In Iraq for 365

About my experiences in Iraq... the frustrations, the missions and this country... and the journey home

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Talking to Iraqi truck drivers when I smell like a dead animal

Yesterday, I traveled to the Turkish-Iraq border to cover the efforts in ensuring supplies from Turkey are safely brought into Iraq. And man, it was cool. There was very little enemy pressure, which means I had piece of mind as I was walking and driving on the streets, and the truck drivers were all so thankful for our help. Of course, like every Iraqi I’ve ever met (except the bad guys), they wanted their picture taken. They also had a truck stop. That’s right, an Iraqi truck stop! I died laughing when I saw it. I didn’t go inside, so I can’t tell you if they had a cashier named Betty chewing gum at the counter and a bathroom with condom dispensers. My guess is no, but you never know. At any rate, I slept in what was like a hotel and ate good ole Army chow, but didn’t get a shower. If there’s one thing that aggravates the hell out of me it’s stupid policies. The people running this “hotel” for military personnel enforce the shower rules, and they don’t let anybody take showers except from 0600 to 0900. Well, I arrived at this location at 0300 and the night prior, I was out on raids, and the night prior to that, I had guard duty all night, so I’ll be damned if I wake up any earlier than 1000 at this point. I was tired and didn’t care about a shower. But when I woke up, I realized that stuff starts growing on you after you hadn’t showered in three days, especially in the arm pits. Needless to say, I went another day without a shower because of a stupid rule. I guess, they’re trying to preserve water, but man I really smelled like a dead animal on the side of a road. Good thing I have a lot of scented baby wipes.

Also on this trip, I found an interesting girl to write a feature on. She’s a native of Haiti but moved to the U.S. after her mother died and then joined the army. This will be my fifth non-U.S. citizen story the past 10 months. I really like telling their story, because they are serving a country at which they are not even a citizen. And the fact is they tend to care more about our beloved country than most national citizens. This particular soldier said the one thing she couldn’t wait to do when she became a citizen was vote. Funny, how so many Americans failed to do just that in the past couple days.


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