KAF would be very nice base, quite photogenic. Aircraft take off night and day, the fighters taking off on afterburner are like a free fireworks show every night. The A10s are some of the coolest planes ever and there aren’t that many places to see them any more.
The downside to the base is the Poo Pond. It is, perhaps the most famous feature of the base. It was built by the Russians, a gigantic open cesspool.
The smell… the smell is truly incredible. Imagine being locked in an overfull outhouse on a hot, windless day, but spreading downwind for miles and inescapable. It is one of those things that is better experienced vicariously.
But at sunset, aside from the retching stink, it is quite photogenic – the black, viscous liquid is mirror like, still and reflects the sunset just beyond the bio hazard signs.
Urban livestock is a key element in recycling efforts.
The rooftops are open space and free of modern clutter
Most of the roadside ditches are blocked, and emptied by hand, perhaps an invitation to a game.
Trash disposal is a bit primitive in most places, but there’s a series of recycling steps that take place involving scrap collectors, goats, cats, children, and burning.
Kids are kids no matter where.
The mountains from our compound
Horse drawn cart in front of a small truck in front of the hospital.
A small street-side cemetery
After flying out of dusty airports with bullet holes in the windows on time, after passing through gauntlets of guards for whom “ankle holster” is an acceptable excuse for setting off the metal detector – all of whom were pleasant, and a few ear protectors put on “habibe” terms, it is a bit of a shock to land in the US where DHS shouts at passengers angrily, despite having run zero risk of IEDs to get to work and potable water running out of their taps at home, and flights delayed by 30 minutes on the runway for bad traffic management, not rockets.
Appreciate it, people are still dying for it.
At the COB, Green Beans is a real, but essential, luxury. We started our day with a triple cappuccino expertly served up by the unexpectedly named Robert Rodriquez (perhaps an homage) and felt pretty well taken care of.
Coming straight to Dubai is a bit of a culture shock. Indoor palm trees? We had to go off base to see outdoor palm trees.
We did have one bit of green on base…
If you’re not already in a hardened building, when the alerts sound, you get to sit in one of these until the all clear. They’re kind of homey in a homely way.
The Brits had the base first and left their marks here and there.