Day 29: homecoming rituals
Today was our final day in the MEAO (Middle East Area of Operations) - tomorrow we start the trek home on a chartered A340.
One of the homecoming rituals is sorting through your kit and cleaning off the dust of Afghanistan. The laundry whirs as people wash and scrub everything so that it will pass the quarantine inspection. Some boots are too down-trodden to be taken home.
Day 28: Decompression
My room mate said to me at 9pm last night: "I feel like I should be doing something, that I should be working! I'm all fidgety and I can't sit still". She keeps checking her right hip for her pistol and her left hip for her military ID that she had to carry at all times on base. She has just returned to AMAB (Al Minhad Air Base) after spending six busy months working on logistics in Kabul. She worked 12 hour days that were punctuated by eating, sleeping and going to the gym. This is not "normal" life!
Day 27: Under her wings
Our one hour flight from Bahrain to Dubai turned into an 11 hour endurance test. After spending most of the night in the air waiting for a freak cyclone to ease and in the Bahrain transit lounge, we finally made it back to AMAB (Al Minhad Air Base) safely.
Rain is rare in the Middle East, but it has rained in every place we have visited. We seem to be taking it with us. I wonder if it will be raining in Canberra when we finally get home.
Day 26 - Battle watch
We had a few spare hours before our flight departed Bahrain today, so G3 and I went to an old fort. I was particularly pleased to get away from our accommodation, as I felt like I was under house-arrest. Not being able to leave the house without a male escort was stifling (see day 24).
Day 25 - Spooks
Day 24: Bahrain
We arrived in Bahrain today. This is my third country and my fourth currency (Emirati Dirham, Euros on the ISAF base in Kabul, US dollars on the multinational base in Tarin Kot and Bahraini Dinar) - I think it’s time for the Arab equivalent of the Euro.
Day 23: 1971
Day 22: Uniform(ity)
Thank you to everyone who submitted their guess for this week. As promised, here is the answer:
It is a button hook – a popular and necessary item between the 1890s and 1920s, used to pull buttons through buttonholes. They were particularly useful when the garment or footwear was tough and unyielding.