Medicine Soldier

A View from Iraq


2.06.2005

New Home

I made it safely... well as safe as it is here. It was a wild ride. When we crossed the border it was like night and day between the two countries. Although Northern Kuwait is still rebuilding from GW1, it is far superior to its neighbor. As we crossed, the kids and dogs came running up to the convoys to see and wave. It was like being in a national geographic episode. Except I remembered I was holding a loaded weapon and we were riding down the road at 45mph. The terrain varied as far as lack of vegetation; some spots were all sand and some had nice trees and grasses. Mud huts and grass huts peppered the landscape and we saw a variety of animals from cows, sheep, goats, dogs and camels. Most of the people seemed accepting of us, but then again it was a well traveled route. One of the convoys veered off and they said the mood changed. For the most part the kids were very friendly, waving, asking for food, and giving "thumbs up." The adults watched pretty emotionlessly. We hit some checkpoints that were "police" checkpoints that forced us to slow down. They were tense as they don't wear uniforms and all carry machine guns. We could not tell if they were shouting at us or to us so we kept weapons ready and smiled and waved. On the other side there were guys trying to peddle cigarettes and other trinkets. One guy held two cartons and said, "Two-hundred." I do not know what the exchange is but if he wanted American dollars. I think they have democracy covered and we don't need to be here. I hope he wanted two-hundred of his money.

After several minor incidents, we managed to make it to the base (I don't have time to go into the details). We made it late Thursday and there are no lights in the "streets" or outside the tents and chow hall, as a preventive measure for mortar attacks. So we had to quickly learn how to walk around in the dark without crashing into the concrete barriers that protect us.

I had to find my guys Friday morning and the base is in the middle of a turn over, so no one really knows where anyone is because we are all moving around from transient tents to permanent tents as they become available. I found my guys by waiting outside the chow hall. Speaking of that, the food here is excellent. We have been busy unpacking and assuming control of the base, so this is the first time I had to use the internet cafe. Sorry no cappucchinos here. Just a tent with laptops on a satellite connection.

As far as living conditions, we have been bartering and scavenging from the Marines who are leaving. I currently have a cot, foot locker, and three cardboard boxes that are serving as my nightstand and dresser. I an using the footlocker for my desk and its not too bad.

Hopefully we will be able to catch part of the Super Bowl during breakfast tomorrow. They do not have newspapers, but there are TVs with the news and sports at the chowhall.

I may fly with the Captain to the Saudi border Tuesday.

Take care. Miss you all. I will write some more when we get settled.

posted by Scott | 07:32 Baghdad time | © 2.06.2005
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