Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Carnival

Dear Reader,

I got to take a little trip last week to the zoo. Well actually the zoo itself has long been abandoned of animals so I guess it was more like a carnival or amusement park. Welcome to Camp Victory, Baghdad. I'm so used to the deserty north of Speicher that Victoy was like paradise. I had some meetings in this beautiful palace (photo not taken by me) and I could not get over how ridiculously massive and even beautiful it was. Here is also a picture of the interior (also not taken by me). The chandelier there is no joke the size of my CHU. You can also get a nice view from
those balconies there and wow if you look out the back off the balconies that overlook the lake you can see a bunch of other smaller island palaces scattered around the lake. Apparently that's where Saddam used to keep his closest cronies. Now I don't normally associate palaces with carnivals but there's a lot more to the trip than a palace.

So, we stepped off the helicopter and were immediately stunned by all the noises, lights, and people buzzing around. On our way to lodging there were women walking around everywhere! Many of them were civilian contractors so to see a ratio of about 3:1 male to female with many wearing civilian clothes, it almost seemed like we were back in the USA! See, we're used to more like a 50:1 ratio mostly wearing uniforms. The next morning, we walked over to what was basically a Starbucks, (called Green Beans), on the base and we passed by a circuss tent in which a band was rehearsing. They even had a banner and some posters outside advertising upcoming concerts. I wondered, "seriously, where am I?" After we got our mochas and frappes we passed by a massive pigeon roost. Sadly nobody was taking care of the pigeons so they left the roost to inhabit holes in nearby buildings. The roost just looked like a monument towering there for tourists to pass by and take pictures of. Ok so here's my favorite part; my interpreter and I were riding in the van to an Iraqi restaurant that he claimed was far better than anything I've had up north. The driver turned on the radio and here's roughly what we got:
Female radio host: "hey Hey HEY! It's Jihad Jordan here with the latest and greatest hits for YOU! Up next, and you will NOT want to miss this, I'm gonna tell you WHERE TO BE tomorrow night for OW OW! let's hear it! HALLOWEEEEN! That's right! BAGHDAD IS THE PLACE TO BE this year for Halloween and I'm gonna tell you where all the BEST PARTIES are gonna be and you do NOT want to miss out!"
I was really beginning to think I was dreaming all of this. Sadly we arrived at our destination before I could learn where all the hopping parties were going to be in Baghdad for Halloween, but I already had a lot on my plate for Halloween anyway and wouldn't be able to attend. I mean, it's not like I'm deployed to a combat zone or anything...

In other news, Naughty By Nature is coming tomorrow so we're not allowed to wear civilian clothes (I know, it doesn't make sense), so get down with O.P.P.-- yeah you know me!