Monday, October 10, 2005

Made it to the starting line

Get Ready, Get Set, Go!

So I've made it to my end point, which is kind of where this blog is supposed to begin. Iraq.

It's a lot like some of the places I've encountered in my civilian job. A lot of civilian contractors running around wiring up the electrical systems (more like cleaning them up - one told me today that a building in my area had zero grounding - so all the wires were 'hot'), building up the compound, feeding people, managing housing, etc.

The air quality is really poor here. I was told that during my clean up, I'd find soot in almost every nook and crany in my shelter. That means a lot of coughing and weezing on my behalf. You can tell who else is new by the hacking and spitting that people do.

I did a little running this morning - just a mile and I performed pretty well for having been away from it for 2.5 months. The air quality really impacted me while running and then again after the run when I was cleaning off.

A soldier here is going to give me a couple of good running routes for this area and I'll be taking a jog with the soldier later on this week to get a good feel for where everything is - the same soldier gave me the down low on educational opportunities here. The Education center is phenominal! They have GRE prep courses for free (it depends on instructor availability - usually a soldier teaches the classes) and the testing is done in Kuwait 2 times a year. So there's no excuse for me not to have taken the exam at least once while I'm here.

As for dining, we have a lot of selections/choices here. KBR is treating us well. I can find soy based rice bowls (with chicken/beef terriyaki), and they even have Kashi cereal bowls for breakfast! (fruits, and beverage options are really spectacular).

So, I lucked out. A lot of people expected the worst situation and many are and will be suprised by what they'll find here. I was very skeptical of the doom and gloom description of the place, based on my experiences overseas in the region but, at the same time I had to maintain a certain mentality that was equally skeptical of my own experiences.

I learned here that my intuition is probably a good thing to fall back on - so I'll need to stop challenging my own expectations.

There's a theater here I'll need to check out - those of you with a good list of shows, I'd like to hear back from you on what's worth seeing - we're about 2 months behind (they're showing Flight Plan and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory here) US theater schedules.

Well, that's about it for now, I'm sure I'll have more to talk about later. I'm fine, I'm well and this hand off for rotation is going to be pretty smooth. My counterpart is a really sharp lady and she's done a great job of getting me introduced to my new network of signal personnel.



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