We’ve decided that’s what we are: The Bastard Children. There are just the three of us, at a FOB where we are tolerated but not embraced, our own supply lines non-existent. We prepare to conduct our mission, not knowing when.
In the meantime, we do what we can to stay busy. We have constructed a simple training plan for our “clients” and some tracking tools to follow their progress using excel spreadsheets. Too bad I never learned to do Access database development. We can do without it, though.
Life has settled into a routine. We may or may not eat breakfast, but we always make a pot of coffee on our Afghan stove that the Green Mountain Maniac secured for us. We then sit and enjoy a few cups of coffee and talk about business or whatever comes to mind. The sun comes up about 4:15 around here, so by this time the sun is well up in the sky, but it is still relatively cool in the shade. It’s funny what guys will wind up talking about.
“Silly rabbit, trix are for kids,” was brought up in the context of something silly someone else had done. B-Mo O stated that he’d had a skate board when he was a kid that said it on the bottom of the board. That brought up the subject of skateboards, then snowboards, half-pipes and skis.
“Hey, what cereal was that for, anyway?”
“Nah, that was the leprechaun.”
“That was Sugar Bear.”
“It wasn’t Frosted Flakes, that was Tony the Tiger.”
“Captain Crunch… that was that stupid captain.”
“That was the parrot.”
“Trix! It was Trix!”
“God, we are morons.”
We have taken to running on an uneven dirt road that winds around the inner perimeter but within the outer Hesco walls of the FOB. In some spots there really isn’t a road, just dirt covered with scrubby brush. We measured it with the Garmin GPS, and it came to exactly 800 meters… exactly a half a mile. We’ve been doing four laps… 2 miles a day. At first we were doing it in the evening, but we’ve decided to vary our times so that we don’t set up a predictable routine. For a couple of days we did it before lunch. The temperature has hovered near a hundred degrees while we did that. We’re amazingly well acclimated to the high temperatures now. At 5300 feet, you can feel the difference running. The uneven ground strewn with rocks makes it more difficult. You can’t establish a rhythm, and your stride is by necessity choppy and as uneven as the ground. It sucks, but you feel great when you’re done. Our goal is to work up to 5 miles… ten laps around this course that has all the smoothness of sheet copper that’s been beaten with a ball peen hammer and strewn with rocks.
I am the slowest, finishing several minutes behind the other two. B-Mo O, being eleven years younger, is much faster… even though he smokes. Green Mountain Maniac is a couple of years older than myself, but doesn’t smoke and is actually a physical freak for his age, being in astounding condition. He is addicted to weight lifting, becoming cranky as an old goat when kept from his weights. I smoke… gotta stop that. You can really feel it while running at this altitude. I do it, though… and I’m getting faster and more comfortable all the time.
We have no air conditioning, but that’s not our biggest problem. The concrete floor of our garden apartment draws moisture from the ground, creating a humid tropical feeling that is truly special. I think it has made a very positive difference in our acclimation. We do have a fan, though. The Maniac devised an ingenious plan to makes screens for the top of the windows (about a foot above the sandbags) using empty sandbags cut along the seams and taped to the frame. This has made something of a difference in the climate, and has resulted in only three times the outside ambient humidity within the walls of our sanctuary. He’s really a handy guy, and his hyperactive tendencies mean that he is seldom still, always looking for things to get his hands into. This often results in physical improvements to the AO (Area of Operations.)
He has fixed the dilapidated showers twice now.
We bought a bunch of movies from the vendor who sells movies with a lot of what we think is Chinese all over the covers. They are American movies, but they vary greatly in quality. During one, the silhouette of a man heading for the popcorn stand suddenly appeared, making his way to the aisle. One that I purchased for two dollars (the going rate for these knock-offs) started with Russian dubbing and Chinese subtitles. It took me several minutes to get it set to English with no subtitles… the sound was a quarter of a second off from the video. While screwing around with the Russian menu I managed to get it running with Russian audio and English subtitles that had nothing to do with the actual dialogue. It was hilarious! The subtitles depicted a flirty conversation between a man and a woman while two men were speaking Russian to each other in serious tones about a serious matter and their lips moved in English. Whadya want for two bucks?
There is one computer here for MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) use. There are over 30 guys who use this computer for keeping in touch with the people back home. Time on the computer is hard to come by, and sometimes it doesn’t work at all. I’ve taken to writing emails on my laptop and putting them on a thumb drive to cut and paste into the body of the email once addressed. I'm doing the same with the blog now, too.
So... overall, we are good. A couple of exciting times now, but we are all whole and healthy.
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