Sunday, April 15, 2007

Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

As Dorothy so brilliantly remarks in the Wizard of Oz, "Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore", I've got that same feeling because it is true. I have left Kansas for good. It was an experience and it was time to leave. We're not in Kansas anymore, but we are not in Afghanistan yet. We arrived in Kuwait after about 20 hours of plane rides and bus rides and now we are awaiting transportation to Afghanistan. The word of the day for Kuwait is "sand". This makes sense considering it is a desert. It really is quite a nice camp (that is what the army calls these overseas bases, kind of makes is sound a bit fun like summer camp only everyone's walks around with weapons and the "camp counselors" are grumpy army guys). So we are located at Camp Virginia (it is nothing like Virginia) and it really does have a lot of amenities for the troops. There is a movie theater, a couple small shops, a main exchange (that is like the Wal-Mart of the military), several fast food places (yes McDonalds and Subway have made it here), a gym, chapel (no I did not make it to church as we were traveling), basketball and volleyball courts. It is sunny and warm and there is sand everywhere. It is almost like being at a resort except for the lack of an ocean and the fact that we are in a military zone. We are living in tents that hold 14 people and we sleep on cots. So anything bad I said about Fort Riley accommodations I must take back to an extent. Fortunately, we did not have any work to do so we could enjoy the "resort" and relax all day. There is a bit of history here as well. This location is where some of the major battles of Desert Storm took place.

Getting here was interesting. We had all our duffle bags packed and of course the army ordered rain so when we staged our bags for loading on trucks everything got nice and wet. We then had our check in, which is called manifesting. We all got weighed in with our carryon bags and weapons (I won't tell you how much I weighed in at; it was all in my luggage). We received a motivational brief from the General and then we loaded up on buses for the beginning of our long trip. I was designated at the convoy commander for the whole trip, meaning I had to count people and keep track of them the whole time. It is a bit like being the teacher on a school field trip. "Everyone make sure you have your buddy with you so you don't get lost." I did not make them hold hands.

The journey continues and I will be right here for you reporting my experiences and hopefully some funny observations.

Once again, peace to you all,


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