Monday, May 30, 2011

The Sound

I've only got one good war story, and it always ends with this line "nobody ever presses the play button and says this is the sound of a rocket flying over your head".

The fact is, by the time your ears hear it and your brain analyzes it, you will find yourself on the ground before you realize that you want to get flat on the ground (sounds like this is coming from experience?)

Think bottle rocket sound, but really magnified. It doesn't go pop, it goes BOOM! And oh yeah, that BOOM can ruin your day if you're to close.

Well funny thing happened today. I was attending a safety brief and guess what. The presenter said "if you hear this sound (click play) WOOOSH, run!" There are bunkers all over for this reason and the buildings are fortified.

So now I need a new way to end my only good war story!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Baghdad 2.0

I've been here in Baghdad since Thursday night. Pretty much ever since then I've been trying to decide what to blog about in this inaugural Baghdad Doc Report. Well first, this is not where I am going to be working. I am just here until June 1st taking care of administrative things. Being that weekends here are Friday and Saturday and on top of that Sunday is a holiday, I haven't been able to get anything accomplished.

First observations? It's huge. It's also dare I say almost extravagant. Every time I go for a walk I see something I didn't see before. Just recently, a putting and driving cages for the golfers. Then you have the beach volleyball lots, tennis courts, swimming pools, pool tables, gyms and I'm probably forgetting many other things.

We have a dining facility that provides Las Vegas buffet style eating. Sundays is the most popular day as steak and lobsters are served. Although I see that the steaks were served at lunch time and lobsters were served at dinner with a prime rib carving station. Mind you this is a fraction of what you can eat. Want a burger? They'll grill one for you. Want a sandwich? There is a sandwich station, yes with a panini grill. Healthy food? They have broiled fish and steamed veggies. Wings, ribs, fries? Yep.

The coffee's even good.

Funny thing is that I am pretty sure the dining facility was an after thought. See the embassy was built to be a “normal” embassy. Huh? Whatchu talking 'bout Doc? Well at any other embassy you're not provided free meals. Sure there's always the embassy cafeteria, but nothing to this extreme. The designers never envisioned the military still being here when the embassy was completed. Thus the second gym also CHU-ville. I'm not exactly sure what CHU stands for (possibly containerized housing units), they are trailers, like I used to live in when I was here last. Also the apartments, meant for one person have now been divided down the middle to accommodate two people (with shared kitchen, common area and bathroom).

I did notice that the ever present beat of helicopter rotors, be it from Blackhawks or Blackwater Little Birds are gone. I saw some Little Birds today, probably old Blackwater assets, probably old Blackwater pilots but now under new management.

Till next time.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Book Corner - Finished Reading

61 Hours (Jack Reacher Novel) by Lee Child
400 pages
Mystery thriller

I grabbed this book at the Dubai airport as I had nothing to read. I hesitated knowing that I haven't been exactly fond of the Jack Reacher series, but I gave it a go.

It wasn't as bad as the others, still very far fetched.

No more Jack Reacher novels for me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Because of my job I find myself in Arlington, VA for training every now and then. Coming from typical suburbia I must say that I have to really appreciate this city. Everything is is walking distance and the public transportation system is the best. It helps that the Metro runs almost directly down the middle of the city and there are convenient Metro bus stops everywhere.

I love this video that pretty much covers all of the nuances of this city.