11 January 2009

The Day Was 32 Hours Long

Landed around 1p local time. Sunny. No pictures allowed in this area.
Deplaned and stood on the deck.
Filed over to Immigration (yes, we just immigrated to Qatar). Be very respectful of the officials. Get our orders stamped (don't lose this version of your orders).
Back to our backpacks. Wait. Go in a tent for a briefing. Reminded about the things you are NOT allowed (alcohol, weapons, sex toys, porn or anything showing naked middrift - worry about Brokeback Mountain DVD in my carryon, and about Hawaiian vacation pictures on my laptop).

Go unload our checked luggage. Find your own stuff. I watched it being loaded in St Louis so I wasn't worried. Both bags were easy to find.
Make your "72 hour bag" (mine was already set because it was my checked dufflebag).
Turn in your weapon at the armory.
Put your checked suitcase in the proper outgoing bin based on your flight group (stash your questionable DVD movie in the suitcase, move your vacation pictures to a buried folder on your computer).
Go through customs. They xray your carryon/duffle and you walk through a metal detector. Didn't look at anything in my backpack (not even my DVD collection). All that worry for nothing.
Take a bus to Lodging.
Wait around for your tent/bunk assignment. Get bed linen and your alcohol ration card (3 drinks/day allowed in Qatar - there will be none in Iraq).
Find your rack (I've got a bottom bunk), unpack (some people change into PT gear, some people crash, some people go to the showers). Lock valuables in the footlocker.
Find some food (dining hall open 24 hrs but it's across the compound away from the transient tents). Water bottles are free - pallets all over the compound.

Try to get on the internet - the wifi is very crowded in the evening. Most people are hanging out in the Commons area, the football games will be broadcast on the big screen later (9p local is the first game, 12 mid will be the second game).
Find reading materials in the library instead.
Make a moral phone call home & check email on the censored internet access.
Get your outbound briefing at 9:30p - no flights out for us, maybe in two days (big maybe). Take shower (only lukewarm water at the far end of the "cadillac").
Crash at 10:30p.

It was a long day. Started at 6a St Louis time, Saturday. Ended at 10:30p Sunday Qatar time. That = 32 day.

Pictures to follow.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! What a long & crazy day! It is amazing seeing (well, reading) all of this through you first hand....so awesome, thank you so much!