Sunday, October 11, 2009

Back on line!!!

So, let's try a couple of lines...


"Hello Mutha
hello Fatha
here I am in
Doha, Qatar

How'd I get here
and where am I going?
Don't ask me 'cause
I not be knowing..."

No? Not so much?
How about...

"The Whole Lotta Nada
now coming to you from
a non-existant airbase
in an undisclosed country.
Land of the sand
Camel Spiders
and War Fighters..."


"Off the reservation"?

"Down Range"?

"I've lost my fucking mind!"?
We may be onto something THERE!!!

OK, ok, ok...

I do have to be a little nutZ.

I rolled out of Brightledge on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Headed to San Antonio Int'l Airport. Dropped the Camaro at Avis Rental. Boarded a CRJ, in 1st Class. Didn't even realize a CRJ HAD a 1st Class.

Sometime after dark we landed Washington Dulles. It had been nearly 20 years since I'd been there so a quick and easy terminal change was welcome.

The Qatar Air gate was easy as well and the Virgin Airways lounge was close by. Why does free beer seem to taste better?

Then, things went to full blown, "WOW!!!"

As jaded as I am it takes a real punch for an airplane to impress me. Lemme tell ya what, the Boeing 777 Dreamliner did it.

In no time I was sipping champagne in a seat with more settings than I could imagine.

The whole thing was a little unreal.

I was strapped into a piece of soon to be airborne sculpture. All set for a Trans-Atlantic night. About to get the first stamp in a freshly renewed passport. And, it was a one way ticket.

Nothing unusual about that right?

The night went by in a cozy blur. One glass of champagne a hot meal a cold beer a movie and I was out.

The sun was shining on an unfamiliar land when I woke. Then, we flew into another sunset.

That did seem a little odd. We landed in Doha at six p.m. local and it was already dark. Seemed odd.

I cleared customs and immigration and stepped out into a muggy darkness. There, a fellow stood with a sign full of names. All of them were crossed off except mine. That felt a little like an episode of "The Amazing Race" and I was the last to arrive.

We loaded up in an appropriatley black Suburban and sped off. Eventually we came to a check point. Our first stop of many requied to gain entry to the post.

We arrived at a building that turned out to be home for the next day or so.

Quarters were 8 man rooms with bunk beds and the requisite itchy green wool blankets. Turns out they're not wool anymore but they perfectly replicated the itchiness!

And good god was it COLD in there. Apparently that helps keep germs and bugs at bay. It was so cold I got up at 2 a.m. and went outside to a picnic table.

Anyway, a day and a half trapped on a strange base culiminated in a 10 p.m. Show for a 2 a.m. Go. (We were to show up for our connecting flight 3 hours ahead of the scheduled departure time: Show/ Go.)

Turns out that schedules mean shit. I think it was 4 a.m. before we launched.

OH, and that glorious flight on the Dreamliner. Yeah, forget about it. The second leg of the trip I was strapped into a side facing web seat in the back of a C130 with 70 or so of my newest closest friends and three pallets full of gear.

Gratefully, I can sleep sitting up.

The sun came up while I slept. The airplane landed. The ramp lowered enough for a forklift to get the pallets out and the Crew Chief said, "Get Out!"

We did and the C130 left.

Where am I? I'm right where the Crew Chief left me.

Its a dirty dusty dry hell that alternates between hotter 'n hell and colder 'n shit. The wind blows so hard it makes Texas seem tame. It's full of work and rules and no booze. In fact, that's Rule Number One: No Beer. "You will be denied the one thing that could make this 'Paradise' palatable."

Those of you that are actually reading may have noticed that I didn't answer the question. Well, I'm not certain but I think there is a rule that says I can't tell you. Like I said, I'm not sure but I'm gonna err on the side of caution for now.

So, "First Former Mrs Simpson", there ya have it. Your first installment of, "What it's like there." here.

Wherever the hell it is. I swear I saw Scissor Tailed Fly Catchers today so, I'm a little suspicious...