Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Barber Shops

This morning I woke up at 2AM and after laying in bed for a while I decided to do my laundary. The Long Stayer's Lounge has a washer and dryer, great benefit. Anyway I was looking out the rear window of the hotel and noticed that the barber shop was open. Not only was it open but it was doing a brisk business. I guess that the very hot days leads itself to late night barber shops. Good idea when you consider that the average temp here has been well over a 100 degrees for the last few weeks.

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Mall Kuwait City

This photo was taken at the mall in Kuwait City yesterday when I went to the movies. Very modern with lots of good stores, Laurie would like. This photo is taken from the Persian Gulf side of the mall. Lots of power boats but not big on sailboats.

Kuwait City from Space

This is a great photo of the Kuwait City area. The roads are grouped by "rings" that expand out from the city center and by highways that radiate out from the city. If you download this image you can see greater deail or I would suggest that you go to Wikipedia and search for Kuwait City. Another great source of space imagery with overlays of maps is the Google Earth applet. I really recommend you check out Google Earth as a tool for the geographic exploration of the earth. The movie theater we went to yesterday would be located on the Persian Gulf coast to the top left of this photo.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Kuwait Movie Theaters

What a joy the moving going experience is here in Kuwait City. Went to the movies today with some friends to a local movie theater in a mall. When you purchase your tickets they show you a computer screen with open seats, from which you pick the one you want. When you enter the theater an usher meets you and guides you to your seat. And boy the seats are great, large, wide, tall and fully padded. It was like sitting in a barko lounger.

2 Days off

Not only am I getting two whole days off, they are in a row, this Sunday and Monday! I have really been looking forward to this, especially since moving of the post and into a hotel in Kuwait City. The hotel is great and now instead of living in a tent or in an open bay barracks with 50 other people I have my own private room and bath. Today I am going to a local mall in Kuwait City and to a movie with some friends. Will be good to get away from the military environment for a short while and just see what the locals are up to. Went down to the pool last night for a swim about 11PM then watched a movie. Still can't get over the extremly high number of car accidents on the freeways around here. Major casualty wrecks everyday. The speed limit is 120km but lots of people drive much faster and some drive much slower, you can guess what happens.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Living High

So now I live in a hotel, don't know for how long but the locals can not seem to find me a place to stay on post so here I sit. Quite nice really in that I have a private room for the first time in over a month, Internet access, a pool and gym at the hotel. I am just flowing with the events in terms of my local logistics and working on architecture, which makes me happy. Learning a lot everyday about systems and architecture in the theater.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Local housing in Kuwait

Can you tell I am obsed with trying to get a "permanent" place to live?

Afghanistan lodging

The best room I have had so far, the top floor (note these are cargo containers). This was in Baghran, Afghanistan. Great air conditioning and a short walk to the showers.

Temporary Lodging

Over night lodging at Ali Al Salem, notice how I got a tent that matches my shirt and pants.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Silk Road

Baghran, Afghanistan is north of Kabul which is the captial of the country. Both are located on the eastern side of Afghanistan near the boarder with Pakistan. Of particular note is that my present location in Baghran is just north of one of the routes of the ancient Silk Roads which was a major trading route in the Middle East. The Silk Road in Afghanistan passes through the following cities moving from the east to the west; Jalalabad, Kowt-e Ashrow, Chagharan, Herat and Kohsan where it then enters Iran. I'll have to do some research on the Silk Road, anyone out there know a good starting place on the internet?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Military Air Travel

When you travel via military air you have to have patience and not be in a hurry and for that matter not be too worried about where you end up. Take this last trip from Kuwait to Afghanistan. We spent one day, that includes an overnight stay in a wonderful air conditioned tent, at the air field. The next day we flew to our final destination. Be sure to bring a good book to read, I'm reading the Digitial Fortress, by Dan Brown, and also have a magazine or two. Bring bottled water to drink and wear comfortable clothes as you will be spending a lot of time waiting. This use to bother me but now anymore. I take things in stride and enjoy where I am. Be in the now as the Buddist say. Be in the present. Also when traveling military air you will have to stay in a tent, like I did, with a bunch of other travelers so take a small flash light. They come in very handy when you are trying to find your way back to your bunk after a late night trip to the head. I think this is progress on my part, at least the part about getting the most out of the moment no matter where you are. So many people, travelers, get angry and upset over such minor things, most of which are totally out of their control. Just bring your book and a flashlight and don't leave your shop in the shower like I did. Had to purchase another here in Afghanistan but hey, no worries man!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Hot + Windy = sand storm

Today it is hot and very windy so the sky is full of sand, i.e. a sand storm. Looks like we are under a dome of sand that blasts us as we walk. I have a short, 4 blocks or so, walk from the barracks to the building where I work most of the time. In the morning I get up and walk to the chow hall (Navy term for the DFAC) and have coffee and something to eat while I read Stars and Stripes. Then I walk back to the room or directly to work and start my day. Lots of meetings, field trips to sites and right now lots of research. After work I have dinner and go to the library to read, drop by the exchange to see if anything new has come in since yesterday then go back to the barracks. Usually walk around the track after the sun goes down. Then back to the barracks and take a shower and listen to my iPod before I go to sleep. That ladies and gentlemen is my life in Kuwait so far.

Friday, May 12, 2006

London protest photos

It is good that we live in a world where free speech rules. Now we have to listen to each other. When was the last time you saw images like this on the ABC, CBS, NBC or CNN nightly news shows? Why don't Americans get the full story of world issues?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Sand Storm

Yesterday we had a mild sand storm and it was warm (100). Very windy in the morning and today I get up and can see some blue in the the skys above and do you believe it, a few grey clouds. I wonder what rain would be like? What keeps me going is knowing the the Moon I look up to here in Kuwait and the same one that shines down on the ones I love back in the US. Spent most of yesterday doing research and today will travel out to Ali Al Salem. May get a chance to take some photos to post here but the reason for the trip is to attend a meeting.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Stars & Stripes

Most mornings I walk over to the DFAC (Dining Facility) to have some breakfest and read the Mideast edition of the Stars and Stripes newspaper. Today's headings include "Three car bombs in Iraq leave at least 16 deat, dozens hurt", "GIs' bodies recovered at Afghan crash site", "Lack of trust fueling growth of Iraqi militas" and "Anti-American sentiment surges amoung Iraqi Shiites". About normal for a Monday morning. Please also note that I have 4 news links on this blog to google news (US), Kuwait news, Afghanistan news and a Iraq news website to get other views on the days events.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


"Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the oftener and the more steadily we reflect on them; the starry heavens above and the moral law within." Kant, Critique of Practial Reason. If a region ever needed to come to terms with its place in the universe and to have a moral guide it is SWA.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Drive to Iraqi boarder

Today we drove to the Kuwait-Iraq boarder. We stayed on the Kuwait side. Once we were out of the Kuwait City area and driving out in the desert I could not help but think that what I was looking at was in some ways the same as it was 2000 years ago. For instance I saw a sheapard watching his sheep flock. The desert was full of 100's of camels wandering over the desert and grazing. I have some cool photo's that I'll upload soon. Once we arrived at the Kuwait-Iraq boarder we meet with a Kuwait Army General and what struck me was his sense of history and how important it was to him to share his families history of service to the US and British. Once our work was done he showed us copies of official letters his family was given in 1943 from the War Department and from the British embassy for support in the 1980's. He was very proud of this and wanted to share it with us. We also learned that when Iraq invaded Kuwait he was taken prisoner and was taken to Iraq and held in a prison camp until the liberation.
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