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Saturday, November 27th, 2004

Man, it really has gone dusty outside. It’s a very fine dust, but as near as I can tell it’s blanketing the whole city. I think visibility is at 2-300m at the most. You can see fine close up, but you can’t see a damn thing beyond that. It doesn’t really seem to be a windy swirly kind of thing; it’s just sitting there. At least I don’t have contacts anymore, that’d well and truly suck. And the time counts down…

November 2004 Dubai Trip Part I

Wednesday, November 24th, 2004

Hey Man, It’s Like A War or Something!

Mosul Palace

Woohoo! Time to get out for a bit again, and go to Dubai for a few days. It’s been in planning for many weeks now. As it turns out, my timing has put it into a very busy time. Oops. It will be nice, since things have been rather active here since the start of Ramadan, whereas before you’d get an attack just at the end of the call to prayer as if to punctuate it with a concussive and shrapnel filled “amen.” I’d comment on the etymology of “amen” but that would be digressing even farther than usual for me. Also, I may have used the word describing the study of bugs instead of word origins there. I don’t feel like looking it up though. Where was I?

Oh yes, anyways, during Ramadan we got hit several times a day. Before, it was just harassment fire. Then I think they started trying to kill people. Very ill-mannered of them.

And then Fallujah kicked off. (more…)

Back At The Palace

Sunday, November 14th, 2004

More later. I will relate a short funny thing though: I was reading something on how dangerous Mosul was now, and thinking to myself, “Ha ha, if they only kneBAAAAAMMMMM!!!!!! I was halfway out the door when I realized that was the controlled blast we’d been warned of, and about 1 second later “controlled blast, controlled blast” comes over the radio. It was to take care of a UXO about 150m away. They must have packed that thing with about 8 lbs of C-4. At least I wasn’t the guy who was on the shitter. Been there, done that. We had a laugh about it. Beats the alternatives.

Anyway, the LWOP was a bust, I’m very disappointed by that. But we’ll see each other soon. I might leave here a bit earlier, depending on my cash goals. It’s only 7 weeks, but thinking about dropping it down to say, 4 is an attractive option.

So Much For That

Saturday, November 13th, 2004

I’m at what you might refer to as a low point right now. I was supposed to be leaving for Dubai to spend a few days with the love of my life, but they have some new idiotic visa rule that prevents that. So we changed plans to try Turkey instead. Some other visa problem rears it’s ugly head so they have to get them in advance instead of gratuitous visa on arrival. It all boils down to needing several extra days and / or significant cost increase. So in the end I just aborted this trip. It sucks because I was already in motion, and had spent some effort, not to mention some money, on the Turkey option in a brilliant masterstroke of making do. I’m going to go back to the Palace now. This really sucks. But I’m down to about only 7 weeks before giving up on this for my long break anyway. I’m still pretty heavily weighted down by disappointment.

Anatomy Of An Attempted Elvising

Monday, November 8th, 2004

Anatomy of an Attempted Elvising!

The next day around 2 PM I am feeling decidedly unwell after being poisoned at the DFAC, and think to myself I need to take care of some bathroom business, and I better go ahead since we should get attacked in another hour or two, and you never know how long that will take. I’m going, I’ve got time. (This is what’s known as foreshadowing.)

So there I was, conducting business and reading my intermediate Russian storybook. I’m getting much better. A few words are defined at the bottom of the page, around half of which I already know. Most everything else I pick up from context and thinking really hard about the words. The prefixes and suffixes convey a lot of meaning, and if you know them it makes it much easier, though not at all a sure thing, of course.

I’m reading a true story about this family who has a polar bear. It’s all very touching and cutesy, having a polar bear and all. The ending well and truly sucks, but I guess that’s life. I don’t much POP! damn!WHOOOgottago!!OOOOOOOOOOstupidpants!OOOSH! BANG! That was a rocket! The book goes somewhere, I zip up, avoiding unfriendly entanglements, hope #2 (the other one) doesn’t show up too soon, and bolt for the bunker. There is one right outside my hooch, so I’m pretty well covered getting to it. Really, I’m not too badly protected inside the container too, as it is fairly well surrounded by sandbags or HESCOs. As long as it’s not an airburst or a direct hit, I’d be okay. But still, it’s horrifying to think of following in Elvis’ footsteps, much less in a much messier way. I’d hope that the responsible parties would have the good taste to give the appropriate lies on that. “Didn’t feel a thing” and of course “No, did not die on the shitter…why do you ask?”

Anyways, I tucked in my shirt and buckled my belt out in the bunker. They didn’t throw anything else at us. These guys are blowing the pattern off left and right. No consistency. Later that evening, I am wasting time hanging around. I’d rather go ahead and get the evening attack over with, though sometimes they don’t do it, or decide to bother the airfield instead, and some random place in town. I don’t want to go into my hooch and get comfortable, flop off the shoes, and then have to put them back on and rush out into the night. I don’t like to be bothered once I have lain back for the day. I don’t sleep, but it’s nice to just lie down and stretch at the end of the day. Finally we figure they must be taking the night off. I am just reaching out to unlock my door, trying to find the key slot in the dark BOOM! There they go! I holler into the night “Ha ha, you mother fuckers! I hadn’t even got in the room yet!!!” Another one goes off. I think they were IEDs, but in either case they weren’t on the FOB.

We had some more random stuff today, but it’s not real interesting. One more week before I starting transiting down to Dubai for a short bit of time off. Something like 6 days down there, and then when I get back I have a little less than 6 weeks before heading out for good, after 25 months out. Gonna take a nice, long vacation.

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