• Deploying to the MEAO - Day 23

    Thursday 3 April 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    Day 23: 1971 After work today, we left the military camp on the moon (aka AMAB, see day 4) and caught the “RR” (Rest and Recreation) bus into Dubai. We went to the old part of the city – Deira, and wandered through the old souk (markets). Before I’d managed to glance at the colourful fabrics and spices, the stall holders were putting pashminas around my shoulders and handbags in my path. I felt I was swotting them away like …

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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 26

    Thursday 3 April 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    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). Archways in the fort leading to the inner courtyard. The Qal’at Al Bahrain dates to around 2250 BCE. It is on a man-made hill …

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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 24

    Thursday 3 April 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    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. Bahrainis an island nation, a kingdom and a city-state. It is ruled by the minority Sunni Muslims and the majority Shia Muslims are, understandably, not happy about …

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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 22

    Wednesday 2 April 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    Day 22: Uniform(ity) Having lived on army bases for the past 19 days, I am surrounded by a sea of camouflage. The uniform for men and women is the same: “camo” cargo pants and long sleeved shirt, boots, t-shirt and a hat whenever you are outside, even at night time. The only thing that makes people look a little bit different is the insignia which tells you their rank, and the patches on their sleeves which tell you the unit they …

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  • Deploying to the MEAO: Day 20

    Monday 31 March 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    Day 20: Easter without eggs It's Easter Sunday and I am feeling deprived because I have NO chocolate eggs to eat. When we went to the European DFAC (Dining FACility) for brekky, I consoled myself with acroissantdipped in hot chocolate. We have been SO busy in Kabul, that there hasn't been any time to go to the gym. But I have had to wear my bone-crushing body armour every day, which is like walking around carrying 23 kg of weights at …

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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 21

    Monday 31 March 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    Day 21: up, up and away Today we said goodbye to the magnificent mountains of Kabul and flew back to AMAB (Al Minhad Air Base). We were supposed to be going to Kandahar in southern Afghanistan, but the flight was cancelled. I was a bit disappointed not to visit Kandahar, once the capital of Afghanistan and now the second largest city, but not much. If you’ve seen Ben Quilty’s painting of Kandahar, you’ll know why. On the trip back …

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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 19

    Wednesday 26 March 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    Day 19 - the streets of Kabul Today we went "outside the wire" again through the streets of Kabul. The insurgents keep thinking up new ways to attack enemy vehicles with IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), so much so that the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is struggling to create new acronyms to keep up with their deviousness! However, I felt quite safe in our "up-armoured" 4WD, wearing my body armour, helmet and ballistic eye …

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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 18

    Wednesday 26 March 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    Day 18 - not really here Today we arrived in the capital of Afghanistan: Kabul. We are staying at Kabul International Airfield - North (KAIA-N), home to defence personnel from many countries who have joined the fight against the Taliban. This is my second trip into Afghanistan – the first was to Tarin Kot (TK) but then we flew out to the UAE again. On neither occasion was my passport checked nor stamped. It’s as if the two military …

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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 16

    Wednesday 26 March 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    Day 16 - Staying connected No modern soldier goes to war without a laptop. This was an observation that Sally Sara, the ABC's former foreign correspondent in Afghanistanmade. Sara reported that when some troops who were stationed at a remote patrol base and hadn't been able to have a shower for three months were offered the choice of having showers orinternet access installed, they chose internet. When you're sent on a 6-12 month …

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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 17

    Wednesday 26 March 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    Day 17 - Battle rhythmn Back in Australia,you'll hear the phrase: "work/life balance". Balancing the needs of children or significant others with the demands of a job whilerunning ahousehold can be a complex and sometimes stressfuljuggling act. Things get out of balance easily. On deployment, I've come to the conclusion thatthe equation is not "work/life" but "work= life". People work weekends. Thecycle of aweek is created by the Friday …

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