Cushy Forward Base
Home, sweet home. This is my abode, at least for now. It took the Army a few days to confirm that I would, in fact, be staying where I dropped my stuff and grabbed a bed. It's not too bad--plywood dividers give you the feeling of a room, which beats tent living. Everything is constantly covered in a fine dirt layer, but that's life in the dust bowl that is this region...my fashionista sense tells me that works fine with the uniforms we wear, however.
A view of radar hill overlooking the base, with Aziz's bakery in the foreground. It's a bitch to run up this thing for workouts, but it affords a great view of the base and nearby local compounds. I haven't gotten his full story yet, but Aziz is apparently a local baker/cook who opened up shop here when U.S. Marines first rolled in. Word is he had a kitchen too, which was authorized for use by our boys until a couple caught some "Osama's revenge" after eating there. Not good times.
Here is the loneliest palm tree in the land. I'll eventually send more photos of base, once I send them through the release official...wait, that's me! It's very maze-like, with snaking concrete and sandbag barriers of all shapes and sizes keeping us safe. Of course those same barriers make walking around at night tricky, since we operate under light discipline as a forward base (which means darkness, people...and it gets DARK here). The stars are truly amazing on clear nights, though. Especially the bright ones close to the horizon that move around and shoot .50-cal machine guns, since they keep any angry militia from even thinking about rocketing us.
Here is the new mosque on base, for the many Afghan workers and soldiers who live and work here. There is a ridiculous amount of construction going on around this place, and if you catch a glimpse of the workers as I did yesterday, wearing their kameez partoog and with pickaxes flying, you can't help but think of Raiders of the Lost Ark. As for facilities, showers are hot though water pressure is a trickle. Laundry is quick, if you don't mind your clothes being washed with Afghan hospital bedsheets. And the chow isn't bad here, although they lack two essentials: milk and orange juice. Obviously I am pretending beer is not an essential. But if you feel like drinking 40 or so fantas each meal or eating french fries and grits any meal of the day, you will be hooked up, trust me!