I've been spending a lot of time over the last few days, just hanging with the guys here in Afghanistan... It's amazing the conversations that you can have, while you are sitting at a picnic table praying to the internet gods! It takes so long to load pics, audio, and video that you have nothing better to do, than ask questions of anyone that comes your way. There is such a cross section of people here, it's amazing. There are over 15 countries involved in the allied forces in Afghanistan. The number of private contractors is amazing, and I cannot believe the number of locals that are walking around on base. Local Afghan civilians cook on base, they clean on base, and the build everything on base. Obviously they are supervised, but I NEVER had this kind of access to the local Iraqi's 5 years ago. It's culture shock times 10! Here are some of my observations so far.
1. burning tires and poop is bad for your sense of smell, and your lungs.
2. the sound of a Blackhawk hovering over your bedroom is something that you get used to, and amazingly makes you feel relaxed.
3. people with purple hair (especially women) in Afghanistan get stared at constantly. It's actually quite funny now!
4. there is such a thing as a 'brass magnet' and I am that person! It's UNREAL! The guys in my unit think it's out of control. They can never relax, you never know when a General is going to pop out and surprise us!
5. there is no other place that a dedicated soldier wants to be, than with 'his guys'. No matter the injury or illness, they just want to get back to work. I've never seen dedication like I have seen here.
6. bureaucracy is everywhere, even in a war zone.
7. there are certain things that our troops cannot live without... video games, movies, music, and Skype. Skype is the greatest for these guys. I'm watching a few soldiers Skype with their kids right now, and it makes me want to cry.
8. if you are tired enough, you can fall asleep anywhere!
9. DO NOT leave your Facebook page open in a room full of soldiers! BAD things can happen!
10. ball busting is he same in any language!
11. you could make a fortune selling frozen margaritas here. I would pay $1000 for one right now!
12. Army coffee and hot chocolate is a great way to start the day... waking up at 0500 to drink it is NOT a great way to start the day.
13. it is possible that the biggest and toughest looking guy in Kabul, is an accountant. I'm not kidding, his name is Donald, and he is HUGE!!!
14. anything can become normal, even people carrying automatic weapons into the cafeteria to eat breakfast!
15. having a private security detail and up armored vehicles drive you everywhere makes you feel like the President!
16. you can tell 'dick jokes' in front of the pastor, and not feel bad. He may even laugh!
17. jello is awesome
18. It's a small world. We keep bumping into people that we grew up with! My producer Mike is going to run from Mayor of Camp Phoenix soon, he knows everyone!
19. grown men, no matter how tough, LOVE to make ice cream sundaes!
20. "If you can win a war with Matchbox cars, why would you use a gun?"