Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Another interesting conversation

I was talking to one of the supervisors about going home (they're always interested in why people quit - for a change she didn't have to listen to a tale of woe relating to managerial caprice and institutional incompetence). We got on to the subject of how people in the States (or in New Zealand in my case) are horrified that you want to move to a Middle East country, where everyone hates us and wants to kill us - thanks news media, you're doing a great job. The same guys will wonder where radical Muslims get this paranoid idea that people in the West hate them and want to kill them - thanks news media, you're doing a great job. I mentioned how ironic it is that my parents are so concerned for my safety over here, and yet Kuwait seems like a far safer place to live than my home town.

Supervisor (T): "Boy, you got that right. L shot a guy in cold blood in Colorado Springs, for Christ's sake. You won't have to do that here."

Me: "L shot a guy?"

T: "Yeah. Woke up to find an intruder in his house. You know L - grabbed his gun, stepped out of his bedroom and shot the guy down - none of this 'Hands up' bullshit."

Me: "Uh yeah, that does sound like him."

Mental note - it seems my home town is also somewhat safer than Colorado Springs.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Not the full quid

It’s time for me to leave Kuwait. Someone back in NZ has made me a very nice job offer, so I’m breaking my contract and heading home early. I’m looking forward to going home, but on the other hand I keep kicking myself every time I come downstairs to this:

Sigh – I’m trying to get in there for a swim every day until I go. Three weeks of this left, then it’s back to where you can hardly swim outside in summer, let alone winter. Ah well, at least I’ll get to work a lot harder for less money. Hmm, this makes less and less sense the more I think about it. Why do expats come home again? We must have some psychological illness or something.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Sept 04

Another piece rescued from old emails home - the wacky world of civilian contracting as of 2004:

Went to the NBC dept the other day (Nuclear, Biological & Chemical) to be fitted for my gas mask. Seems kind of a waste, given that the only people capable of gassing us are the US Army, and presumably they won't, but it was pretty interesting. I've established that 6 minutes sitting quietly in a gas mask was enough to have me itching to tear it off, so presumably combat in one is reasonably unpleasant. They're also bloody heavy.

To cap off the weirdness, you sign a receipt for the gas mask and then they take it back and put it in storage. Sure hope they don't lose it, now that I was stupid enough to sign a receipt. Of course, all the masks are stored in the warehouse behind that office, so if there was a gas attack the entire population of the camp would presumably be queuing up at the office waving their receipts and trying not to breathe. Wayne from Chicago, who was here for all the false alarms during Gulf War 2, waxed pretty lyrical on just what fucking stupid shit it was, including "Suppose they was to give you that mask and you took it home. Here comes a gas attack - OK, are you going to clap that shit on your head and say 'Sorry, rest of my family, didn't get you no mask'?"

You get to watch girlies with guns here. Call me a kinky fucker, but there's something about a woman with a gun that's really hot. All the soldiers have to unload their weapons at the gate - there's a metal bin with sandbags all over it for you to empty the chamber into while you're waiting for the security guys to do your car (can't imagine who volunteers to unload the bin, but that's another story). Last week the soldiers getting out of the SUV in front of me included a black woman in civilian clothes who was holding a big handgun, and who started what looked to be a completely automatic movement to stick it in the back waistband of her pants before she remembered she had to go and empty the chamber. Now there's one to add to that list of unconscious gestures like flicking your hair out of your eyes - sticking your gun down the back of your pants. And this morning there was a blond cutie walking along in T-shirt, shorts, sandals and slung M-16. I’m going to hell for what I thought about her, I’m sure of it.