Thursday, January 25, 2007

I'm back

  I’m back from my trip.  It was more like a vacation.  It is amazing how the Air Force lives.  Balad (Camp Anaconda) was an Iraqi Air Force Base.  So they have a lot of stuff there that you don’t find at an old train station.  They had a real movie theater, outdoor and indoor pool, four huge gymnasiums, Thirty-two internet cafes (The internet café technicians told me this), two PX’s with DVD players, televisions, computers, CD’s, DVD’s, and all kinds of food.  They also had an Bizarre (Flea Market for all you Arkansans reading this), Burger King, Pizza Hut, Subway, a coffee shop called “Mr. Beans”, and Taco Bell.  I couldn’t believe it.  If they had base housing there, I would ask to do three years.  They had more stuff going on than 29 Palms does.  They had a flag football league, two basketball leagues (men and women), and a floor hockey league.  They were having dance lessons at one of the gyms.

  I read an article in the Stars & Stripes about two months ago where some Air Force lady complained about getting care packages with hygiene gear in them and my Marines and I couldn’t understand what the problem was and we thought we were reading it wrong.  Now I know.

  I felt bad about being there and having all that stuff knowing that my Marines were not going to get to experience any of it.  Sgt Bostick and I only saw three other Marines on the whole base the entire time we were there.  Two of them worked at the hospital.  They were the Marine Liaisons that I had talked to when I got sick.  The other Marine was there because he was injured and was going back to his unit the next day.  It was cool to be the only Marines.  There were a lot of civilians on the base and they were all saying, “Hey Marine”, “Semper Fi”, “Ooh-Rah”, “I used to be a Marine”, “Hey, what are you guys doing down here?”.  So we met a bunch of really nice people that are over here doing contracting work.

  I ate at Taco Bell one time for lunch.  I couldn’t believe I was actually going to pay $7 for food when I could eat for free at the chow hall.  I’m the cheapest person you will ever know.  I wouldn’t have done it accept Sgt Bostick wanted to have it.  I blame him.  hahaha.

  I also saw one of my old MSG Marines.  Sgt Kohler was one of my guards at the Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine.  He got out of the Marine Corps and I heard from him twice in the first two years and then I lost track of him.  I was sitting at a bus stop and he walks up to me in an Army uniform.  He joined the National Guard in Colorado and his unit got deployed to Al Asad.  He got promoted to Staff Sergeant and works in admin.  Small world.

  So, all the computer were fixed.  So now the internet café will be fully stocked.  I’m hoping that there won’t be any more long waits to use a computer.

  I gotta go with Peyton Manning and the Colts for the Super Bowl.  He deserves to win it.  I usually always root for the underdog since I don’t actually have a favorite Pro team but in this case, Manning is not full of himself like most superstars these days.  I like watching the good guys win.  I was just happy to see the Patriots get beat out.  I don’t like seeing the same team make it year after year.  Hopefully the Saints can keep up what they’ve started.  Now if only the Cardinals and Lions could put something together.  I will never root for the Raiders (kind of like USC) – I enjoy seeing them at the bottom of the rankings.



At 11:17 PM, Blogger Missy said...

Good thing there wasn't a Sonic or we might never see you again!!! I had sushi for lunch, not Taco Bell but the next best thing!
So you got to go sight seeing this time. I can't believe Camp Anaconda has all those things, don't tell your Marines. Some things are better left unsaid. :)
Love you and glad you're back to the blogs!
Love, Sis

At 2:41 AM, Anonymous Linda said...

Mike, a couple of years ago Stars and Stripes had a survey of the accommodations for the different branches of the service in Iraq. It was appalling to read about how well the Air Force was treated in comparison to the Marines and Army. I wrote a letter to the editor about it and they published it. I wrote to my congresswoman and I think everyone should. Those heroes who risk their lives on a daily basis are given so little in comparison. I don't understand it. Write your congressman readers!! Let's have the branches trade spaces like the tv show.
Mike, I'm with you on the Colts and of course we cheer for anyone who plays SC. Kids aren't allowed to wear anything with Raiders on the label at school
While the Air Force has all the nice things, the Marines have...Marines and that is a thousand times better!! I'm with those guys you saw at the base. Whenever I see a Marine, it brings such a sense of wonder and thankfulness. You guys truly are amazing! Missed your writing. Kids are making valentines for the guys.

At 2:45 PM, Anonymous 147 said...

Taco Bell! Hold the onions?
Don't guess you found the balsam trees!
Sure feels like I did!

At 4:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reminds me of a phrase in an Emenim song "snap back to reality". So you had a taste of the real world again??!!! Good thing it was you and not me, except for leaving the "guys back home" hanging, I would have been begging to LET ME STAY!!!!!

Hummmmm.....wonder what commercials they will have this year???
Welcome back!!! Love ya!! Melanie


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