The day I arrived, one of the other EWO's in my brigade told me about a pizza joint on Camp Liberty (all part of the Victory Base Complex). I was a little sceptical about the quality except for the fact that it's been at least 8 weeks since eating any good pizza so anything better than microwave is pretty good in my book. It was a worm-hole moment that night. There I was, sitting at a wooden table on a patio listening to 80's and 90's music with a bunch of friends eating the best pizza I've had in about 2 months. I felt like I was back in college again, almost. Beer was missing and in its place were guns - many, many guns.
The strangest thing about the whole trip was that while I was enjoying the change of scenery, I kept counting down the hours until my flight back to Dragon. Compared to Dragon, the VBC (Victory Base Complex) is like a big city with traffic, crowds, and long lines. I was telling everyone how I missed the quiet of Dragon and all that was here. We have everything you could need out here and nothing you don't minus a few luxuries. I have my own room. There are plenty of showers and hot water (not always the case at the VBC). The mess hall is open 24hrs so you can grab a drink or snack whenever the moods strikes and you don't have to pay for it. So, we don't have a Burger King or Green Beans Coffee or an Exchange. We have internet available and plenty of movies and games to go around. It's about as good as I can imagine it getting.
One good thing I took away (or rather sent away) from my little excursion is a gift for my dog. The exchanges in the VBC have stuffed camels with camoflaged hats on them. So, in keeping with our tradition of getting Lucky a new friend from everywhere we've lived, I sent him one of the camels. It hasn't arrived yet but I'm sure I'll find out when it does.
The big news is that I'm somebody now. I feel like Steve Martin in "The Jerk" when he finds himself in the phonebook. I have an address... FINALLY... This is all because my new unit has taken over. They say they will be making some changes/additions to the base pretty soon. Who knows, in a few months, I may be saying how I miss the quiet of the VBC but I doubt it.
I know a lot of you have been asking for my address and if I need anything. Well, my address can be found with any of the people holding the following positions in my life: Self, Wife, Brother, Mother, or Father. They will be able to give it to you.
I don't necessarily "need" anything but if you are itching to send anything, please keep these things in mind when you pack up the box:
- Alcohol and "adult videos and literature" are prohibited in Iraq. There are no exceptions... unfortunately.
- Things that can melt, will, ie chocolate, butter, freezer pops, the polar ice caps, etc. This also goes for things that spoil like milk based products.
- Dust is in the air and can move through walls. If you are planning to send anything homemade, extra wrapping is a must.
- Snyder's Sourdough pretzels (I don't know how I've lived so long without them.)
- Clif Bars - Carrot Cake, Cherry Almond, Oatmeal Raisin Walnut, any chocolate flavor
- Myoplex powdered drink mix (chocolate) and shakers.
- Cigars. They don't have to be fancy. The bundled "seconds" will burn just fine.
- Anything from my Amazon wish list (can be found here).
- Recorded episodes from the second season of Heroes. I was somehow able to see the first 2 episodes and now I'm going through withdrawal. (Josh and Jon, I know you two know how to do this so get to work, chop chop.)
- DVDs and PSP games. The things that keep us going.
- Anything. Get creative... well, don't go overboard. Shira's class sent me letters and pictures. Probably one of the best packages I've ever received.
That's all I can think of at the moment. In the mean time, check me out:
That's one of Saddam's "thrones". And this is the infamous "neck burn":