Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Arifjan at last

No, I am not actually leaving Ali Al Salem yet, but today one of the ITT guys took the 3 of us who will be staying here to Arifjan to get some of our many paperwork processes underway. When all is said and done, I believe I'll have 3 different cards for various kinds of access. There will be no pictures from Arifjan, as it is prohibited everywhere quite prominently. It's much nicer than Ali Al Salem, paved roads and such. Much more permanent feeling, though nothing is truly built up. It's pretty spread out so having a vehicle is pretty much essential to getting around even on base.

We saw the place where we will be living from a distance. It's a tower/hotel like structure in Fahaheel, about 30 minutes (seemed less actually) from Arifjan. I'll be rooming with another guy here who I've luckily already made friends with. He plans on moving out eventually and taking the housing stipend, as will I once Kerri and Rowan are over here. We hear the place where we will be staying is very nice, with a view of the Persian (or Arabian, depending on who you talk to) Gulf. I'll take pictures once I'm there.

I did speak with a lady today about first steps towards getting Kerri and Rowan here. Number one is to get my civil ID, which will take up to 3 months. Once I have that, I can sponsor them over. Another option is that they can come over as US citizens and get 3 month visitor visas, which they then have to fly out of country and back in to renew. Depending on how antsy Kerri gets, we'll consider that option again later.

There will be a shared vehicle for those of us living in ITT's housing, so we can get through the lines into Arifjan faster (HOV's have priority). I hear there is also a vehicle stipend for those opting out of that perk. That would go far towards getting a vehicle for us if I can then take the bus in.

Things are slowly coming into focus and I'm better able to get a feeling for things. ITT's people have it really good here in Kuwait, that's for sure.

I still haven't had any interesting food since getting here, but I can see there will be lots of options eventually. There are 2 malls right where I will be living, so there should be lots of food options around.

The driving here is pretty nuts, but mainly in the speeding area. The guy driving us around was doing 100 mph several times, along with everyone else in the 3 lane highway. The speed limit is much lower, but everyone just watches out for the speed trap cameras and slows down when they see them. I think this totally explains the spectacular crashes now. Speed + disregard of rules = spectacular crashes. We saw a couple of examples of this.

It is interesting to note that we drove from the far north of Kuwait, almost to the southern border with Saudi and back again, plus spent a full day in Arifjan. Left about 7am, got back about 7am. It's not a big country at all.

Well, I need to get back to my room and pack my stuff. Tomorrow morning our bags will be transported to where they need to go while we endure the day of briefings. But tomorrow night, I go home!

Internet and cell phones are our first priority, but it may be a couple of days before we get it all sorted out. I may not have access for a while.

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