Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sleep deprivation

Everywhere you go here there is buzzing, rumbling, roaring. Generators and air conditioners are everywhere. Add to that the buzz of 3 hours of sleep in the last 48 or so. And the heat/cold transitions. I feel like I'm on a different planet.

Around 0400 I started walking around, just soaking stuff up. Still dark for several hours of course, but the air was pleasantly cool, but not sure what exactly. At 0530 had breakfast (again). Kept walking around, my goal being to determine what the picture taking policy was so as not to violate it. I was told the command center would know, but no one was there.

I've been rotating in a big circle from our (air-conditioned) tent to the restaurant area, to the MWR tents (internet, games, etc...) to the PX back up to the command center. I found a thermometer on the wall of the command center so I've been taking readings since 0730.

0730, 75 F, 60% humidity
0930, 90 F, 40% humidity
1030, 100+ F, 10% humidity

Haven't been back in a while. I'm beginning to think my SPF 35 sunscreen might not be up to the challenge. Must buy a hat (not here though...all army related merchandise, I want to be able to wear it off base too).

I've been feeling nauseous occasionally, especially when in this internet kiosk area. The smells plus vibrations, plus general sleeplessness appearing to render me ready to throw up. There aren't many places you can go without people.

The chapel is quiet, but soon (1430) there will be a "gospel" style service which will be loud. I may go just for something to do. I was going to go to the general "protestant" service at 1000, but was feeling sick so went back to my tent to cool down. I've got a top bunk and the a/c is directly on me. Good at night, but during the day the thing is on full blast. Very, very cold. These temp fluctuations are not helping.

In daylight, this place is even more desolate. The sun is so bright, I am squinting behind my sunglasses. When I transition into a tent, it gets so dark I can't see anything without changing glasses.

I finally found someone at command center to tell me about the photography policy. He said he thought it would be fine, just be discrete and don't photograph obvious stuff like flight lines, troop movements, layouts etc... I took a few photos, but nothing compromising. There isn't much to take pictures of...

BTW, I see no reason now not to say that I'm at Ali Al Salem, in the far north of Kuwait. This is well known as the place people come into the theater for processing and deployment. It's pretty much just tents for transients, facilities to stave off boredom and some parking lots and air strips.

The latrines are a mixed bag. On the one hand, they are far better than true portapotties. On the other, they are capable of producing such a mixed stench of cleaning solution and human waste that excacerbates my current propensity towards hurling chunks. Perhaps I have a touch of the flu. Or maybe the pox (which is a lovely little pustule now) is getting to me.

I am not responsible for the tone of this post as I am somewhat delirious, so please disregard if it seems complaining. The experience is novel enough to be interesting, but this waiting and staying up and trying to while away the sunday is not fun. All I want to do is go way and find peace and quiet, but then I'll fall asleep, which I cannot do.

I tried the "Desert something or other" an "oriental" restaurant run by AAFES. I checked the menu and saw Chicken Adobo, a filipino dish, so I had to try it. Possibly the worst adobo I've ever had. Beyond salty, and the meat was like rubber. I'll be sticking w/ the DFAC from now on for sure while on base. Can't wait to locate my first local shawarma, but I can't leave base without an escort.

I have to stay up til 2100 as that's when my passport will be returned to me from its current hiatus with the Kuwaiti government. Only 6 and a half hours to go...

1 comment:

deannie said...

What vivid smells, sounds and images you provide even in your sleep deprived state! Glad you got there safely.