Thursday, September 06, 2007

Half a world away

I have one night in this nice ritzy hotel with slow internet. Gotta leave at 5:45 to catch a plane though, back to the boonies. This trip I'm on is an experience. Tough to sum up. Maybe rare is the word. Westerners are not common, so I do stand out. The natives I work with are such cheerful people who work tirelessly, and have very little. They love to talk and ask about family, and American culture. They get so excited when I learn even a few words in their native tongue. There is no one around here who doesn't return a quick wave and a smile, no matter how hardened they look at first. I always thought I had some kind of knack for enjoying life's simple pleasures. This place has put that to the test. The way people live and die here, whether from battle or hardship, has added perspective. Of course I am managing to enjoy things as much as I can, enough to smile in all my pictures. These guys love me out here. I set up my laptop and let them watch DVD's.

The culture sort of dictates that the men and women socialize separately. Don't ask me how the men and women get together. So here we are with about 20 enlisted sailors, partying. The music was complimentary of a turned over chair for a beat, and the men singing.

And of course, dancing. They wanted my work buddy and I to sing american songs. Well my buddy doesn't sing. So yes, I belted out a bunch of songs I know that kept up with their beat. Much fun considering it was the only night that we were able to get a break and hang out with these guys.

I have only a small fraction of the pictures I've taken since I am currently separated from my luggage. I have tried to take pictures of the people here, but without permission I feel rude. Ever try to take someones picture and hope they don't notice you?

Came across a bus and a truck that side swiped each other on a small road. No one was hurt, but among the crowd I spotted a very handsome looking but out of place man. He does kind of stand out. There are very few white people around.

Every time I see children over here I think of Quinn. These kids where so happy that I was taking their picture. They all smiled and waved, in the middle of a lesson I'm sure, so I put away the camera and waved back.

I've also noticed out here that it's very easy to be one with nature so to speak.

This is an inside bathroom, but you're never alone. The critters are all in your business.

Washing clothes is something I have not mastered at all. Bar of hand soap, small tub, my washboard stomach. They just don't seem to come clean.

Sure I miss home, but I really can't complain. These men go out of their way to make things as comfortable as they can for me. I'm actually handling everything fine. My small team and I hope to be able to finish things up in the next month or so. This place is interesting, but like anything, once the novelty wears off, you start to miss things like warm showers and eating utensils.

The men around here always make sure I've had enough to eat before they even touch their food. They actually stand there and watch you eat. Desert is papaya or watermelon, neither of which I like.

The chopper pilots around here are all battle hardened. We fly low and fast. Anytime they land we have to rush to either get on or get off because they need to take off quickly.

I use to try to turn and watch the chopper take off, but I got tired of eating the dirt sandwich that follows.

I've taken advantage of this internet access because I don't get it often, and I know people have been asking about me. These pictures are very random ones from the last week. I wanted friends and family to see how I've been and let everyone know I'm fine. Also, honey, I'm being safe. Talk to you soon.


Steph and Dan said...

Thank you so much for the update love. It's so go to hear from you. Quinn and I miss you. I'm glad you are being safe.

kristin said...

Thanks for the update, Dan. We think about you all the time, and have been worried about you. It won't be the same watching the Pats without you. Let's hope they make it all the way to the Superbowl this year, so you have more games to watch.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bruda! I miss you, thank you for letting us all know you are safe. Keep smiling, we'll see you soon.

Anonymous said...

hi those 3rd world counties makes you more appreciative of the good old ,? new usa and not having a scorpion in the bathroom and having the washing machine those are survival skills that we all could use one day. let us thank god for what we have and hope that we all appreciate life as it is . your in our prayers for a safe and happy return god bless;

Aunt Kristin said...

Alright, I really thought Joe would be the one to post this comment, but I guess he's not going to and it really has to be done:

Dan, about that picture of you with the baby deer. Are you gonna bring it home for Steph or what?

(Sorry Steph, love ya!)