Tuesday, May 24, 2005

He Shoots, He Scores. Gooooaaaaal

Man, it's been busy and excited and hot the last few weeks. I've formed a pretty good friendship with some of the Iraqi guys that attend the classes we give. It's really cool to just sit around after the class and just talk about whatever. I've learned so much about their culture and about Saddam's Regime. You just wouldn't believe some of the stuff that went on. Last night they invited me and one of my American friends to play football with them. Of course we're Americans and we already used that name for a sport so we call it soccer. It's kind of like the metric system. It works really well for the rest of the world, but since we can kick the snot out of everybody, we use something different. Football (soccer) is like the national sport in Iraq and everybody plays it pretty well. Last night was no exception. Those guys are a lot younger and a lot more skilled than we were but it was a blast. It wasn't competitive like a pick up game would be in the States. For them it was a chance to hang out and bond. They were more than willing to let the unskilled Americans take the goal shots. It was pretty cool.

After that my roommate and I came back to our room to a disheartening silence where the hum of the air conditioner should have been. For about the last week our power goes out around 10:00 in the morning. We put in a work order to have it fixed and they fix it the next day at 9:30 a.m. like clock work. Then, like clockwork, it goes out again at about 10:00 a.m. and we sleep in the steeping heat of the Tigris river swatting bird sized mosquitoes and listening to the scamper of La Cooks running on the floor. At least when the air does work it's too cold for the mosquitoes and too loud to hear the cockroaches running on the tile floor. Every time we come back to our room it's with bated breath and nervous anticipation. Will the power be on, will it be off? Will the Cockroaches be sleeping in my bed or will they be gone? Will Heraldo ever be respected as a real journalist. All of our questions are answered with the turn of a key. Well, not the Heraldo one, He pretty much answers that one over and over again on his own. I just keep telling myself it's an adventure and it will soon be over. It feels kind of hypocritical to be complaining about no power and no air conditioning when you think about all the previous wars America has been involved in. This is probably the most comfortable one we've seen.

We came to FOB Justice just as another unit was pulling out. With them went their chaplain and all religious services. Today I saw someone in the chapel working and there was a sign saying they would start services again this Sunday. I guess they found a spare Chaplain. It'll be good to get back to church.

There has been a terrible case of diarrhea and stomach flu going around camp. Some people say it's the Iraqi food but I don't think it is. I've eaten quite a bit of it and I haven't gotten sick. I think it's the water. Some guys use it to brush their teeth and I think that's where it's coming from. I use bottled water for everything except showering.

Last time I wrote we had just been introduced to our terrible bathroom. We scrounged around some of the other buildings that the other unit was moving out of and found some scouring powder and some of those little green scrubbing cloths. I put on the black elbow length rubber gloves that come with the chemical protection suits the Army gives us and went to town. We scrubbed every square inch of that place. Since it doesn't have a real toilet, only a hole in the floor and a hose, we were able to direct the water from the hose just about anywhere we wanted it. Of course sometimes it went where we didn't want it but that's a whole other story. You wouldn't believe the difference. We have a standing agreement that under no circumstances does anyone use the toilet, just the shower and the sink. There's a row of port-o-podies outside the building that do just fine. If you hit them in the morning they have T.P. if you hit them too late you'd better have some baby wipes. With the stomach problems going around T.P. has been in high demand. I've seen evidence of some very desperate soldiers in the form of soiled socks floating in the port-o-podies used in the heat of the moment when no T.P. was available. I guess Rummie's quote about war also applies to bowel movements. "You go to the Port-o-podies with what you've got. Not what you want."

That's about all that's going on right now. If the plan holds I should be out of here in about four months. Then it'll just be some memories, a few pictures, and some good friends.

Oh yeah, there's a little debate going around about the new Star Wars movie. It'll come out on Haji DVD in a day or two but We're sure it's going to be bad quality. The debate goes something like this. The movie will probably not be in theatres anymore by the time we get home, so we're probably going to miss the theater experience all together. "We're probably going to miss the theatre experience. Why what is it? It's a big building where people watch movies, but that's not important right now." (If you've never seen Airplane then ignore the last little section) The question is this. Get a Haji version and possibly ruin that first time movie watching experience, or wait until we get home and watch it on regular DVD and miss out on that universal new release feeling. I talked with my wife and we decided to wait until I got home, but the temptation is strong with this one. We'll see what happens. By the way, don't tell me what happens, as if the outcome is a mystery.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So glad to hear from you again. With all the excitment on the news in your area, it is reassuring to know that you are safe. It is so nice to know that you can "goof around" with some of the guys after work. Sounds like you had a good time. Should we send you some TP or baby wipes? Continue to use that bottled water, and we will continue to pray that illness stays away!

6:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't think street hockey was going to catch on:-)
I wish I lived in a city; then I could share cockroach stories. We only have giant clouds of black flies here in N.H. Black fly season is right after mud season and just before summer, which arrives sometime in July. Otherwise known as Spring.
Any readers out there who can regale irr soldier with some of those city cockroach sagas?
LH at dartmouth

3:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AH! Sounds like our first home, buggie. The "Box of Everything Poo" should be arriving in another week. God's provision is amazing. Guess we should send more supplies. Maybe you could become the camp TP dealer. Then you would be "SGT. Hook Me Up". Ah! The power!!! Okay, nevermind. I've been wondering about your "church services". May God continue to speak into your heart all you need to hear.

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember the time in Florida that Mom claimed the biggest roach on earth actually turned his head and looked at her? Remember the man that would come an spray the inside and outside of our trailer so that the roaches didn't carry the trailer away into roach heaven. The natives did not call them roaches but Pallmento Bugs. Do they have any exotic names there? Try the guitar and see if they "get down" or "get out". KLM

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So good to hear from you, really enjoyed your blog, it's awesome how you're building relationships with the Iraqui men. I can't wait to hear more about their culture and about their experiences with Saddam's regime when you get back. I'm sure you will have a lot of detailed and interesting stories to share. Praying you stay safe and healthy. scm

10:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep using the bottled water and we will continue to claim Mark 16:18 for you. I think it has protected you.God is so faithful.Keep praying for discernment! Expect a package soon. ZM

5:29 AM  
Blogger The Kenosha Kid said...

Don't bother watching Revenge of the Sith. What happens is that Anakin Skywalker gets pissed at Yoda when the Jedi Temple runs out of TP and turns to the Dark Side. There, saved you ten dollars.

2:29 PM  

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