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, June 26, 2006

Crossin' the Pech

This little man's gaze at the opposite bank says it all - so this is the crossing point? "And you may ask yourself, How did I get here?" (my thanks to the Talking Heads...) So how did I get there?

The convoy taking me west was continuing on to Camp Blessing, another small FOB in the mountains, and not to the Korengal Valley where I needed to be. But as luck would have it, a convoy that had set out for the Korengal days ago had been bogged down at the crossing point. As we drove by, I yelled to the driver, "Hold up! I'm getting out!" Guess I'm lucky they actually did stop.

Afghan soldiers were among the first I saw after jumping out of the engineer vehicle with my gear and crossing a field, getting curious looks from farmers, to link up with the convoy about to attempt a crossing. It's funny- they had to be thinking, "What's with this guy?" (Joneser, I know you're laughing)

Another view of the opposite bank, where it became clear that the carnival had truly come to town, and it was us. Villages on both sides were glued to the spectacle...

And a spectacle it turned out to be. Just as soon as the crossing began, it ground to a halt in a few feet of rushing river. Marines and Army engineers then worked to free the stuck humvee, quickly as daylight was fading fast...to paraphrase more Talking Heads, "Letting the days go by/(DON'T) let the water hold me down"!

Another look at the nearly submerged guinea pig humvee...

And the people, highly amused. A couple jingle trucks easily crossed shortly after, which I couldn't help but laugh about. The world's most advanced military halted at a river, while local jalopy trucks bounce through! They did let up quite a cheer when our first hummer made it across though, so they were good sports about it.

Eventually the vehicle rescue did turn out to be successful, thanks to the towing capacity of another humvee. The re-entry then began, and vehicles began crossing "into the blue again/ in the silent water" (wow- the song is really in my head now- "same as it ever was, same at it EVER was"). Three more would get stuck, but most gunned it through without much trouble.

This is how long it took to get this lengthy convoy across the 3-ft rapids...it was dark by the time we reached the other bank. I had found a vehicle with an open seat, and joined a Marine gunny (an advisor to the Afghan army) in crossing. Just a little splashing, and unfortunately no good photos.

Once there, we made the call to stay the night, and resume the convoy in the morning. That day proved that 'come hell or high water,' I was getting back to the damn Korengal! Afghan Yoda, seen here, agreed that I was on the right track.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the photos. Even the bumpy ride ones!! ; ) Keep up the great work keeping that side of the world "real" to us back here.

June 26, 2006 at 1:49 PM  
Anonymous diana said...

The river looks icy cold. I am curious about the wall long the side of it, it looks ancient, any idea who built it? It almost looks like the top of it has ramparts-like a castle-very interesting.
Do you think they are just for decoration?

June 26, 2006 at 11:18 PM  
Anonymous Janet said...

I am SO involved in your journey, though this time I managed to keep in mind this is all past tense. You are an incredible story teller, Capt Dan. What a book this would make!!! Thank-you for the pictures and account, appreciated on many levels.

June 27, 2006 at 5:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coming out of lurkdom here.

ITA with Janet. I follow your blog daily. I really enjoy your writing and the pictures. (passed the word along about your blog, so maybe you'll get more hits).

Thanks so for all your doing.

DebbieKinIL

June 27, 2006 at 12:26 PM  
Anonymous Agnieszka O. said...

Ha, I knew somebody would get stuck :-)
The spring time is ever more fun!

June 27, 2006 at 4:43 PM  
Anonymous karl maxwell sanker said...

That last pic of "Afghan Yoda" would make an awesome album cover ... come to think of it, that's not a bad band name either ... !

June 29, 2006 at 1:35 PM  
Anonymous Hankmeister said...

God bless all of you for the security and order you are bringing to that region of the world.

BTW, have any anti-war protestors put feet on their rhetoric about being global citizens for peace, liberty and democracy shown up as willing human shields? The reason I ask is it looks like American and Coalition military forces are doing far more to bring a sense of civilization and stability to a country that has known nothing but war the last few centuries than those who cry crocodile tears on the safety of American sidewalks while condemning the "evil military industrial complex".

July 6, 2006 at 6:37 PM  
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October 27, 2009 at 3:34 AM  

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