Monday, November 28, 2011

Been here a month

Greetings all! I apologize that I have not written more until now. I have had an interesting ride. I got a call on 20 Oct, and the man asked me, if I wanted to return to Afghanistan. I said yes, working in Afg. is better than being unemployed in the USA, even the USA food is better. (We have cheese in aerosol cans). I did the interview, and it was pretty much toast. They asked me questions about European software, and I bombed. No harm done. I will NOT lie on an interview, not only is it a question of personal integrity, it is embarrassing to get a job, and then not be able to do it!

Anyway, I told the firm, that I did not have the qualifications. I got a call on 22 Oct, and the firm said to pack my bags, I was heading to Afghanistan. I flew to Dubai, and checked into the hotel. (very nice- BTW).

The firm presented me to the client, again, and they still did not want me. So I was told to prepare to fly back to the USA. Then the firm asked me if I was interested in a different job. So I said OK. The firm showed my impeccable qualifications to the client, and the client agreed to hire me.

I then flew from Dubai to Bagram air base. About a three hour flight, not bad. Then I had to grab my bags, and get a 20 minute hop to the Kabul Air Base. I arrived there, and I was met by a man from my new firm. I was taken to the barracks(nice), and checked in.

I am now working 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, as a communications consultant. The work is nice, and the people I work with are terrific. Only problem is, all of them are "short timers", and will be leaving for other duties in a couple of weeks. If the new crew is half as good, I will have an excellent time. I am continually impressed by the excellence of our people here.

About my life and work:

I live in a concrete barracks. I am in a room with an Army sergeant. He is a fine man, and a good soldier. My only nitpick, is he calls me "sir" and "Mr. Martin". I wish he would drop the sir, and use "yeah", and call me "charles". I guess all of the courtesy is a habit of military service.

The barracks is QUIET! I am not next to a roaring generator. The water in the shower is HOT, but the water is salty. You scrub and scrub and scrub, and you cannot get any lather. Then you rinse off, and try to get all the soap scum off. The shower stall is tiny, and I can barely turn around. Last week, I bumped into the wall, and said "I hate this place", and someone in the next stall said "I hope you are having a good time down there".

The food in the military chow hall is ordinary. I have had better, I have had worse. It is better than the slop they served at Kandahar. That food was so gross, that I was living on Ramen noodles and cookies. I could not even bear to walk into the chow hall.

I get a small breakfast. two boiled eggs, bread, some fruit, milk, and juice. Then I will get some corn flakes and milk. Sometimes there is a newspaper I can read.

I catch the carpool at 0730am, and ride to the office. I must wear my helmet and flak-vest when I am in the vehicle. I must have my helmet/flak not more than 5 minutes away from me.

I get a ride back to the chow hall at 1130, and I must meet the carpool at 1220. Then I go back to the office. I get off about 600pm, and ride back to the barracks. I almost never get the supper. Two days ago, I got a Pizza, and it was good.

The television in the barracks is a wide screen, but the cable has been down for a couple of days, all you can see is the TV guide channel.

Around 900pm, I crawl into the rack, and try to sleep. Last week I went to bed at 900pm, and I slept all night, without having to get up and go to the men's room. I consider this a major accomplishment.

Then at 0600am the alarm rings, and I am back to it again. I started work on 31 oct. I am on a one year project, but I would like to stay longer.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

arrived at Kabul

I spent a week in Dubai. I arrived at Kabul Air base on Oct 30. It is a typical NATO base, people from many countries are stationed here. Even Outer Mongolia.