If you were reading this blog last year, you might remember that I arrived in Baghdad on time, but my luggage didn’t make it until 3 days later. Well this time neither me nor my luggage has made it to Baghdad as yet.
My trip started off well enough. Dr. K dropped me off at the Charlotte airport in plenty of time to get something to eat before my flight. While there, I ran into T from our poker home game. She was on her way to a “professional conference” in Las Vegas. That’s lucky right there. I hope she is doing well at the tables.
My flights from CLT and Dullas both departed on time and arrived early. Due to problems with my paperwork, I knew that I would spend a day at the hotel airport until the issue got resolved. In talking to the gate agent for my Kuwait to Baghdad airline, he pointed out that the passport number on my paperwork didn’t match the number on my passport. Great, a second problem.
They called the hotel and get me an escort and bus ride over to the hotel. The two advantages to this hotel are that I don’t have to officially enter Kuwait to stay there and it is cheap. My first shock came when I learned that I would not be getting my bags at the hotel. They would have to stay at the airport. I had meds, a t-shirt and change of underware, so I could handle this for one night. Next was the size of the room. I’ve owned bigger closets. I knew right then that I’d only be in this hotel one night. I’d be one my way to somewhere else the next day, whether that was Baghdad or a better hotel or the streets of Kuwait City.
Due to the time zone and timing of the flights, it was pie-in-the-sky thinking that this paperwork would come through on time for me to fly on Monday. Luckily, my contact in Baghdad got me in touch with Mandy, a local employee of the company we are working for. She told me that they have apartments set up like dorms that are used for just this type of layover. I got myself back to the airport, got a visa to enter Kuwait, tracked down my bags and escaped the airport.
I had to hang out at the Caribou Coffee just outside of the official airport for about 90 minutes until Mandy could come pick me up. I must say this apartment is really nice. I have access to food, a big screen TV, Internet, and a pool table. There are a couple other guys staying here right now. It is nice to have someone to chat with and just be around. Loneliness is my mortal enemy for the next 4 weeks. This place really helps on that score.
The apartment in in a high-rise right on the Persian Gulf. Attached are a few views from the windows.
I’m still waiting to hear from my project manager on my paperwork, but I have to believe that it will come through today (Tuesday). I’m currently schedule to fly to Baghdad on Wednesday evening. If I don’t get it by 11 pm or so, I’m going to miss the guy I’m replacing and not get any real introduction to the project. It will be a big disadvantage to my start on this project. It could also mean that I’ll take a military flight into camp. That sounds like a bit more adventurous though maybe not Dr. K approved.
There isn’t anything I can do about any of this. It is all in the hands of the project management and the Army. My attitude is to be patient, do what I need to do first and what else I can do second and to keep my cool at all times. So far I’m good on those points.