Sunday, October 31, 2010

Weekend 19 of 27

Things got a little nutty around the office last Saturday. The guys started playing baseball, lacrosse, and floor hockey with these cardboard tubes we have around and these little stuffed animals. It was hysterical!!

This is what happens on a Saturday afternoon when the bosses are out of the office for a meeting

The shenanigans continued at dinner when Blake and Kyle made fangs out of our plastic forks. It seems little silly now, but was amazingly funny at the time.

Weekend 18 of 27

Me on one of the balconies of the palace. You probably cant tell but way in the background to the right is Baghdad International Airport and the tower.

Daily reminders that we did not build this place.

I thought that after about 18 weeks i should probably show y'all how I live. There is a cubicle wall that splits my room in half (the other half is vacant since my roommate redeployed back in August).

The foot of my bed with my wall locker closet and drawers. And the awesome rug from Kristen!!

My bed with my lovely Vera bag to keep me company. Yep. That's it. That's my space.

Weekend 17 of 27

The lovely care packages I received while I was gone for a week to Qatar! Thank you to my amazing friends and family who have sent me such wonderful treats!

The Victory Over America palace. It sits just a short drive away from the palace that I work in. It apparently was one of the first targets of OIF in 2003.

Here is a short explanation of the unfinshed/bombed palace with French cranes that will probably sit there forever.

"It was then that I learned that the whole area we now refer to as the Victory Base Complex, was a retreat area for Saddam Hussein and high ranking members of the Ba’ath Party. Multiple palaces, including the Victory Over America Palace and the Victory Over Iran Palace, and the Ba’ath Party Headquarters are situated on artificial lakes. The area of Camp Victory known as strawberry hill is actually the product of moving dirty to create these lakes.

Victory Over America Palace was still under construction when the US issued its final ultimatum to Saddam and his sons on March 17, 2003. The cranes we see today were originally leased by French company by the Iraqi government for the construction of this palace. As the story is told around here, the French government demanded that the US disassemble and return the cranes after its bombing campaign began on March 19. The US kindly informed the French that they were welcome to come and retrieve them themselves, so here they sit 7 years later."

(taken from

A cool photo from the Naturalization Ceremony with the Vice President back on 4 July. The rotunda of the palace. My office sits behind the American flag.

A cool photo of the sunrise on 1 Sep beginning Operation New Dawn.

Weekend 16 of 27 part 3 of 3

The ice skating rink at the Villagio.
On my last night in Doha I went on the Dhow Cruise. The Dhow boats are the old wooden fishing boats that were used to collect oysters. Now they are a dinner cruise tourist attraction.
The Dhow Cruise is the Doha harbor.

Me in front of the Museum of Islamic Art.

The downtown Doha skyline. What was so cool about this city was that all of the buildings had lights that were blinking or changing colors, the city really did look alive.

The Doha Sheraton. It is all the way out on the futherest point before you leave the harbor. Must be amazing views during the day.
I had a really restful and relaxing 4 days in Doha. Now, back to work...

Weekend 16 of 27 part 2 of 3

More fun at the Villagio. Every single person in this mall was beautiful. There was so much to take in... unbelievably amazing smells everywhere.... it was kind of like sensory overload.

The entrance we came in.

Yep... just your run of the mill average high end mall. If your high end mall had a canal running down the center with actual gondolas for actual gondola rides.

Yes, I stopped at the Starbucks (had to get my Starbucks Qatar mug). And yes, there was a Sephora directly across from this Starbucks. It was lovely.

Small amusement park inside the mall (there was also an ice skating rink and really, really expensive cars outside)

Me at the amusement park.

Weekend 16 of 27 part 1 of 3

This week I went to Doha, Qatar on my 4-day pass. There is an army camp there when all the folks deployed overseas can go on pass. They organize tours to some spots around Doha or you can hang out at the USP building and eat at little restaurants or watch movies, or.... sit at the coffee shop on the internet all day, like I did. There is also a pool and a Chili's!
My first meal at the USO... mmmm, it was tasty.

Driving around Doha... there were a lot of parts of it that reminded me of Los Angeles. Green grass and palm tree lined streets with hugemongous houses.

The drive from the camp into Doha was pretty beige.

More beige suburban Doha. There is a TON of construction on the outskirts of Doha.... like condo buildings that go on for blocks.

Me with Krispy Kreme (mmmmm) sitting at a fountain in the Villagio mall (more on this next...)

Weekend 15 of 27

No pictures this week. Just more of the same at work. I have been going to the episcopal/lutheran service at the chapel on Sunday afternoon and this weekend I was the reader of the lessons. I have never been the reader at church so this was huge for me. Luckily there are only about 15 people that attend the service in a very small little room with an altar and a podium so it wasn't that intimidating. I really love having that hour on Sunday afternoon. It feels homey.