Thursday, March 31, 2005

Feels like the wild, wild west and shitters.

Check out Nothing to see here, move along . . .at (Blogger is not loading properly) about life here in Afghanistan. He was here and writes great and in-depth essays. Sometimes I am too busy to write. This is great advice: I would make permalinks but is not loading properly. They should make a text only dashboard for those who dream of broadband internet access.

One of the first impressions that struck me when I when I arrived here that I was transported back in time with the majority of the inhabitants of Kandahar Air Field (KAF) wear Desert Camoflaugue Uniform (DCU) of the US Army or Colitilation forces, with the exception of civilians or Third Country Nationals (TCNs) who are employed by the Colilation or Afghan or Local Nationals (LNs) who are also employed as interpreters, liaison officials or labors who are involved with the construction of KAF.

All the roads on KAF are dirt roads that are dusty when dry, but turn to mud soup when it rains. It did not rain much in Afghanistan, maybe two to three inches a year, but this year there has been record amount of rain and the locals attribute this to Allah being pleased with the American and Afghans working well together while the seven year drought was blamed on the Taliban.

One factor that gives KAF that Wild, Wild West ambiance is that almost everybody is armed. All soldiers carry a pistol, rifle or squad automatic weapon (SAW). A soldier asked me to hold his SAW while digging through his pockets to find enough change to pay for his cappuccino. This place would be a gun control advocate nightmare, but I feel safe around here. There is no real crime here. No muggings, assaults, robberies or other serious crimes. Everybody is friendly, respectful and courteous. Is it because military personnel, TCNs and HNs are more virtuous and vetted or with everybody packing heats, that keeps the hooligans in line? I go will with the first assumption.

Along with the dirt roads, there are no curbs, or a few street lights. There a few street signs with the names of American army division that have been to KAF and a couple of stop signs. Most of the soldiers and civilians sleep in force provider tents that are equipped with heaters and air conditioning. There is more modern housing that is made out of metal that is on concrete pads in the plans.

Looking for porcelain shitters is a big thing for new comers. There a not many buildings with indoor plumbing so there are many porta-potties all over the place. Next to the tents there shipping containers that are converted to showers with toilets. Then there a few big shipping containers that have real toilets that flush. So a cherry will make a mental map that marks the grid of the containers with the real toilets. When one is moving around KAF, one will always be mindful of there location of the toilets and their personal needs, so there will be no discomfort or accidents.


Blogger Mike said...

Haha, mentally marking the spots with flush toilets.

Anyway, glad to see you made it to Afghanistan in one piece; looking forward to all your future posts.

Stay safe!

7:49 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

P.S. - I shouldn't be laughing; I've done the same thing at many a Boy Scout camp.

7:50 AM  
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