Saturday, August 20, 2005

Chai (their word for 'tea') is not the spiced 'chai tea' that we have in the States. It's regular tea made with tea leaves but very strong and extremely sweet. I love it. It's served in small glasses with tiny spoons for stirring up the sugar at the bottom. After our host (with gray hair in the white 'man dress') and his son distributed the several glasses to us all, you could hear only the tinkle of tiny spoons in all of our glasses, until we all realized how ironic such a delicate sound was, considering the situation, and we all broke out in laughter.

However, the Kurdish man has two firearms in his house, an AK-47 and a shotgun for hunting, which is against the law. Each household is allowed one firearm, almost always an AK-47, per man 18 years or older. As we sip our chai and eat cake, we realize that the man's son is 18... or close enough, and we let him keep the shotgun.

The 'raid' is over quickly though and we're back at our base by about 7:30 AM. My squad is one of two slated to be the Quick Reaction Force (QRF - essentially we sit around, in uniform, ready to go in case something happens) for the day but we're content to be back at our bay, since QRF doesn't get called out that often - usually.

Our first QRF call comes around 10:30, after I get in a brief nap. One of our guard towers, manned by a new guy, a heavyset dude that apparently was formerly a Marine, calls out the QRF because a local kid was asking him about our guard duty schedule.

After donning all our gear, several of us hop into one of the cargo Humvees and drive around the backside of the base. We find the guy, as the ex-Marine in the guard tower takes an aggressive 'shooter's stance' with his weapon aimed at the individual, who turns out to be a mentally challenged teenager. We're back in our bay in about 45 minutes, laughing.

At that point, I'm up and decide to rearrange our pantry area. Our food area was always sort of a mess but recently a soldier left out a set of homemade shelves that they didn't need any more and I made off with them. Posted by Picasa
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