Saturday, January 8, 2011

Afghanistan Through My Eyes - River City

"He is fighting for his life and killing now for him is as much a profession as writing is for me!"
Ernie Pyle

I couldn't blog yesterday as there was a blackout.
Some things will have to wait to be told.

Yesterday, I was able to go to an ANA (Afghanistan National Army) camp and look around. It is very primitive. The soldiers are an odd juxtaposition of cultural differences. They look modern and official in their camo uniforms with velcro badges of rank, name and ANA along with Arabic writing and carry the right weapons and drive trucks around with machine guns, but inside their barracks is an ancient wood stove with the ubiquitous large nickle tea pot for brewing mint tea and their food is cooked in huge pots blackened by wood smoke. I don't know how many of them have seen an American woman, much less met one.

But, they were all respectful of me as I wore a scarf and didn't look anyone in the eye. At one point sitting down with the ANA 1st. Sargent using the interpreter I realized I was asking too many questions and getting too familiar. The Marine Gunny then made the joke that American women talked too much and we all had a good laugh.

A squad of Scotts came through yesterday and all the Marines had a chuckle over their berets with a feather. 

The color of camo and print is one way to delineate which faction of service a person is with. Names and rank are generally not displayed. This has caused me a little stress as when they wear beanies in the morning to cut the chill I wonder if I've actually interviewed that person yet. They all wear a black plastic patch on their right sleeve. This is an infra red square, so if the camp goes down they can identify them as a Marine.

Tomorrow, Sunday,  I begin the 5 day trek out of country. I take one convoy, two choppers, and 1 C130 cargo plane to get to Kabul.

I am meeting so many amazing people, some of whom I will miss. I met a retired Colonel who is now a contractor and believe it or not we have a mutual friend in Key West, Florida!