Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Smooooth as Silk ... NOT!

Smooth as silk, this trip - except for when the man at the desk said, "Sorry sir, I can't let you get onto this plane."

16:55 Yesterday, we booked a van to take 5 of us to the HeloPad 5 minutes drive from USAID and across from the PX, next to the Palace/Embassy. "Showtime" is one hour before scheduled flight time and we were fairly confident that we would get to go and not get bumped because a Marine Colonel who works at USAID was 1 of our 5 and booked the Helo.

17:00 we arrived at "Landing Zone Washington" and all put on our helmets and flack jackets and rolled our luggage up to the barriers and 2 helochoppers landed (they kick up a lot of air). Col. Brazee checked in and they told him, those were our birds, so let's go.

15:20: We landed at a different spot at the Baghdad International Airport (BIAP) and were driven to 'Camp Sulley', a new facility with bedroom-only 1 and 2-bed trailers, a TV lounge, men's and womens' lavatories and showers, and a 'Coming soon' Internet cafe. We got a ride to the DFAC to eat, the PX to kill time and back to Camp Sulley.

21:13 Tired, I lay down to read

21:15 Fell asleep (all lights on)


03:15 Woke up after 6 hours sleep. That is about the most straight sleep I've gotten in 6 weeks, with no blast(ed) interuptions. Was hoping I wouldn't be up for good.

??? (not long after 03:15) turned off lights, fell asleep

06:35 Woke up, fully rested

07:25 they drove our luggage about 200 feet to where we check in for the MilAir flight to Amman. We were joined by the Supervisory Executive Officer (EXO), who I had worked with all the time in Baghdad. (Amazing lady who has done it all). Good thing.

8:25, Checking in, the man says, "I just need to see you Military ID and your orders". Then: "Sorry, sir, I can't let you onto this flight - these orders are expired." Yes, well, I was supposed to leave by April 10th, Then I and USAID decided I should stay longer. I did not need new orders to stay longer, THAT I was told. However, I did need new orders to LEAVE LATER, that I forgot to ask about.

a blur of time (knowing that the flight briefing is at 9:30 - 60 minutes) and the next plane (which I could get on) is in 4 days...

9:10 My buddy Mohamed, from Uganda, with direction from the EXO, whipped up a Travel Authorization, scanned and emailed it to the check in desk at BIAP

9:11 The golden words: "You're all set".

I'm in Amman Jordan and heading out to find sushi!

Matthew, so glad to hear you made it out safely. Enjoy a well earned vacation in Egypt. On-On Marty and Helga
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