Thursday, January 15, 2009

Movin' on up... to the Iraq side

This is the plane we took to Iraq.  Its a C-17 and it's huge.  Inside all the seats are bolted down in rows and there is NO leg room.  It makes coach look like a private plane.  Also, no snacks.  But you probably guessed that.

Once we were in Iraq we were off and running... or flying I should say... to several bases.  Here DeAnna and I flex for the guys in a base that used to be a shopping mall.  There were even old escalators there!
Sadur City- one of the best known bases in Iraq.  This base saw a record number of days in action.  Thank god for these signs.  I thought Id never find the market.
Our mode of travel.  Puffy, eat your heart out.
This is an arial view of one of Sadaam's palaces.  Now it's known as Camp Liberty.  There are several buildings the troops have taken over.  We actually got to stay there in the hunting lodge, which they've converted to accommodate diplomats, heads of state.. and uh, me.  
Munhommed and I.  It was a love affair that would never really begin... what with he being all of 12.  Our religious differences would tear at our heart strings like romeo and juliet.  But for that fleeting moment... on the back of his harley- er, uh- moped... I closed my eyes and we rode over the gravel... and it was just like Italy.  Just like it.  Ciao Munhommed.  We'll always have Sadur...
Chatting and gabbing with the guys
The fallen soldiers are memorialized
Cards and letters from around the world.  Most from children.  The notes make you want to cry.
Ok... This gentleman is Matrix.  That's his name.  I feel I must take a moment and explain the genius of Matrix.  He is an Iraqi Interpreter.  He also loves his camera.  so much so that he will sit and take picture after picture from about 3 feet away until that memory card is full.  And he did.  This is not a practice reserved solely for him.  Oh no.  We discovered in our travels that there were many "Matrix's" on bases.  Many of them Iraqi interpreters, some chefs, security detail and the like.  We fondly named them all Matrix... and its a perfect name really.  Because you can't escape it.
Us with our boyfriends at Sadur.  Munhommed, (my romeo) and his rival.  See there were not one but TWO Tiger Marts on this base.  These are markets that sell all kinds of stuff (see my previous post) and they are usually run by Iraqis.  In this case, two rival families vied for the best market on base.  They look friendly in this picture but rest assured, the competition for Tiger Mart of the year is stiff.  Also note Munhommed's belly.  Sweet thing.  Riding around all day can get sweaty.  He is working off that d-fac cake we saw him eating!
Our third base of the evening... note the xmas trees in the background.
Me in a tank.  Watch out!!  These guys were awesome.  They let us do all kinds of stuff- get in a tank, drive a Humvee... uh...  I mean, play uno, watch sports center...
Us with our certificates of appreciation
Vroooooom!  Hey, donuts in the parking lot anyone?
Getting to Iraq wasn't always the easy part... the planes may be large- but on time, they ain't.