Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday Number Three

You know, I was thinking (and maybe, in the interest of mental self preservation, I shouldn't think this way) that while the subject line says I'm on the 3rd Monday, I've really only been in Iraq for less than two weeks.  Which means, I have a really long way to go.

I'm pretty good at fooling myself....whenever I run marathons, I trick myself in the same way.  I hit mile marker number 22 and I tell myself:  just a little over three miles to go, because I know that every step takes me away from that 4 mile demarcation line.  I think these sorts of mental tricks are going to come in handy over the next 11+ months.

So, you all might be wondering what it looks like where I live.  Well, I thought I'd show you a picture of Dodge City North (left), which is the CHU (Containerized Housing Unit) 'neighborhood' I live in.  Our CHU's are also referred to as Hooches.  I swear, I am not making this stuff up. 

This picture is exactly what it looks like just about everywhere.  There are T-walls everywhere you look to protect us from incoming fire.  Thankfully, there hasn't been any since I've been here.  The little sections that are a further out are 'doorways' in to the space that is set aside for each CHU, which is really just a trailer.  With no running water, but they do have electricity and access to wireless internet.  The CHU I live in has three side by side rooms design to house two people per room.  Again, thankfully, I do not yet have a room mate.My fingers are crossed that it remains that way as long as possible.

As you can see, it's pretty sparse....except for the gravel. It is everywhere.  Deep, chunky gravel.  It is incredibly irritating.  But I'm told I'll appreciate it when it rains, because everywhere else that is just covered in sand with turn in to deep deep muck.

This last week was pretty exciting.  I hosted my first delegation from Washington DC, rode in two convoys while driving on the infamous Route Irish on my way out and back to the NEC (New Embassy Compound) in the International Zone.  Full Battle Rattle and loaded weapons...these security guys do NOT mess around.  So, I guess all that training I went through in South Carolina was really worth it.  I was alert, yet comfortable.

Now, sadly, I have settled in to the other "rite of passage" in Baghdad, which is illness.  I am battling the Baghdad Crud.  It's nothing terminal, but it is strength sapping and irritating.  I wish I could crawl in to my big king sized bed back home and sleep for hours.  Instead, I have another early wake up call and miles and miles of gravel....


  1. That gravel is a be-yotch! Hated it. The mud will swallow you, though, when it rains.

  2. Enjoy the gravel.. you will get used to it (yeah, right...). At least you get to sleep in containers, our tents were real enoying when the wind was blowing hard.

    Do you use your rooms as shelters?