October 12, 2004

Leaving, On A Jet Plane...

My two weeks is up. That went by way too fast. I'll be getting out of here shortly, and some 30 hours later, I should be in Kuwait again.

I'll let everybody know when I get to the next hop...

Posted by Dan at 07:45 PM | Comments (4)

October 14, 2004

Kuwait

Well, I made it back to Kuwait safely, and without too much trouble. I left San Diego around noon on Tuesday, and flew through Chicago and Frankfurt, before arriving at Kuwait City International Airport.

I had a problem at Frankfurt, though. Security wouldn't let me bring my Zippo lighters, despite the fact that I had already brought them on two flights. They were empty too, and posed no fire hazard. In my opinion, airport security is too strict.

I had purchased the lighters for my Kazakhstani friends up in Al Kut, and I had their names engraved. Pretty cool looking. So I was bummed about it. But then I saw a US military office in the airport and I asked if they could help. Sure enough, they said "Can Do," packaged them up, and mailed them off for me!

Well I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm glad to be back out here. As crazy as it is in this part of the world, it's less trouble than back home. I had a great time catching up with friends and family, but life back in the States is too cluttered, and too complicated.

Americans (myself included) worry about too many unimportant things, and yet we're all guilty of not caring about what really matters. I didn't feel this way until after I left the comfort of the US, so I don't blame the folks back home, but I wish we were more aware of our planet in whole.

OK, I'm cutting this off now, before I really get started. Look, I enjoyed catching up with everybody, and I do miss my home town, San Diego. I've got some interesting junk to share with y'all in another post, including some pictures.

Until then...

Posted by Dan at 02:15 PM | Comments (6)

October 19, 2004

Vacation Pics

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Here's why everyone loves San Diego. All year 'round, the weather is just amazing.

So, as I already mentioned, I'm back in Kuwait and I still don't know how to get up into Iraq. I'm not going to worry about that for now. And no, I did not go to Vegas. I was really hoping to, but a lot of crazy stuff happened, and I stayed at home. Anyhow, I wanted to post some photos I took while I was back.

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This is my parents' backyard, and yes, that's a Blue Jay. They stop by on our back porch for a free snack (usually peanuts).

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This is my cousin, Zahra, and our neighbor's dog, Missy. Zahra came to visit, along with my Aunt and Uncle.

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This was from the Karl Strauss Oktoberfest in San Diego, the first week I got back. Local bands performed while everyone got drunk. Sounds like fun to me!

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My old punk band played at the festival, and they were kind enough to invite me up for a few songs with them (yep, I still know how to play bass). Man, I had a great time up there, and I really miss those guys.

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This is one of my favorite shots. I took this picture just after sunset in La Jolla, at Windansea Beach. The skyline looks so peaceful, not to mention the calm ocean swells that day.

I know, this blog is supposed to be about Iraq and Kuwait, but I don't see the harm in throwing a couple photos up here. Speaking of Iraq, I'll probably be heading back soon in the next few days. I'll post again before I go. I've been pretty busy lately, and I'll explain everything next time.

Posted by Dan at 01:05 AM | Comments (5)

October 24, 2004

Happy Ramadan

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Sunrise over Kuwait...

So now it is Ramadan, the holiest Muslim month in the calendar. It officially started 15-October and lasts for about 30 days. It was this time that Muhammad received the Qur'an (or Koran) from the angel Gabriel, and in tradition, muslims refrain from eating and honor this month.

The word Ramadan comes from the Arabic word, "Ar-Ramad", meaning "scorching heat", or "dryness." This probably describes the feeling one gets when fasting, especially in the freaking desert. They fast all day, and eat after 5 pm, though I've noticed a lot of them cheat by sleeping all day and staying up all night. To me that doesn't really sound right, but who am I to say?

This also means no eating (for us Westerners) in public, including chewing gum and drinking water. So I've been ordering lots of pizza and hanging out at home in my free time. Yay, Ramadan!

Some updates...

Well, I officially resigned from my old company, and I now work in Kuwait. That means no more craziness having to live up in Iraq, although it is possible I might venture up there once in a while. My job responsibilities have also changed slightly. I will no longer be a Network Admin or Satellite Comms Operator. Now I work as a Logistics Field Engineer, and for now that's all I can explain.

So the theme of this web log may change a little. Kuwait isn't dangerous like Iraq, so I don't think I can use www.imightgetkilledatwork.com anymore. I think www.taxson.net is more appropriate.

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Here's some old Iraqi money that was confiscated up in Iraq. I can't say where it came from, but it is pretty cool. Saddam's creepy mug-shot is printed on the other side. Some of these bills are counterfeit (printed on plain old paper), which is partly why the Iraqi Dinar lost so much value.

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During Saddam's time, there were two versions of Iraqi Dinar; the Iraqi and Chinese-printed kind (easy to copy), and the Swiss-printed kind (difficult to forge), so the Swiss Iraqi Dinar held a higher value than the other. Now everything has been replaced with a new set of Iraqi Dinars, printed in the UK.

That's all for now. I've been fighting a head cold, so I'll update in a few.

Posted by Dan at 10:03 PM | Comments (9)