You would expect Thanksgiving in Baghdad to be drastically different than Thanksgiving back in the United States. Although there are subtle differences, many traditions remain exactly the same.
The dining facilities here go all out with the Thanksgiving holiday. The main DFAC had a giant display reminiscent of those old department store window displays meticulously put together by some hot-shot artist. Think “Mannequin” but without the cheesy Starship song or Kim Cattrall.
Carved turkeys were the order of the day, which is a pleasant change from the processed turkey we normally eat about twice per week. We’ll call the terrible stuff “turkey loaf” from now on.
The lines to get into the DFACs are just ridiculous on Thanksgiving day for lunch, so I chose to avoid them completely. This posed complications as the sections in my building gathered to celebrate with a BYOC lunch. That’s Bring Your Own Clamshell, referring to the takeout styrofoam tray as seen in the photo above.
So, I decided on having a Mexican Thanksgiving instead… you know, celebrating the first meal shared between the natives and the Mexicans* who crossed the Atlantic on the Mayflower. The nearby Taco Bell catered my meal with a burrito and taco.
For dinner, I was invited to a eat with our commanding general at the smaller DFAC. The line wasn’t nearly as bad. I was able to get my food in about five minutes, but the thing I’m most proud of is that I managed to get through a Thanksgiving in Iraq without ever touching a slice of turkey… and I didn’t starve.
I may have been the only person not to fall into a turkey coma today.
*It’s a joke, people. I know it wasn’t the Mexicans. It was the Australians.