Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I See Hot People

Sp, one thing about being in Iraq for such a long time is that your hot-meter gets all sorts of out of whack. On my first contract there were only a few attractive women, and on the second one, although there were more, they were all soldiers, and anyone who has seen a woman wearing ACUs knows that no matter what they look like underneath, with the uniform on, they all look like this . (By the way, do you have any idea how hard it is to find pictures of female soldiers? Try typing the search into google search, you get lots of maxim articles...)

So, point being, I come home, and it's like everywhere I go, I see attractive women. I went to the Container Store and Barnes and Noble last night and they were EVERYWHERE. Then this afternoon, I go to the post office, stop at the little dive next door for some lunch, and there are incredible hotties in there, too. Now, since I know (based on the incredibly scientific survey techniques of Travel and Leisure magazine) that Washington, DC is the second least attractive city in the US. So these can't be objectively attractive women all over the place. I must be ewaring my desert-goggles or something. Shoot, I don't even notice the nose thing anymore...

Monday, April 7, 2008

Laxk of Updates

So, I've been busy getting my life straight again ($450 of library fines, had to go down and get that sorted out, got it down to $50 by actually returning the books that had been sitting on my bookshelf during my adventures abroad). It sucks when you don't have USERRA on your side for these problems. Not that I ever pointed out to people over the phone that I was in Iraq as a contractor and not as a soldier, you kind of let them draw their own conclusions.

But, I also felt I needed to cut back a bit so I don't die. Just kidding. But I don't really have any goofy KBR stories anymore, so I'll have to cut my comments back to news stories and my own experiences.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

One more military vehicle

So, in addition to the vehicles previously posted on, I can now add a Chinook to my list. Definitely louder than a Blackhawk, although that might be because we flew with the back door open (for the door gunner). And there's no nifty complicated webbing to hold you in your seat in case of . . . unforeseen problems. So I flew the whole way back to BIAP with one hand on my luggage and the other with a death grip on the bench we were all seated on. It was, interesting. But, a day at Striker during the dry season is much preferable to four days during the rainy one. Plus, I got to have some North End Pizza - which is the best pizza I've ever had. I still find it amusing that you have to go to Iraq to have really good pizza.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

My Racism Increases

So, if there's one thing that traveling does, it really improves your opinions of stereotypes. Well, maybe improves is the wrong word, its more like... strengthens. First of all, Americans are pretty bad travelers. Now, I will grant you that Qatar is a vastly different "Middle East nation" than other ones, more urbane, more Western-ized. Nonetheless, it is still a Muslim nation, and a 14-year old girl parading around with her half-shirt and low-cut jeans is probably not appropriate. I was very tempted to make a comment to her father (her pedophile?) about the sensitivity he shows to other cultures.

Now, the thing is, Americans don't hold a candle to some other ethnic groups when traveling. The seventy year old Indian grandmother carrying her infant grandson is my case in point here. We get to Dulles, waiting for our luggage, and this whole family, including grandmother, just muscles their way to the front of the group. Not like there was even any luggage out yet, they just felt entitled, I guess. Not a problem, the only thing is, this grandmother (with infant in arms) just stands there as the luggage does start flowing. She's obviously not going to help out with pulling their bags off the carousel, but is just completely oblivious to everyone around her. Especially as others begin to swing their 50-60 lb bags off the carousel and bump into her (and again, her 1 year old grandchild). Now, I will highlight this general attitude with the other woman on the plane who, in direct contradiction to the pilot's direction, gets up while the plane is still taxiing to open an overhead bin and pull her personal bag out. (And promptly gets yelled at by the unbelieving stewardess). And, finally, the man who took up two complete overheads with his own luggage. On a four-hour domestic flight, that's annoying, but on a 15 hour international jaunt over the pond, having to put your bags underneath the seat in front of you, and cramping your leg room, is almost a health risk.

And, for the record, Qatar Air is the way to go for flying to and from the Middle East. All the movies are VOD (United just has a bunch of DVDs on a loop, so you have to wait for all of the videos to finish before you can watch the next one), and they have Chinese, Korean, Arabic, and Bollywood films in addition to the regular Western ones, plus a random selection of TV and VideoJug to watch.