So, I finally made it to my intermediate destination. (My unit has instituted a draconian security policy where we're not supposed to let you know what country we're in, so this blog has been edited, but I'm sure you all can figure it out.) We were initially supposed to be leaving early Wednesday morning, with the typical 12 hours of Army preparation (stand in formation, load your bags on the truck, wait around for another hour, stand in another formation, turn in your keys, wait around some more, stand in another formation, wait around for a while, get issued your weapons, then wait some more). We were about half the way into the process (I'd just been given my M16) when our flight was pushed back 12 hours due to weather conditions. So, we had to turn our gear back in, get re-issued keys so we'd have somewhere to sleep, and then crash out until we got up at 3 AM to re-do it again.
We flew out on a comercial jet and were packed into economy class, just like usual, only there were M16's shoved under the seats. After a stop somewhere in Canada to refuel and a brief layover for crew change in Germany, we finally arrived in our current location.
There's quite a change from the geography and climate that I'm used to. Walking off the plane, the first thing that hits you isn't the sights or the smells, it's the taste. Even before I'd made it down the steps to the tarmac, I could taste the dust and dirt building up in my mouth. There's dust and sand everywhere (and really not much else). The entire country is colored in variations of brown. We flew over the country's capital on the way in, and it was shaped normally, but everything was a tan-brown color. Even the sky is brown. If you look straight up, there's a small patch of white/blue sky, but the closer to the horizon you get, the browner the sky looks. The landscape is pretty boring. It makes Eastern Colorado look downright scenic in comparison. Thankfully, the weather itself hasn't been too bad. There's a constant wind blowing, so you get a face full of dirt everywhere you go, but the temperature's only been in the 80's and 90's, so I really can't complain.
Living conditions aren't too bad either. I'm sleeping in a large tent with 40 of my closest friends. But, it's clean and it's air conditioned with power plugs (running 220V) and a plywood floor, so I can't complain. The food's pretty good here too. The cafeteria's staffed entirely by foreign nationals with minimal English comprehension, but it's clean and the 2 meals that I've had so far have both been great. We went to the gym today, which is nicer than the gym at Ft. Leonard Wood, and obviously, I've been able to get online.
It looks like I'll be here a little while before moving on to my final destination, so more information later.