Part IX: The Camp at K2

The Camp
Can’t really say much about the base. There’s lot of gravel because of a high water table. Let me step back and cover some meteorological facts that you may not be aware of. Any legitimate place that soldiers are plopped down at will have a random value from each of the following columns:

Temperature: Ground Consistency:
Too Hot Too Dry (Dust)
Too Cold Too Wet (Mud)

Now, of course you have snow and ice, which are different, but they are merely a preliminary stage of Mud, so I do not count it. There are in-between stages but they never last more than a day. This table otherwise neatly describes all possible weather conditions. You may think you have some good weather conditions and I must be exaggerating. Re-read the last sentence before the table. Trust me, I’m right, and you are merely fooling yourself if you disagree.

Far off in the distance one day I saw some hills way far away. Other than that it’s pretty flat around here. There’s no grass except for on the big aircraft bunkers, though that will die before too long as it heats up around here. Generally speaking, when you stick the military somewhere, all the vegetation goes away. Walking back and forth, moving vehicles, it all packs the earth down. It gets soaked and turns to mud, which accelerates the destruction by making the roots easier to pull out. I call it God’s Brown Earth. I haven’t seen any trees, though I heard there were one or two. I think it’s a lie.

We live in tents, designed to hold about 8-10 people. They are (generally speaking) heated and cooled. By that I mean you won’t ordinarily get frozen to death or heatstroke, but it isn’t going to be your standard 72 degrees type of situation. I have a cot with two nifty thick Uzbek blankets under my sleeping bag for padding. Some guys have had crude beds made, with air mattresses and all sorts of padding under it. Usually I am tired enough that I don’t much notice the minor lack of comfort. The jets are loud, but you can sleep through anything once you get used to it. I think the Uzbeks do not fly their fighters at night, either. Those damn things are several orders of magnitude louder than the cargo birds. I use a sweatshirt rolled up inside its hood as a pillow, since I foolishly forgot to bring one. Oops.

For bathrooms, there are Portajohns liberally spaced throughout the camp. They get a little muddy on occasion in addition to the expected unseemliness. The big pink mints taste funny. There are temperature-controlled bathrooms also, for your more serious business, so it isn’t so bad. Got showers with hot water, except for that one day…ain’t nuthin’ worse than a shockingly cold-water shower. AUGH! You can turn in laundry twice a week, comes back the same day.

Food – it’s decently good and there’s lots of it. There are hot meals served morning and night, and lunch is supposed to be MREs. I haven’t had one of those yet, and don’t mind if I don’t. They have soups and stuff you can take out, and I can make do with a snack for lunch. Even so, after a while, it’s all the same and you don’t feel like eating so much. There’s variety, but only so much. Smile You can buy assorted crap down at the small PX here. They even have DVDs and players, Playstations, Gamecubes, TVs, and other surprising things on occasion. Man, have things changed over the years. Not too long ago the attitude was “you’re a soldier, you aren’t supposed to be comfortable anyway!” They have a gym and a tiny movie theatre (with good seats) and small rec area. They have it pretty well here, and most of them seem to be 8-hour shift workers. Most of that stuff really is for them, since we have a lot less free time. They have it better than us, but there is a rather drastic difference in pay to consider. So I ain’t complainin’.

One nameless individual with joking intent asked if there were any furreners around. Yeah sure…us! There are quite a few Uzbeks about, as one might imagine, it being their country and all. They work on the camp doing various menial and manual labor tasks as well as some other less basic positions. They are generally friendly but some people treat them as if they were idiot children or invisible. Even if you don’t speak the language, it’s not hard to simply acknowledge the existence of another human being. A smile and a nod don’t take much time out of your day. They generally dress in more or less Western fashion (no, not BABBs – that’s Big Ass Belt Buckle, cowboy boots, and ten gallon hats) with some localized differences. The girls typically wear tight jeans. You see a lot of gold teeth, which can be disturbing. Imagine if you will a cleaning lady who might be sweeping (i.e., creating dust, though they spray water to keep it down some) looking at you saying to themselves “beautiful boy”, which they think you don’t understand. And consider then if this ancient creature looks up and smiles, showing ONLY gold teeth. It took all my strength of uhh….it would take all one’s strength of will not to run away screaming then and there, were something like that to happen to someone. Shocked

Tent Sweet Tent
Well….it’s a tent.

The brownish thing at the rear of the tent is an ECU. It’s like an air conditioner. Somehow when it’s cold out, it heats things up too. (sorta)

Real men such as ourselves don’t need them, but many mere mortal folks require a heater. These take fire and blow it into your tent, roasting you alive.

Anyway, here’s my area.

Leave a Reply

or Log in. You don't need to register to leave comments.

You must be logged in to post a comment.