Yep, I'm pretty spoiled here in Taji. No complaints at all. I'll contend with the heat, the work, and the food (which has been getting rather mundane lately).
BTW, speaking of food - A couple of weeks ago I must have contracted a little intestinal bug. No idea where - could have been the water or the salads. Moot point now. For 11 days I was...well...having to stay close to a restroom. One day I visited the restroom 12 times! Kaopectate helped the most, but not after trying a complete round of Imodium/Loparimide.
This also brought to light a harsh reality of being over here - lack of medical care.
If there's danger to one's life, limb, or eyesight, the Army docs will see you at the clinic. If your condition is something less than life-threatening, they want you to take a day-off from work, board a helicopter, fly down to Baghdad, and visit a contractor clinic down there. Wow, talk about inconvenient. And if you have a problem with gastrointestinal distress, do you really want to take a chance on a bumpy, hot, helo ride, then a bumpy, hot, shuttle drive about half an hour to the clinic?
Thankfully, OTC meds finally helped me. Would have rather had REAL meds, but the option just wasn't there. I'm very appreciative one of my good friends is a medical doc back in the States, and I'm able to ask him about these maladies that darken my doorstep.
The process kinda sucks.
Oh well. Just nine more months to go.
Almost 5p here, and the sky is getting lighter. Maybe the storm passed over us.
All gussied-up in my dust-prevention wear.
I decided that one thing I really do NOT like here is having to use a porta-potty when the temp is anything over 100*. The plastic walls are hot and pliable, ventilation is non-existant, there's that sickeningly-sweet smell of blue liquid/feces that makes you want to hold you breath, and there's the residue of people that 'missed' the target. Better to hold it till you get to a REAL bathroom.
I swear, I don't know how some things work around here...