I don’t get to watch a lot of television here. In fact, much of what I watch is the news. It’s what we watch in the office on the American Forces Network news channel… a hodgepodge of the major news programs.
After being here for nearly two months, I thought it was about time I started talking about toilet paper. Why toilet paper? Because in Iraq, toilet paper isn’t just for wiping your butt.
Well, yeah… I guess you could wipe your butt with the toilet paper, but there’s danger in that. All of the toilet paper here is one-ply. It’s also the roughest stuff ever to grace my rear end. (I’ll give you a second to make your own joke here.) Let me put it this way: baby wipes are very popular here.
But let’s talk about the most unusual use of toilet paper in Baghdad.
I don’t have much to say today except that a massive sandstorm blew into Baghdad. Actually, it’s covering most of Iraq.
You know it’s a bad sandstorm when you stare in the direction of sky where the sun should be and it’s not there. Look at this picture. The sun is directly above my left shoulder. You can’t see it, but that’s where it is.
Recently, I was asked whether I had established a routine since arriving here.
In Baghdad, people become creatures of habit fairly quickly. For instance, I know that if I drop off my laundry at 7 a.m., a group of workers with hard hats will pass me on the sidewalk as I walk back to my vehicle.
It took me a couple of weeks to notice this (as I don’t do my laundry every day). What I rapidly learned was that I wasn’t the only one who had gotten himself into a routine.
It’s good to be a contractor. It’s better if you are KBR. As far as contractors go, they pretty much have a strangle hold over most contracts in Baghdad.
You may know them better as Halliburton, but they changed their name for their overseas operation so that they could avoid the stigma of being called Halliburton. It’s kind of like how Blackwater got a bad rap after their “mercenaries for hire” started killing Iraqis. They changed their name to something unpronounceable.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, we work in a joint environment here in Baghdad. It’s not just the Army’s fight, although they seem to be the ones creating all the rules and running the show.
What’s surprising is the number of Navy folks picking up positions in the middle of the desert. Baghdad is not a port city, so seeing this many sailors is a little strange.
In fact, our “deputy commanding general” for Task Force 134 is not a general at all. He’s a Rear Admiral (the one-star variety).
When I first got to Iraq, it became apparent that I couldn’t rely on a plug-in alarm clock to get me through the deployment. There are frequent power failures here. However, it seems that relying on a battery-operated clock isn’t doing me any favors either.