Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday morning

Winter is coming. Cool last night. Only one other man in the tent. Got up this morning, and got a breakfast. I need a computer account, so I walked down to the data connection shop, and signed up. I needed to pass two exams on computer security and operations, so I took the tests on line, and passed.

Strangely, there are no 220volt electrical outlets anywhere on this post. I asked around, and I was able to scrounge a 110 to 220Volt transformer, so now I can plug in the transformer, and then I can plug the battery charger for my cell-phone directly into it, and recharge the battery. The data shop had a spare that they were not using.

The post exchange (PX) opened up three days ago. It is small, but much bigger than their last one. Sharana is going to be a major base, with many more troops and civilians arriving here, so the whole base infrastructure will be growing. More barracks, more buildings, more offices, more vehicles, etc. I am going to be a busy man.

Went to the main chow hall for the first time. There are a total of two(2) dining halls on this post, one is run by the US Army, and one is run by the KBR company of Houston, Texas. The quality of the food is about equal in both of them. I also made my first visit to the recreation center, what a disappointment. Plywood hut, with wooden benches. Equipment is run down and shabby. Remember, the Recreation centers get no government money.

I tried to see the Chaplain, about getting a room for a masonic club. The Chaplain's office was closed, I will try again later. I am excited about getting a masonic square and compasses club underway here. The First Sergeant is very supportive, even though he is not a mason.

I walked outside the tent at 2am, and the sky was spectacular. We are at 7200 feet altitude here, and there are no lights permitted to burn at night. There is virtually no air pollution, and no city lights. The stars just blaze,the milky way was a band of white, with stars down to the sixth magnitude! It makes you stare in wonder! Back in Iraq, the air is dusty, and on some nights, the moon is the color of polished brass, stunning.

It is going to be a struggle to keep clean here. The dust and filth is everywhere. The Afhgans are not used to Western style toilets, so they defecate in the mens room, on the floor, and on the seat. The toilets are always filthy. At least the hot water is on in the shower house, and the laundry. I had a weeks worth of laundry that I turned in today. There is an Afghan man, who washes the clothes, and you get them back the same day.

I have done a lot of walking, and my feet are tired. The place is all gravel, with no pavements or paths. My shin muscles are sore from the walking. The firm promised me a vehicle, and I will be glad when it gets here.

It seems like my postings are always going down in quality. I thought Al Asad was a paradise, and then Talafar had many good things going for it. At least I was in a CHU (Trailer), and we had decent bus service. Now I am in a tent, sleeping on a pad. I do not know when I will get a permanent housing nor when I will get an office. The base just does not have the facilities.

So I make the most of it. I will work from the mayor's cell, or the rec Hall, and relax in the tent. I am re-reading "The path between the seas", about the Panama canal.

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