Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Worm Turns....Again

Sunrise over the Persian Gulf

Today I find myself in familiar territory, by the calendar I am exactly 100 days from my scheduled departure from Kuwait. This is the second time I've been here, 100 days away from ending something that I started a year ago. This time however I am sure that these days will count down without a reprieve or additional time being added on to the end. I say that knowing full well that the world is a very unsettled place and sometimes things change with very little notice or time to prepare. Overall though, I expect the next 100 days to slip by very quickly.

For the last month or so things have been quiet enough here for me to concentrate on other things like learning more about Kuwaiti culture and to spend my day off seeking something physical to do rather than trying to avoid it because it is my only day off.  Not only has the weather been cooler, but the weather in places that we support has been cold and because of that things in those places have been less hectic and fearsome.  I started my career with the Department of Defense oh so many years ago as a Transporter, so for my entire career I know both the value and the criticality of what that mission is and why it has to be reliable. As things start to warm, I can count on what my organization does to become more counted upon and more critical.

It is odd being at this place again and realizing that this time the clock will actually continue to run down. I find myself starting to divide upcoming events into two columns, one that I will be here for and the other that I need not worry about since I will be about 6000 miles away. Even though I know I don't need to worry about those events, I'm still taking care to make sure that the outcome is the one desired because in the end this mission goes on with or without me and I need to make sure that everything that needs to be done without me needs to be prepared for now with me. Before March of last year, eight years passed since my last time in Kuwait. At that point when I left, I looked around and thought to myself that I would never be back here ever again. We all see how accurate that prediction was, so I will make no such prediction this time as I start my preparations to go.

I do know that I'm leaving behind a team of competent and professional people to continue on the mission that we have been jointly involved in the past year. During my time here I have come to admire their talents and appreciate their dedication to duty. But there is plenty of time for me to be reflective later, right now my mind is beginning to turn in new directions.

I find myself making mental lists about things that I do need to do before I go, and regretting those things that I haven't done yet but I promised myself I would try to do during this tour. I still have yet to attend the camel race. I know they have done away with the human jockeys and now rely on robots to ride the camels, but from what I understand they're still very exciting. The racing season doesn't actually end until April so I might be able to fit attendance at a race into my schedule. This weekend is the camel beauty contest, which I will miss. I can't say that I'm too depressed about that, but it is billed as a great chance to see the "pouting beauties of the desert".  I can see great value in a camel in this environment, but I'm not sure how long you have to be in the sun before you consider them pouting beauties.

I have yet to make it to the Friday Market. I really want to do that because there are several souvenir type things that I would like to pick up. From what I understand it rivals the swap meets in LA for size and diversity because you can buy everything from a toilet brush to a live jaguar there. I really don't need a toilet brush or jaguar at this point, but I would like to see what the market looks like and roam among the stalls.

The Kuwaiti towers, those spike and ball looking things that appear in a lot of my pictures, have been closed for renovation since I arrived. I am hoping they open before I leave because I would like to go to the top of the tower to take a look at the Kuwaiti City skyline.

I never got to go camping in the desert, but a few opportunities for that are still in the weeks ahead so I might yet make it. I will also probably make my way to the Grand Mosque which I understand has beautiful architecture and tile work. I have not seen the Anglican Church that exists in town, but I think I drove by it one day and I will make an effort to actually find it because I've heard it is also something to see. 

So to reword an ancient text:  I am sitting my face towards the United States as I began preparation to journey there.

This picture as nothing to do with the entry but I didn't have an appropriate picture for the end so enjoy a view of Bahrain at night.


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