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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…)

Change Of Plans

Saturday, July 31st, 2004

Well…it seems I am not going to Uzbekistan. Just when I thought I was going to get out of here and that LOGCAP was done screwing up everything they touch, they get in one last jab, and boy was it a doozy. I’m of course glad to know they are only looking out for me. Evil or Very Mad

So now I am apparently heading to Malaysia instead. Suffice for now to say that I had a sticky set of criteria to work within, to meet both my goals of seeing my special someone, and not doing anything to get myself fired. I will be leaving this job under my own power, at a time of my own choosing. It certainly made mincemeat of one of my other goals though, but there isn’t a whole lot I can do about that, and the possibility of changing the circumstances on that one doesn’t leave me anything to work with. It’s kind of hard to meet the parents if you can’t get in the country.

Oh I could, don’t get me wrong. I could do it, and in a way that they couldn’t prove anything, either. But if they decided to check up on me (a definite sure were I heading to an alternate ‘stan) they’d find the lack of findable proof as reason enough to fire me for some bullshit alternate reason anyways. It’d be simpler for them that way.

It’s funny — I’m not sure on what planet Uz wouldn’t be safer than the U.S., but goddamn if I can’t go to one because it’s dangerous…

Rant over. I gotta figure out interesting stuff to see and do in Malaysia.

PS – If you don’t follow the news, none of that made any sense. They had a few bombings in Tashkent again.

Never Take Their Word For It Part II

Sunday, July 25th, 2004

These people are hopeless. They can’t “provide” travel except from Dubai. This project is very poorly run and the staff is not helpful. I find it’s best to distance yourself from relying on other people where possible. Nobody is going to look out for your interests like you are, and they may not bother to look out for you at all. Lucky for me I am resourceful. If I understood the hyper-fast speaking Indian (?) guy at the Uzbekistan Airways counter I called, I just show up and I got me a ticket. Gonna be a busy trip, but a good one. I go Mosul Palace back to Mosul Airfield, fly down to Baghdad, then later on to Dubai where I take custody of myself, arrange a few things and then on to Tashkent I go…

One week, and I am there!

Never Take Their Word For It

Friday, July 23rd, 2004

Sigh…here’s the latest travel fiasco they’ve hit me with.

I put in for R&R with a departure from Sharjah (an airport in the UAE) to Tashkent. They have a direct flight from there 2 days a week, at a fare of somewhere around $600. I think the one I looked at left around noon, and arrived about 3PM.

The proposed itinerary I got has me leaving from Dubai (still in the UAE) at 2:50AM with a 4ish hour flight to Istanbul, where I wait 12 hours, and take a 3-4 hour flight to Tashkent, which arrives at 1:15AM. Add in a couple hours each side and you have a hell of a long day. This ticket is almost $1200. I advised them this was not an acceptable option. Smile

Somebody’s a schmuck…just don’t know who. Just not gonna let it be me. Wink

The Trip to Mosul

Thursday, June 24th, 2004

Outward Bound

I finally get all the approvals to go. This involves me short-circuiting the process and going straight to the people I need to get things done. Going through the proper HR chain involves about 8 different layers of obfuscation. I get all the pieces collected, and tell travel when I am going. I make this decision on my own, but no one questions me. It’s a relief to get this all in process since not only am I trying to get out of here, I am trying to get out of here on a specific schedule so that I can visit with that special someone on the way out. (more…)

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