Saturday, October 24, 2009

Qatar Pics

Few more pics from Qatar I got from the guy I went with.

C-130 Flight on the way back up north.

My battle buddy and I on the C-130 flight back to Camp.

Smoking Sheesha from a Hookah at a restaurant in the Old Souq.

Me sleeping in our 10 man room while on R&R.

Sleeping on the C-130 on our way to Qatar.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Nearly halfway

My time in Kuwait is near halfway complete. I keep this chart to remind me. You can click on it to make it bigger.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Back to the grind

We had to report for an outbrief at 9am. The brief was about 30 minutes. We waited about an hour or so after the brief to take a bus over to the flight terminal. We were placed on a flight according to space available (stand-by) and in Alphabetical order. I missed 4 flights before my name came up. Didn't make it back to my room until 4am. Talk about a long day. They have to come up with a better way to get people places than to have them sit in a room for hours and hours waiting for a flight. Overall the trip was ok. It did the job it was supposed to do, but I thought it could have been better though. Maybe a slight increase on the 3 beer limit. I would recommend it to anyone over here who is interested.

R & R day 5

Last day. Took it easy. Watched movies. Mailed home the watches I bought in the Souq. Watched the Phillies, they lost.

Friday, October 16, 2009

R&R day 4

On day 4 I signed up to go to the Museum of Islamic Art and the Old Souq. I went back to the Old Souq for two reasons 1) It was free and 2) I wanted to see it in the daylight. The day before when I went it was dark. The reason I went on the free trips was not to save money, but because the trips you have to pay for, they only accept this thing called the Eagle Cash Card. The cash card is what it looks like the military is moving to to stop the flow of American Dollars into these other countries. I'm not sure if there is an economic reason or if it's expensive to move the money back and forth or what. Regardless, they were really pushing it in Kuwait, and here in Qatar it is the only way. The problem for me is that it is all done through direct deposit so you need all your bank account info. I didn't bring it with me, so I'm stuck on the free trips.

The museum was pretty interesting. There was pottery, carpets, tiles, paintings, etc., from all over this region, most dating back to the 7th century and up. I was rushed through the exhibits a little bit because the King of Swaziland was there along with members of the Qatari Royal Family. I guess they didn't want anyone outside that group to be in the same rooms as them, so they kept asking me to move to the next room.

After the museum we headed over to the Old Souq. It definitely looked different during the day. Most of it was closed unfotunately. I guess most of the stores don't open until the evening. They were fliming a movie while we were there which was pretty cool to watch. One of the guys on the trip with me got to be an extra.

While in the Old Souq we ate at am Italian restauant called La Dolce Vita. They also had a Gelateria(Homemade Italian Ice Cream) next door. The meal and the gelato was awesome. If I'm ever back here, I will be sure to visit that place.

After we got back from our trip, I checked my email and as usual made my way to the bar area for my 3 beers ;)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

R & R day 3

Went to the pool again today. Ordered some Chili's poolside too. I went on a tour of the Gold Souq and the Old Souq. The Gold Souq is blocks and blocks of nothing but jewelry stores. The main things they sell are gold and pearls. Both are a bit cheaper than they would be stateside. I'm not really into jewelry, especially gold and pearls, but I did buy a couple watches. They did deny my debit card there. When I got back, I called my bank. They put a freeze on my account because they saw the out of country purchases. I told them I was going to the middle east before I left so this wouldn't happen, but apparently it wasn't passed on. The Old Souq is something like a flea market I guess. It's as close as you can get to the old traditional market places of the old days in Arabia. They also have a few modern places and restaurants there. We ate at a place called The Fish Market. It was pretty good. A little pricey. We finished the meal by trying Shisha. Shisha is a tobacco soaked in fruit. It is smoked from a Hookah. I didn't particularly care for it. I asked for apple flavored and it tasted like black licorice. I hate black licorice. Not sure if they gave me the wrong flavor, or that's just how it tastes. Either way, don't think I'll be trying it again. I'm glad I did try it though seeing as it is such a cultural icon out here. We got back around 10pm. I made a beeline to the Irish pub for my 3 beers. I enjoyed those while playing the arcade game Golden Tee. Went to bed around midnight.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

R&R day 2

After that rough day, I decided to take it easy and lay out by the pool most of the day. The have a Chili's attached to the pool, so I had some lunch delivered to me poolside. After I left the pool and showered, I signed up for a trip to the Vilaggio mall. It was the nicest mall I've ever been too. The parking lot was full of Mercedes, Lexus, Lambo, etc. Every store there was top of the line. D&G, Luis Vuitton, Prada etc. Needless to say, I didn't do any shopping. The also had a car for sale there that was priced at a little over a million dollars. They had a venice like river going throughout the mall which you could get gondola rides on. The cieling was painted like clouds. If you've been to the Venitian in vegas, picture that. I had dinner at the Macaroni Grill. Wasn't anything near as good as the states. Once I got back from the mall trip, I got right into consuming my 3 beers. I was in bed by midnight.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


What a long day! Got to the check in place (Kuwait) at 9am yesterday, didn't get here until 10pm. Thr flight was only an hour and a half, but we had a bunch of briefs, we had to go through immigrations and customs. It pretty much sucked. We did make it in time before the beer place closed at 1130pm. We're allowed 3 beers a day while we're here. Still learning where everything is and what ammenities are available to us. Signed up for a trip to the mall today.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Camp Cupcake

It all happened pretty fast. I put in a request a little over a week ago to take 4 days of Rest and Recuperation (R&R) at Camp As Sayliyah in Qatar (I've heard it pronounced like guitar and cutter). I hadn't heard anything, so I had assumed it didn't make it through. Then all of the sudden today I check my email and it's asking if I have my bags packed. I'm pretty excited, but I wish I had more time to prepare for the trip. I leave tomorrow. Since I'm the Watch Commander for the night shift, I had to find a suitable replacement and make sure he was prepared to hold the fort down while I am gone.

Since I am the first one from my unit to go, this is pretty much uncharted waters for me. I'm pretty much getting on a plane, and I'm not really sure what happens from there. I've attempted to do some research on Camp Cupcake, as the Army calls it, but haven't really found any recent, good, solid info. I've heard you are allowed 2 beers a day there which is pretty exciting. I've also read they have a Chili's there, a pool and hot tub, video games, a beach, phone and internet centers. I haven't been able to confirm it, but I have heard rumors that they have some tours out in town there to the mall and stuff like that. The other rumor I heard is that we stay in tents. I hope that isn't true, but even if it is, at least I'm off base and not working. I'll be sure to put my camera on the charger..

Thursday, October 8, 2009

10 miles?

A couple of days ago the Army held their annual Army 10-miler. This year was the first I had heard of it, but apparently it takes place every year in DC and gets 20k plus people to turn out for it. In honor of that run, you know the guys here had to do a run. They do runs for Arbor day here. Anyway, the run here utilized nearly every road on the base so setting things up was a nightmare. The guys on the night shift had to stay about 3 hours after their shift, and everyone who was off had to come in.

All in all, I was actually pretty impressed with how things went. I didn't get many complaints from people who were upset they couldn't drive down certain roads. For the most part everyone was pretty accepting of the fact the roads were closed. I wish they were that accepting on the days of the 5k cause I hear all kinds of moaning and groaning for those.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Slow and Steady

It's been a week since my last post. Sorry about taking so long to post. There just hasn't really much going on to write about. Possibly it could be that I'm just not creative enough (lazy) to come up with a good topic. The other problem, is the last two topics I was going to write about turned out to be a bust.

First, I figured I'd talk a little bit about the change in weather. I waited for about a week of "colder" weather to declare it fall here and write about it. I figured I'd talk about how I was freezing cold at night as the temps go down to 78 degrees. No joke. I'm shivering in 78 degree weather. I put on a sweatsuit in 87 degree weather. Also, those nasty winds and sandstorms came to a halt. It was nice. Anyway, the day I decided to write about fall beginning in Kuwait, mother nature played a joke on me. It ended up being in the 100's and a sandstorm rolled through. So much for my story about the fall weather.

The other story I was going to tell actually still is a pretty good story, but not the story I had originally planned on sharing. I accidentally left my mp3 player in my pant pocket when I dropped my uniforms off to get washed and pressed. We drop them off at a trailer on base, and they take it an hour and a half away to Kuwait City to be cleaned. I figured it was safe to assume that it was long gone. So that was going to be my story. For the heck of it, I figured I'd at least go over and ask the guy at the trailer if it got turned in. He looked at me and told me no, it hadn't been turned in. He also told me the odds of getting it back were slim to none. He said usually the stuff gets tossed in the washing machine, it comes out ruined/broken, so they just throw it away, and you can't count out theft either. Regardless, he said he would give his boss a call down in Kuwait City, to be positive. I went back the next day expecting to confirm my thoughts. Surprisingly, it got turned in, in working order and all. Actually, he seemed more surprised than I was. So, that story had a happy ending to it. I just have to remember to take better care of the mp3 player and to check my pockets twice before I drop them off.