AfghaniDan

A young man's strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk...and apparently, back again.

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Location: Denver, Colorado, United States

The details of my life are quite inconsequential, really. Summers in Rangoon...luge lessons...

Monday, February 20, 2006

FOB in the Rain

"Well I’ll run in the rain till I’m breathless. When I’m breathless I’ll run till I drop, hey." I apologize to Messrs. Page, Plant and Jones...I just couldn't help myself. FOB, fool, it was just too easy (Led Zep for those who are lost). I experienced a couple days of rainy weather here for the first time, though in fairness it was probably only a couple hours of actual rain. It just threatens for awhile, drizzles now and then, unleashes pounding raindrops about 1/4" thick for a few minutes, threatens more, then clears up nicely. Not too bad for winter weather, but it leaves the entire place chock full of mud and new ponds...to hit up the song one more time, "It’s all a terrible mess."

Quite a few people have asked what exactly I do or what each day is like, but I'm really not at liberty to say. There are lots of meetings, both in person and by computer network, there is lots of planning and juggling schedules, and in my case, lots of reporting and paying attention to reports. It's not as exciting as say, firing artillery or flying helicopters, but on the other hand it's a hell of a lot more interesting than many jobs in a base like this. Can you imagine a year away from your family to supervise an Afghan cleaning crew? Me neither, but I'm damn glad the KBR guys are here to do that.

The changing weather has made the skies more interesting, day and night. And for the first time in years, I've been paying attention to the lunar cycle. Not just how full or new the moon is, and it is a brilliant sight in a dark sky, but what time of night it rises and sets (when you're base is lights-off, it's a helpful thing to know). What cracks me up is how the concept of light discipline escapes many soldiers who walk around with their flashlights bouncing all over the damn place. When dinner lets out and dozens of red, blue and green lights are shining every which way, it looks more to me like a glowstick war at a Phish concert than a forward base.

Ah, the rainbow. Made me smile and gave me some nice hope for the people of this land until my buddy here pointed out that it ends in Pakistan. Ok, that's just being wicked, but there are many Afghans who are resentful of their neighboring country, for good reason. While Pakistan is a poor country by most international standards, Afghanistan is one of the very poorest by a wide margin. The barest essentials are all that most people in this land have, if even that. Hopefully most of the recently-promised international aid from the London conference gets where it needs to go out here.

And just like that, the sun is out. This was only taken about 30 minutes after the puddle photos. But the post-rain night sky is even more striking, if I may ramble yet again about the stars here and how they are dusted across the dome, from flickering to steady, faint to bold, even shooting stars...it is far better than any planetarium. I can make out Orion, the Big Dipper, and uh, maybe one or two others--Sorry Dad, I never did pay much attention to how to navigate by constellation!

8 Comments:

Blogger Inner Prop said...

Oh man!!! That should have been fixed by now. It looks like the gravel laying (dust and mud abatement) has stopped too.

We struggled with flooding all through 2004. When the camp was built originally it was the middle of a drought and nobody thought about water flow during a lot of rain. The flooding came as quite a shock.

When I was in Afghanistan there were no hydro engineers in the country so we just had to go around while it was raining to see which way the water went.

About November 04 an USAF team came that knew how to put in drainage systems. They designed one for us and we started building it.

It looks like they never finished it.

When I can find the photos I will post some flood pics on miserable donuts (www.miserabledonuts.blogspot.com)

February 20, 2006 at 7:26 PM  
Anonymous Janie said...

Yuck to the mud!

But in the end a rainbow...

Thank you for your Service, Soldier!

February 20, 2006 at 7:41 PM  
Anonymous Janie said...

Thank you for your Service, Marine!

I knew that!

February 20, 2006 at 9:23 PM  
Blogger Major John said...

Constellations? Isn't that why God invented the GPS?

February 21, 2006 at 7:27 AM  
Blogger I Love Jeets said...

"All I can say is that my life is pretty plain. I like watching the puddles gather rain..."
-Blind Melon

"Purple rain. Purple rain."
-Prince

"It's raining men! Hallelujah, it's raining men!"
-Alex Rodriguez

February 21, 2006 at 7:37 AM  
Anonymous Emily said...

Nothing lasts forever, even cold Afghani rain...

And I wonder, still I wonder, who will stop the rain?

February 21, 2006 at 7:43 AM  
Anonymous Milli Vanilli said...

Blame it on the rain, yah yah...you can blame in on the rain...cause the rain don't mind...and the rain don't care. You got to blame it on something!

February 21, 2006 at 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Kentucky Colonel said...

"And up ahead’s another town
That I’ll go walking thru
With the rain in my shoes,
Searchin for you
In the cold afghani rain,"

Sorry Elvis...

February 21, 2006 at 7:46 PM  

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