Sunday, November 04, 2007

The First Full Day

The bed is definitely comfortable. The temperatre at night is fresh enough to sleep easy, not so cold that you have to hide under the blankets. But you can’t sleep much.

The entire US Air Force takes off and lands, twice, every night. Or that’s how it seems. Try sleeping on the edge of a runway. I dare you. Try. I asked someone later in the morning and sure enough, I’m right. Well, not the entire force. But enough to outgun most everyone else’s. All the provisioning and transports are done in the dark, to make it just that little bit more safe. And I thought sleeping on a farm was bad news. Or in a train carriage with two guys snoring. Or on a plane with a screaming baby. This is right up there with them.

Up bright as a button for 6am, because that’s when operations start, everyone working in the ancient style – dawn to dusk. Saw the dawn rise, downed a coffee and checked out the store. Nothing much on sale that I need, and that which I would like – mango juice, papaya juice, guava juice, doritos – they say they can order in.

Throughout the day the Black Hawks clatter through the air, heading north over the lagoons where Saddam Hussein build some palatial follies (you can see them on Google Earth).

Anyway the day went in processing things, meeting people, asking all the dumb questions all new arrivals ask. Most everyone is out, as they should be. I’ll start in-field observation tomorrow. Was given my army green in-field work gear and finished up the day with half a pizza (and not bad either!) and a couple of episodes of a TV series about a medieval monk who acts as a proto-detective. A “Name of the Rose” spin-off with Derek Jacobi, an excellent actor.

Through the evening the Hawks patrol the perimeter, searchlight beams stark white in the glooming dark as though out of some Spielberg movie.


  1. Ciao Carl
    vedo con piacere che il tuo solito buon umore non ti manca. Cosa dire, certo non sei esattamente dietro l'angolo quindi cerca di stare bene e ricordati sempre che una bella birra fresca un buon bicchiere di vino ed un tavolo a cui mangiare qui da noi non ti mancheranno mai.
    Torna presto e ...intero :-)))
    Good luck !!!

  2. Oh come now, Carl, as a long-time mystery fan I have to defend Ellis Peters (one of Edith Pargeter's pseudonyms): the Brother Caedfael books on which the Jacobi series are based started in the 1970s (the ever-present Wikipedia tells me she published them from 1977-1994--her death in 1995 being an excellent excuse to suspend further literary efforts). And Il Nome della Rosa came out in 1980. So, spin-off it ain't; but it is a very similar kind of story. Now who'd have thought that even in Baghdad you'd still be within reach of pedantic friends...!

    Ciao, e (come Beppe) "torna presto e ... intero"!

  3. Ciao Beppe e Randle!

    Non te preoccupare, mi piace sempre mantenermi al 100% :-) Grazie per il suggerimento della birra e vino - dopo 4 giorni di un regime senza alcool mi sentivo proprio forte prima di legger quelle parole!

    Hi Randle!

    Gee you are right (about the info and dates, not the pedantry). And the Italian version came out in 1980. Now I have to find out how long it took Umberto Eco to go from manuscript to print. If its a year or less, then for sure he picked up a Cadfael in an airport somewhere ....

    As to the Brother Prior pointillism, what can I say? Oh the schadenfreude joys of the Internet! Almost beats the frisson of explaining to the private security guards here the reason I don't have a full pass is coz I just arrived.