Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Small Life

Life on a Forward Operating Base is small. We may think we're accomplishing great things, but our scope is limited to very few locations. My life is largely limited to my trailer, the dining facility, work, the gym and the walk between each place. Every once in a while I can escape to new vistas, but the above locations are my life.

My CHU (trailer) is smaller than a Katrina trailer. There's my bed, a nightstand, wall locker and a rug that really ties the room together. I have a room mate, and he has all the same stuff I do. No room for anything else, but did I mention the bed? That's the best part, as I'm not sleeping on a cot. I had a cot for my first tour in Iraq, minus two days I slept on a bed somewhere on Baghdad International Air Port.

The dining facility is marvelous, really. There are meat carving stations, stir fry stations, short order (hamburger and french fries) and a main line. All manner of soup, salad (I'm wary of salad in this country. Friend of mine caught food poisoning last time I was here from a salad) and beverages. They even have near beer. Why? Why must they torment us with the taste of beer, but none of the alcohol? No one drinks beer for the taste!

Friday is surf and turf day. Yes, steak and lobster/crab in the middle of Iraq. Would you eat seafood this far from the ocean? Neither do I.

The Post Exchange (PX) is the biggest mystery for me, as we don't need it. All of our toiletry needs are taken care of by care packages, snack food is easily smuggled from the mess hall and we can get cheap DVDs (3 bucks a pop) from the movie pirates. But, there are sundry items like American soda (always flat) and Maxim magazines that we can only get from the PX...and American cigarettes for those that smoke.

My office is where I spend most of the day. I moved in late, so got stuck with the desk that no one wanted. A particle board and aluminum monstrosity that cost KBR 15 dollars and then sold to the Army for 300 (guess on my part). Someday I hope to move up in the world and actually have a drawer or two. But, I have a coffee machine and hot water heater for tea, so my caffeine needs are met. I have my iPod full of angry music and powerpoint slides to fill my time. Joy!

Sometimes I can leave, but that involves helicopters (more on that later) and eating goat.

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