Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Afghanistan Through My Eyes - Times Union was quite hectic. I got a lot of positive feedback on the article about me in the Times Union paper. Matt did an amazing job making me sound so fabulous. 
Jacksonville blogger's mission to Afghanistan
Mare Contrare knows just what she'll...out on a bet.Besides, Contrare likes the new name. It suits...nickname, anyway, ever since Mare Margaret Elizabeth Goddard...transport to Camp Leatherneck. Contrare will be in Afghanistan Jan...

I have to say I was a bit jittery today. Lots of friends and family calling and wishing me well. It must be strange for my three big brothers that their little sister is going off to war, especially at my age. Just when they thought it was safe.

It's the flights that have me worried the most. I really don't like flying.

If you saw my tweet at: marecontrare you saw all the stuff I had to pack. I was successful packing it all in one duffle bag. I'm carrying my helmet and my flak jacket plus a change of clothes with me just in case.

If I wasn't so exhausted from packing, I'd be nervous.

I'll try and blog at least once during the trip over. Until then...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Afghanistan Through My Eyes - red tape

Today I was interviewed by Matt at the Times Union Paper in Jacksonville. He was real easy to talk to and I probably said too much. I'd like to thank him for taking the time to come to my office and bring Bob Self the photographer. He took a picture of me in my flak vest and helmet. Ladies, I think I may be on to something here. Men seem very excited about these two items and want me to model them and try them on themselves. Some of the guys at my office really liked my helmet and were very impressed it was real.

An interesting fact: I spent a good portion of the day registering my helmet with the government and filling out forms etc. so I am allowed to take it through customs. Apparently Uncle Sam wants to make sure all of the helmets etc. return to the US. I didn't have to do a thing for my fabulous Israeli flak vest, made in Israel and shipped from Israel to me. Besides being so stylish I figure they know how to really make them over there...I will wear mine with pride and the helmet made in the good ol US of A too of course.

The following video shows NATO headquarters celebrating the Korean Lunar New Year. I'll let you know how we'll be celebrating on January 1st in Kabul at headquarters.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Afghanistan Through My Eyes - preparation

More shopping! I realized it wouldn't do to be unprepared. I don't think I'd be in good graces if I had to borrow anything.

I had planned on wearing white. Mostly because the good guys wear white. Seriously because I thought it was going to be snowy! There is no snow. Plan B today has been to find some khaki. You'd think the cheap places would have ugly khaki snowpants...but no, they only have black.

Luckily after over two hours online googling every khaki combination I finally found some lined khaki pants that are boys. I'm hoping I can fit into them. My tush is a little bigger than a boys. They only had up to size 14 in the color I wanted, if they had the 16 it would be no problem. I just pray GAP doesn't have vanity sizing like their upscale sister Banana Republic. I only know this because I use to be a Customer Service Manager for Banana.

I also got a call from US Calvary telling me they forgot to send the document with my helmet allowing me to take it out of the country! I don't have any documents for my flak vest. I'm hoping my orders are enough.

It is very complicated for a civilan going to war nowadays. During Vietnam you could just get on a plane with a camera. Holy smoke!

Check out this amazing video of war photographers, one of my favorites: Robert Capa is featured along with Warren Zinn at the end.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Afghanistan Through My Eyes - How much does it take to outfit a soldier

Today I went shopping for all the stuff I need to take on my trip. I spent about a thousand dollars. That coupled with my airline tickets, vaccines, passport fees etc. I've spent about 5k going to war. That is a whole lot cheaper than what the government spends per soldier. Of course I'm only going for two weeks. The government spends 1 million dollars per soldier a year...

Can you imagine what you or I would do with a million dollars a year to bring peace to our world? It's an interesting thought. I know what Greg Mortenson would do and he has the right idea. Educate! That is the only way to stop terrorism. The Taliban approaches boys out of school who have no hope of getting a job or any money and pays them the equivalent to $300 US dollars for their life.

Ignorance is the real terror.