After the long charter flight from the states, we landed in the early evening at a base in Kuwait. I helped unload the baggage from the baggage compartment (good workout) into trucks and we were transported to the briefing area where we waited to unload all the bags from the trucks onto the ground. I was lucky enough to unload the truck that had my bags in it and was able to locate them quickly when the trucks were empty. I was now carrying about 150 lbs in two duffle bags plus my backpack and we still had not obtained a place to sleep yet. After another briefing, which ended after midnight, we were released to find a tent to stay in until seats were available for us to fly into Afghanistan. About ten of us were able to get tent space together, but our living conditions weren’t extravagant-
and the bathrooms and showers (two different connexes) were about 200 feet from the tent. Remember, this was the end of January/beginning of February- temperatures were around freezing in the evenings so bathroom trips and showering became planned events over the next three days that we were stuck on that base. We were able to eat in the DFAC a couple of times, but found out after the first day that contractors were not allowed to eat in there. In place of decent cafeteria-style food, I chose a local food joint-
What is a Big Mac without special sauce or tomatoes? It is basically a double cheese burger! The rehearsed response when you order one is “We ran out of special sauce and tomatoes” but I think it translates to “We’ve never had special sauce or tomatoes”. I ate most of my meals at Subway (no tomatoes) and KFC (get the chicken wraps- easy eating on the go) during the rest of my stay there. It was fun finding an internet connection and an outlet when you were competing with hundreds of soldiers and other contractors- kind of like trying to get a table at a fast food joint during the lunch rush. I was able to let my family know that I was o.k. and gave them updates on my progress, which was nice and was even able to video chat a couple of times- big technological change from just a couple of years ago.
After a couple of attempts over the next two days to get Space A (space available seating), we were able to get a flight to our (first) final destination- Afghanistan. That was when the real fun started…