May 01, 2004

Funny Creatures

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Friday, I went back into town, to Fahaheel. On the way, I saw a herd of camels (herd?) wandering around the countryside. I know I've seen camels at the zoo before, but they're still weird looking!

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Oil refineries can be found throughout most of the country. I know we have a few processing plants back in Los Angeles and the rest of the US, but seeing them out here is kinda creepy. Especially the way the weather is so dramatic.

FYI: Those flames in the picture are like a safety release. The refineries burn off excess oil so the pressure doesn't damage the pipes.

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I went into town with two Army dogs, a Captain who lives in a tent nextdoor, and a Corporal who works nearby. We went to Gulf Royal Chinese, a local restaurant in one of Fahaheel's main locales. I know, I know, I'm supposed to try the Kuwaiti food. But there is so much good stuff here, I've gotta try it all. Last week I ate at this amazing Indian place.

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We left the restaurant and walked around for a bit. It was unusually busy on the street. Friday is like Sunday for Muslims, so most of the shops close early. Some stay open because they know that Americans go out on Fridays.

Random Info: The locals here are fascinated with Pro Wrestling! I mean, that fake junk like WWF! They think we're actually hurting each other. I saw dozens of people gathered around outside an electronics shop, just to watch two dudes go at it on TV! They must think we're crazy in America.

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I had to take a picture of this...this is Bling Bling Electronics (haha). I stopped here to buy some DVDs and a game boy. You can get great deals in Kuwait, but half this stuff doesn't work, so make sure you can return it.

Speaking of Bling-age, I bought myself a necklace, made of 18K white gold. I don't normally buy fancy jewelry, but I thought it looks pretty cool. And I wanted to treat myself!

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These last two pictures are from the inside of the bazaar, where you can purchase items like shoes, purses, clothes, watches, electronics, produce, candy...just about anything you can think of. We stopped and had some farawli (spelling?). Farawli is nothing scary, just a smoothie made of mango, banana, and milk.

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Oh yeah, I went to get a haircut, and the guy didn't understand what 1/2" meant, so he probably used 1/8" or so. By the time I noticed, it was too late!

And here's what happened...
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It's not too bad. I'm just not used to it. hehe. Oh well, Dan get's a new image!

Posted by Dan at 05:34 PM | Comments (9)

May 02, 2004

Tastes Like Chicken

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No, I haven't eaten one yet...we've still got plenty of food here. In fact, I haven't even seen one (although two have visited our tent so far). Most of you have heard lots of things about Camel Spiders, myself included. There are lots of rumors, and as nasty as these things look, they are harmless to humans...and even Camels.

Here's a scientific article on Camel Spiders, also known as Solifugae.

Random Junk: A friend sent this next thing to me. Its a tracking file to count the days until I complete my contract. You need Microsoft Excel to view it. Download Here

More Random Junk: I saw a Captain with the last name of Hook. So, if you spoke to him, you would address him as Captain Hook. At previous commands I have also seen a Captain America and a Captain Kirk. hehe...I'm a dork.

Posted by Dan at 02:04 PM | Comments (4)

May 05, 2004

A Better View

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This is a small map I made to show the various places I've lived or traveled. Once I get to Iraq, I probably won't be able to show you where I am.

KuwaitSandstorm.jpg This is a satellite image (thanks Brian!) of the Persian Gulf, and the massive amount of airborne sand from the storms 2 weeks ago.

I can understand why so much religious superstition comes from the Middle East. This place is very surreal. The weather changes so frequently, often violently, sometimes the sky looks like it is opening up and crashing down on you. No wonder this was the birthplace of three major religions...it scares the crap out of people!

On another note, my company just asked what size Flak jacket might fit me.  That should mean we'll be going North soon, though my guess is we'll stay in Kuwait for another month or two.

Posted by Dan at 07:49 AM | Comments (1)

May 09, 2004

Email

I added my email info to the site, just under the calendar. Now you guys can send me love letters! haha.

And mail from strangers is welcome. Cheers!

Posted by Dan at 09:32 AM | Comments (7)

May 15, 2004

Going to Town

IMG_1220.jpg Power lines like these can be found all over the country, just like the oil plants. This sunset seemed pretty dramatic, so I took a picture.
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This is Highway 40, one of the routes you can take up the state. Notice the highway is 4 lanes wide, but there's no lines on the road! So it's a free-for-all for several miles, until the highway changes into divided lanes.

Kuwait's layout reminds me of something you'd see in a videogame. There's people swerving all over the place, abandoned cars everywhere, camels and goats on the side of the road, and if that wasn't enough, there are bus stops on the highway! Yeah, people standing on the side of the road, waiting for a bus to come and pick them up! Oh, and crossing the streets? Think of the old videogame, Frogger.

On the way back last night, I saw a car...I couldn't tell what kind it was...up on the center divider, and wrapped around a lightpole. It looked like it was shot out of a cannon. They drive so fast here, with no regard for safety, fatal accidents probably happen every day. They try to tell people to slow down by posting these signs everywhere, some so blatant they just say, "SPEED LEADS TO DEATH."

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I went into town with several buds from work, all from the same company. Our first stop was Hawally, a small locale near the coast, considered part of Kuwait City. I should mention that the English spelling is different. Hawalli is the correct way, and Hawally is the English way, Al Fuhayhil is Fahaheel, etc.

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I updated my map to include Hawally...

IMG_1272.jpg Here's some shots of Kuwait City again. Just various locations. I think this may have been one of the embassies here.

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This is the Liberation Tower, and yes, it's a restaurant. It's also the fifth largest telecommunications tower in the world.

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Downtown Kuwait City is very well developed, with lots of modern structures and new buildings assembled every day. We got lost driving around, so I took a few pictures.

And in other news, I got arrested last week... ronald.jpg Actually, I found this picture from an article in New Zealand. (click here)
Posted by Dan at 08:08 PM | Comments (4)

May 20, 2004

Meet Mr. Lizard

FreakingLizard nilesunsoaker.jpgSo me and my buddy, Jeff, saw a huge lizard the other day. That thing was a foot and a half long!  We didn't get any good pictures, because he ran and hid in a concrete tunnel (above), but we know where he lives, and we'll try and take some better shots. This is a pic from the internet of what they look like.

I moved into a new tent last night, right next to my old one.  There is some major snoring in the old one every night, so I had to bail! hehe. TentHall.jpg So this is my new hallway... NewBedroom1.jpg
And here's my pad.  You like?  It 'aint much like San Diego, but it's my new home.  Besides, this opportunity only comes once in a lifetime. NewBedroom2.jpg

My friend also has a good site charting his travels. Click here if you'd like to see it. It's got some cool photos too.
Posted by Dan at 10:44 AM | Comments (5)

May 23, 2004

Tip #1042: Wear Sunscreen

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Yesterday, I went to the pool with my friend Jeff. Neither of us works on Saturday, and it was almost 130F again, so we decided to take advantage of the pool while we still had one. And no need to mention I got a little cooked.

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This is Jeff, posing in front of my new tent. Way to go, champ!

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Some of you recently found out I was in a punk band back in San Diego and wanted to see some pictures of me and my "old look." Here you go. That's my dog, Abby, in the photo on the left. Dang, I miss her!

And here's my tough guy shot (ha ha)...

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After the pool, we headed out to Fahaheel again to do some exploring. Look! Sheep!

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For lunch, we ate at Applebee's. The food was pretty close to home. The funny thing is they have a bar, just like in the states, and you can order drinks, just like back home. Only thing different: there's no booze.

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Driving around, you will notice that Kuwait advertises on their bridges, like this one. It's not as pushy or messy as billboards. Yeah, my picture sucks. Deal with it, the car window wasn't clean.

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Uh. Well, somebody has to make the sponges!!

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For Dinner, we went to a local restaurant (still in Fahaheel). They cook the chicken right on the street.

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This is a sampling of traditional Middle-Eastern cuisine. I tried to remember what this was called, and I will update the site later once I have that info. Everything was very tasty, but the restaurant served too much!

We headed back to Arifjan to get some rest. I was pretty worn out from baking in the sun for so long.

Posted by Dan at 09:36 AM | Comments (8)

May 30, 2004

What are you smoking?!





IMG_1367.jpg Friday, I went back to Marina Mall in Kuwait City to try and find a new pair of workpants. As usual I ended up getting distracted and going exploring. This is the waterside portion of Marina Mall.
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IMG_1373.jpg This is a bridge way that connects the waterside portion to the main mall. The two are separated by Gulf Road. This highway reminds me a lot of Pacific Highway 1 along the California coast.
IMG_1382.jpg We also went to Al Fanar Mall, a more upscale locale, featuring shops like Tiffany's, Bang & Olufsen, and others.
IMG_1391.jpg Nighttime again, we headed back to our usual stop, Fahaheel. This strange looking tower is a water fountain. Kuwait's water towers are in this fashion too. I'm still trying to find out if there is a symbolic meaning to this shape.
IMG_1382.jpg Looking cool as always, here I am at a local bar, smoking sheesha (no, it isn't something Cheech and Chong would do). Sheesha (or Shisha) is a mixture of tobacco, molasses, and fruit. I had apple-flavored, and it tastes great. The locals come to these bars to relax, kick their shoes off, get comfortable on the couch, and smoke for an hour or two. This particular shop was laid out on the sidewalk, right on to the street!

What you can't see in the picture is that we were watching the movie Jackass, an American classic. I couldn't believe they like to watch the same stuff we do, especially something like
Jackass! They must think we're crazy.


Posted by Dan at 09:34 AM | Comments (1)

Mario Kart Racing





2004-05-29-Atv-madness-kuwa.jpg Saturday, Jeff and I went to the pool in the morning, I got my usual sunburn, napped half the afternoon, then went four-wheelin' with a couple of the SATCOM guys (SATCOM: Satellite Communications).
IMG_1427.jpg These fellers are 100cc...very small. Don't these things look like friggin' toys? Haha!
IMG_1399.jpg It's hard to look cool on a 100cc, but I pull it off anyway!
IMG_1461.jpg We took off and headed south, to explore some older spots destroyed from the previous fighting in Kuwait. IMG_1417.jpg In Kuwait, there is plenty of space to explore...
IMG_1411.jpg As always, we found another herd of camels. Goofy fellers!
IMG_1415.jpg This is the remains of a tank that was destroyed during the first war, almost 14 years ago.
2004-05-29-Atv-madness-kuwa3.jpg We found some old bunkers in the middle of nowhere and went inside to check them out. IMG_1429.jpg
IMG_1419.jpg One of the bunkers was torn open, and you could drive straight through, like a little race track! 2004-05-29-Atv-madness-kuwa4.jpg
IMG_1471.jpg Sunsets are always impressive out here...
2004-05-29-Atv-madness-kuwa2.jpg I only fell hard once. I was trying to do some sort of wheelie and I fell off the back. Honest, this is how the 4x4 landed.

With a rip in my pants (at the knee), and no more daylight, it was time to head back.


Posted by Dan at 10:20 AM | Comments (5)