It feels good to be home and return to all that’s familiar to me. I feel fortunate to be able to return with so many new experiences and so much to tell. I wanted to kiss American soil when I got back. I love our country! I definitely want to be a world traveler and see all that the world has to offer but I think I can stay grounded here for awhile. I reflected and re-evaluated so many things on this trip and I realized I have so much to do now that I’m back.

I wanted to express my thanks to everyone for reading my blog during the time I was gone. I realized there are so many things I didn’t get a chance to write about but as I get settled in I will post up the pictures and recount everything. Thanks for all the prayers, the messages, encouragement, and L.O.V.E.

Stay tuned!


The past 3 days have been pretty relaxing. We didn’t go out on the ships after all. We stayed in our nice hotel with our great big rooms and basically had LOTS of leaisure time. It was nice but at the same time we are all getting a bit ancy to get home.

We didn’t get out to the ships because they didn’t come in but we have been playing at a Naval Support Base that has Marine security as well. The stage was called 2000 Desert Dome. It was outdoors and provided great sound and lighting. We didn’t even have to pull out our own sound, just a few instruments. Between all three nights the crowd varied. The first night which was wednesday night was probably my worst show I had the whole tour. The energy just wasn’t there and it didn’t seem like the audience was receptive no matter how hard I tried to get them into it. But once I got off stage so many people were complimenting us so maybe I was being too critical but that’s the way it felt from the stage. There was no vibe there. The Navy crowd was so much more different from the Army and Air Force crowd. Since the guys are on ships at sea for many months with no alcohol once they hit a port they are allowed to drink as much as they’d like – no limit. Unlike the Air Force and Army which impose limits on their guys. So needless to say some of them can be aggressive and belligerant which is what we dealt with on the 2nd night. There was a pack of guys that were completely wasted and they wanted to dance. They would physically grab on Tanya and I to come dance and at one point we didn’t want to be nice about it anymore. It just seemed like they were so persistent and after a show we are pretty tired and trying to hold it together just to socialize a bit but they were pretty demanding. Even when tanya was djing she was pretty frustrated with all their requests and demands. The Marines who were on-site as security had to come and break up a few fights. It got kind of bad and all this made for a really long night .We weren’t looking forward to the last show but I was positive that it would balance out between the last 2 nights.

The sound guy who was helping us, Sidney was really nice and accomodating.  Our point of contact, Hussein was also a very nice guy. He kind of just let us do whatever we wanted to these last few days especially since the ships didn’t show. When we called our main contact from the Armed Forces Entertainment he said that he was getting LOTS of good reviews on Rebel Crew. Probably the best he’d ever heard. He was very pleased and said that we are getting lots of compliments on our shows, personalities, and cooperation. Despite a few drags here and there I have to say that we have all held it together very well. Even if we were a bit irritated with one another (naturally when you spend so much time with people) we would still be professional, pull it together, and by showtime we were over it.

Last night was the last show and it proved to be much different from the first two. I can’t generalize all Navy guys to be the same. We met a Navy crew from Austrailia and they were completely awesome. Some of them pretty handsome too 🙂 and we met a guy from Houston, Ben and some of his friends. They were all a nice change from what we had seen the past 2 nights. Our last two shows turned out great and had lots of energy but last night was a nice way to go out. The crowd didn’t want us to end. Suddenly it hit me that this was our last show on the entire tour and it made me a little sad but at the same time it had been such a great tour. I knew I was taking a lot from this experience – personally and professionally.

During our 3 day stay in Bahrain I noticed a few things. The people are very traditional with a little of a Western civilization adaptation. I don’t think too many people would admit it but our country has so much influence in fashion and trends. The women wore their burkas but very stylish clothes under them – especially the younger ladies. They wore make-up, nice handbags, and shades. And they go out on the town to party! I saw so many more men though. It was as if there was hardly a female population. There were plenty of mosques too. There was a uge mosque by our hotel and we could hear it sound of multiple times per day. The best way I can describe their prayers and chants is that they sound somber. I could be wrong but it sounds a bit like religious oppression and struggle. Of course I don’t understand Arabic but just by the tones in their chant. It is still very interesting though. You only see men walking in to worship at the mosques, if the women go they will attend a seperate mosque. Everything here is seperate even their bank accounts. It’s as if you marry divorced if that makes sense but it is probably the wisest thing. 

The naval base where we were performing was over-capacity so we were able to stay in the hotel for 4 nights now! It’s been so nice compared to the bunk beds on the bases with community showers. When we would go on base it would be just to have dinner and this was one of the best food selections we’d seen. They had a food court with all junk food 🙂 A&W, Eddie Peppers (which is like Taco Bell), a subs place, a pizza place, an authentic Arabic food place, and a cookies place like Cinnabon. Since we had food vouchers we were able to have a good assortment of whatever we wanted. The boys have really been taking advantage of that! During our leisure time as we have gone exploring outside of the hotel we’ve seen so many American food chains here! From McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Burger King,  Popeye’s, Subway, Papa John’s, even Chili’s and they were ALL in Arabic with the same logos! Of course itv doesn’t taste like it does in the states so we have been getting more authentic food. Yesterday we ate at a small Thai place that was incredible! There were so many little sandwich shops on the streets as well as internet cafes, hypermarkets, and beauty salons. I was hoping to find a nail place…I’m in desperate need of a refill! lol

Now we are all getting ready for our last day of travel and it is going to be a long one. We are flying Bahrain to London, London to Chicago, and Chicago to home. Doesn’t sound too bad but the layovers are what will kill you with the jetlag. I think I’ll be in a coma on monday. I just wanted to touch base and let you all know I’ll be home late sunday night/monday morning. I will touch base when I arrive but I am already looking forward to seeing you and all of my loved ones! More soon…. 

Saturday morning Fareed rushed us back to Al-Dahfra base to meet up with Lieutenant Nuila and Sargeant Perez. Lt. Nuila was the lady I spoke about earlier that was from Guatemala. She greeted us warmly as we arrived. She was such a sweetheart. Both her and Sargeant Perez impressed me a lot for being so professional, established, and YOUNG Latinas. They were only 25 years old and had already achieved a high rank in the Air Force. They enjoy what they do and it shows plus they had a career in the Air Force and could retire very early. One thing I’ve learned while visiting all these bases and meeting all of these soldiers and officers is that they started really young…at 18-years of age. That means that in 20-25 years they were SET and would have permanent medical benefits and a good savings to live off if they were smart about their spendings. On base you really have nothing to spend on. Your accomodations and food are taken care of, your medical attention is taken care of so there is no reason not to save your money. I definitely see the security of being in the military and why people do it.

Back to Al Dahfra! Lt. Nuila told us she had a “long day” for us with a tour that included meeting “the General”. I was really out of it because I had developed a really nasty eye infection overnight 😦 I could not stop getting sick and it was frustrating! I was wearing my glasses and was feeling like a complete dork with pink-eye. I knew it was going to be a really great tour but I just wasn’t feeling it and was ready to just get through it. She offered for me to go back to the doctor. It was definitely a good suggestion. She took me to the doctor and some of the boys needed to see him too. Rick was having serious lower backpain from all the lifting and Jon Durbin was still having upper respiratory problems so we all went and got labled the “sick band” by one of the clinic interns (lol) at some point I did have to laugh at it. I would never have this many doctor visits at home so I was grateful it was all taken care of by Uncle Sam. The doctor was another big sweetheart, Dr. Accola. He had a witty but dry sense of humor and he was sort of a charming geek (if that makes sense.) If you ever watch Beauty and the Geek he would totally be on there and he would sweep up the “beauty”. He was a great doctor though and defintely knew what he was doing. He gave me some eyedrops that would go with my current selection of drugs – mucinex, sudafed, claritin, and the inhaler. My upper respiratory problem was clearing up and he said I sounded much better. He commented, “We need to get you all better! We don’t get that many bands around here!”

After we left the clinic our tour began. Sgt. Perez and Lt. Nuila took us to meet General Wells who gave us an overview of the entire base. He sat us down in a conference room where we all had table tags and asked us some questons about Rebel Crew. He’d really done his research! He told us about all the aircrafts on base and what they did. It was really impressive. After the presentation he took us outside to take a picture. It was so bright and hot we could hardly keep our eyes open. He shook our hands and we were off to meet the “bomb squad” who showed us and explained the bombs they use and diffuse. It was really interesting. Jon Durbin (our guinea pig) tried on a bomb diffusing outfit. It was like a really gigantic space suit that weighs 80 lbs and costs $18,000 dollars. $9,000 just for the helmet. Next they took us to the Fire Department where we met some of the firefighters and saw a bit of what they did. They had a monumental rememberance circle for all of the people lost in 9/11. Did you know that 343 NY firefighters perished? The impact of looking at all of the names on the monument struck me hard and made me feel so emotional. I was glad I wore my glasses because I could not stop crying for about half an hour. It made me so sad to be reminded of such a tragedy. The guys were trying to cheer me up and called me “Emo”. That’s our big joke when someone is drifting off and being a loner for the day. We took a picture by the monument and moved to the flight lines.

We were stoked about the flight lines because we had the overview on all the aircrafts and wanted to see them and take pictures by them. There were 5 total. Most of them were fuel aircrafts and not to underestimate their jobs because they are all important but the one that impressed me the most was the A-WACK which has a satellite on top it of that rotates the entire time. There were about 24 computer systems inside which track any kind of suspicious activity by satellite. I will post up pics of all of these aircrafts – they were all amazing and as the General explained, that was the only base that carried the most aircrafts on top of providing the most fuel to all of our military branches.

The following day was our show and there were a lot of people on the base that were pumped up about it. The next day would be the anniversary of the wing which basically means that that particular wing #380 would be commemorated. The base itself had been active since 1992 but the wing had been passed on from a classified location in the US. UAE was definitely a great location for this base. With temperatures as high as 130 degrees, they said they only see rain once or twice a year. As hot as 106 degrees was, it sounded nice to never have to see a cloudy day.

They were planning a big fajita party on base the next day in honor of the anniversary and they would have sporting events and activities throughout the day to make it fun for everyone on base. We chilled out and mentally prepared for the show for most of the day. We hadn’t had a show since thursday at the Starlight Lounge so we were definitely prepared after a few days of rest. Soundcheck was at 3pm and after soundcheck I went back to the room to get ready for the show. The show ended up being our best one yet. It seemed like the whole base was buzzing about it. It made my day to hear them tell me, “This is the BEST show we’ve had so far. Thank you for coming.” The line grew long for cd’s, autographs, and pictures. That is always a great feeling. We even had to ask to burn cd’s because we were running out so quickly and had to be mindful about the last few shows. It was definitely a good feeling. It’s also nice to welcome up some soldiers who play music and like to jam. We made fast friends with the bartender, Rob Padilla who was an excellent drummer. He made some really good drinks too! We were on the 3-drink restriction and lucky for me that was all I needed to have me feeling woozy in the morning.

The next day was another off day. The lieutenant and sargeant were kind enough to ask permission to take us off base to Abu-Dhabi which was the nearby city. They said they knew a really good authentic Indian restaurant and we of course love to eat! It was a nice city. Not as commercial as Dubai but still very beautiful. First they took us to a gold shopping mall which had sooo much gold and jewelry you would not believe. It was like being in a fortress. That could be the playground for any big chain baller! We walked around there for awhile then went to another mall across the street. As we walked we heard the nearby mosque making a call. It is absolutely prohibited to take pictures of mosques but everyone that heard the call (oddly it was mostly males on the street) turned to face the mosque. For anyone who doesn’t know, Muslims pray 7 times per day. That’s when I started to notice…where are the women? The few I saw were very traditional. THey walked completely covered from head to toe where all you could see was their eyes. THeir outfits mostly in black varied from plain black to black with gold sequence and black with lace. That was the extent of their fashion. It made me feel grateful that I don’t live in such a controlled environment. It made me grateful to have my freedoms as a women and thankfully I didn’t have to walk 30 paces behind a man. Of course I respect all religions and cultures but I was glad to live the way I wanted to live.

Looking around made everything feel so surreal…I was halfway across the world in Arabia! It was beautiful, amazing, mysterious….but made me feel a little homesick. I missed my mom, dad, friends, and loved ones. I knew I would be enjoying the last few days but I am looking forward to coming home.

We drove to Indian Palace which was a traditional and classy Indian restaurant. Alsmot immediately I was drawn to this vendor inside the restaurant that made bracelets as you watched. He would stretch the clay, burn it, shape it, add color, glitter, and then you would have a beautiful stylish bracelet. I couldn’t resist and bought three 🙂 Our dinner was soooo delicious and inexpensive. Everyone ordered something different and we all picked and shared. The spice reminded me of Mexican food…well, similar…but I am not a picky eater at all and enjoy trying new things all the time. Finally it was late and we had curfew by midnight. You don’t ever want to cut it that close because according to the Lt., you can be reprimanded harshly. We headed back through all the checkpoints at the base….one of them which requires a drug canine to search the vehicle for anything suspicious so this was definitely a process.

The next day we were supposed to fly out to our last stop – Bahrain! We took another miltary flight and like everything else this was a process. Thankfully we didn’t have to be up early but our “short half hour flight” turned into another wasteful day where we found ourselves doing the simplest and most silliest things to entertain ourselves. This had become a regular occurence and the boys were always up to something. I was looking for the internet but was unsuccessful 😦 We had to stop back in Qatar because the airfield in Bahrain was too full and they couldn’t take anymore flights PLUS our airplane was leaking oil. The guys assured us not to worry and once we stopped there would be some flight technicians that would be able to get this resolved. They made me feel more confident. Thankfully we don’t have a show til the next day so we’re okay with the schedule. It was now Tuesday and I knew in one week I would be back at work. I think I am abiout ready to get back 🙂 I do miss some of my coworkers and colleagues.

We finally landed in Bahrain and had to go through customs etc. Another long process. The long process can get so tiring. Bahrain was beautiful and reminded me a little of Mexico with their architecture. Mexico with Arabic signs! We arrived at our hotel and it was beautiful! This would be the first time we would all have our own rooms and they were so big and spacious I didn’t know what to do with myself and started to feel lonely without my roomy, Tanya! Just as I was going to her room she came to my door and said, “Dude can you believe these rooms!?? Kitchen, Bathroom, Room, Lounge, Balcony!?” We loved it but agreed we should be sharing so much space. However the price was so cheap, we didn’t mind at all.

It’s now wednesday and we would have a show with the Navy today on one of their ships. Out itinerary keeps changing but if it stays the same, I may not be able to blog til about saturday or sunday 😦 we are supposed to be on ships til the weekend. I will be taking a detailed account of everything that goes on and I will blog asap! We were told we may stay in the hotel one more night if the ships do not arrive and that is likely. The shows with the Navy have been unpredictable because  of the ships not landing on schedule. Thank you all for being patient and continuing to read. I still have lots more pictures to post and will do so as soon as time allows.

Lots of L.O.V.E and have a safe and Happy Halloween!

It’s been hard to get on these past few days because all of the computer stations  I’ve been to have blocked all the sites I needed to get on. Thanks for being patient. I have also added a few pictures in previous blogs…whatever time allows. It feels like I’m so limited to online access everywhere but I am in good health and spirits so please don’t worry 🙂

Friday evening will go down in my history book as one of the best days I’ve ever lived. The beach in Dubai was amazing. Just to be able to say that I’ve been to the beach in Dubai was a big deal to me. After the beach we headed back to the hotel to clean up a bit then we headed to the sunset safari. This was something we had been looking forward to since the trip began! We met  our driver “Sunil” who is originally from southern India. He reminded me of our good Rebel Crew friend named Wazulu. He produced the song on my album “Back to Bombay” which has a Banghara Hip Hop sound to it. Sunil drives a Toyota Landcruiser and lucky for us he turned out to be a pretty awesome stunt driver 🙂 Fareed hooked up a super rate for us to go to the safari – 200 dirhams which  converts to $55 American dollars. The money exchange has been a little confusing but in U.A.E. dirhams our dollar is 3.67 of theirs…yikes!

Sunil said we had some time to kill before the safari so he took us to the “Dragon Market” which was on the way to the safari. The Dragon Market was an enormous shopping place where vendors (mostly Asian) sold lots of knock-off designer stuff – watches, purses, clothing, bedding, sunglasses, and so much more! The knock-off’s actually looked real too! Some of the best I’ve ever seen. We spend half an hour there then Sunil rounded us up to get to the desert!

Half an hour later we were arrived at our destination! Sunil zipped through the desert like it was his home. We saw more vehicles there with the same “Planet Tours” signs on their SUV’s. There were about 15 SUV’s which would make this a sort of caravan safari. All of the drivers got out of their vehicles to take the pressure out of their tires. This made it easier to slip and slide through the sand and your tires would not get stuck on the dunes. We could not believe we were finally going to experience the desert! We got back in the Landcruiser and our joyride began. Sunil told us to buckle up. He had rollover bars and he said he had actually turned over once in the past. Wooo scary! He said he had been driving for 10-years so I wasn’t too concerned. We love an adventure! He had it on a local Dubai radio station that had a really good mix show of hip hop and dance music. This is the kind of selection none of the stations play back home so we were all getting into it! Sunil sped through sand dunes and slid his Landcruiser up and down the desert. We went up, down, around, back up again. It was so topsy turvy, I had knots in my stomach! But it was soooo fun! He had really good control of his ride too. You can tell he had been driving for a long time and he had gotten used to all the controls on the vehicle. There’s nothing like a good stunt driver! Our reactions were “Ahhhhh!” and we could not stop laughing and giggling the whole time from Sunil’s fun ride. He would speed up and slow down over a sand dune then he would pick up the speed as we went down. We saw a few SUV’s from the caravan get stuck at the top of the sand dunes! Too bad for them…designated vehicles would come to their aid while we kept rolling! This was definitely the highlight of our trip and we hadn’t even gotten to the half of the safari!

Our drive lasted for over an hour then he drove us to a tropical oasis looking location where there were little huts and camels! We would finally get our camel ride! We tried to take pictures with them at first and the flash must’ve alarmed them because one of them hopped on all fours and went chasing after Cruz who took the picture. We could not stop laughing! Jon Durbin and I were the first ones to hop on a camel  since it had to be two at a time. He laid on his belly so we could mount on his saddle then suddenly he picks his body up onto his legs. The shock made me do a high pitched squeal. You don’t realize how long their legs are until you’re actually sitting on one! My expression in the pictures is priceless! The camel took us in a big circle then brought us back. It was a lot like riding a tall horse but this ride was a little smoother and his “hump” didn’t make a difference. I had the same shock as he dropped on his belly so we could jump off. I will be sure to post hte pictures asap.

We headed inside the tropical area and drank some Arabic coffee which was sort of like bland tea. You’re supposed to eat a small sweet fruit with a seed when you sip the coffee and this adds just the right amount of sweetness with every sip. After that we smoked some apple flavored hooka then we headed to the sand skiiing. At first I didn’t think I could do it but then i saw little kids doing it and it looked sooo fun! It was hard to push off the slope but it turned out to be like skateboarding until I got to the bottom and flopped on my back. There’s nothing worse then wearing a halter-top and having sand get all the way down your backside! The next station we went to had the Arabic clothing where we all got dressed up. I put on a burka that covered me entirely except for my eyes. You could tell by my eyes I was not am authentic Muslim woman.

Finally we got to the dinner porition and we were so hungry! We ate some Arabic food that included salad, rice, beef/chicken kebabs, curry, goat and possibly camel! It was really good too! Last but not least we watched a really exotic belly dancer which made the boys enchanted 😉  Then it was time to go! The safari was a great treat that we all had been looking forward to.  It definitely made up for the last 2 weeks of hustle and bustle. The next day we had to be up early to get back to Al-Dahfra Air Force base to take a tour all day saturday then perform on sunday.  Check out my next blog for more details 🙂

Last night was another successful show. I truly feel so blessed to continue on with this experience. Thank you all so much for reading and commenting on what I’ve been writing. I have soooo many pictures too and video but itv takes forever to load up! Right now I only get to log on for an hour so I’d rather pain a picture with words than nothing at all.

We played for the NAVY last night at our hotel in the Starlight Club. It was a very swank, lo-key, intimate setting and I felt like they were into the show more than ever. I feel like the stage is my home and I am getting more comfortable with every show – as if I wasn’t comfortable before. Some nights are harder than others especially since I’ve been combatting this gunk is my system. I sat d0wn and talked to a few male and female sailors after the show. They were really sweet and outgoing. They love to tell about their stops and experiences. Two sailors I met one male, Pedro (I won’t forget cause that’s my dad and brother’s name) and Brenda were telling me about the safaris and swimming at the beach! I absolutely cannot wait. I really hope I get to ride a camel in the next few days. Today Fareed has promised to take us to the world’s 1st 7-star hotel. Pictures are promised.

It was nice to get compliments as well as criticisms on the show. Everyone loves the show but says my vocals are getting drowned out at times. SOund is such a tough issue because we’re visiting a new venue daily so it’s hard to adjust the levels everytime and the acoustics at every place is different. Not to mention sound check can run up to 2 hours trying to figure this out. I think more than any show, the NAVY were the most complimentary. We had another picture and autograph session then we ate a nice dinner compliments of USO. The sailors said that it was a nice change from the regular Russian/Phillipino dance girl group routine. They said in their own words, “the dancing is lame.” It became such a repetitive comment I just laughed. By the end of the show, one of the head guys came up to coin us again. It always feels like such an honor when they do this. Now I have 3 coins! I can’t wait to show them to you!

We have to check out of this lovely hotel now so I will send more updates soon! Lots of love to everyone!

We had another great show monday night which resulted in another 30-45 minute autograph and pictures session. I could really get used to this even though posing and smiling gets tiring, I know these people are returning the appreciation for what we do the same way we’re showing appreciation for what they do for us. Here’s Cruz’s joke, “stop givin them that fake smile girl” but I’m not tryin to be fake at all…holding a smile gets tiring but who wouldn’t rather be smiling?

BTW, the catch phrase of the entire trip is “Now that’s hip hop!” when something goes really good. If something goes wrong or not up to our standards we say, “That’s NOT Hip Hop!” It’s just a little silly phrase that keeps us going and makes us laugh if things are or panning out. Yesterday we headed to a new base on the military flight. Our POC – Kevin (who took everyone partying the night before to a club called “Oasis”) told us we had to be up at 3:30am :O We were completely spent and exhausted but all managed to get up because we were looking forward to our next stop – UAE (United Arab Emirates.) The next base we were going to is called Al-Dafra and it’s an Air Force Base. We had a day off from playing gigs so Cruz and I hit up the gym. Later on we all got together to play bingo. We called it an early night. The next day we got our stuff together again and were taken by our two POC’s to meet our tour guide,Fareed. The two POC’s we had at Al-Dafra were Latinas. Very lovely girls…one of them was from Guatemala and she had very beautiful eyes. She reminded me of my friend Karla at work also from Guatemala and has beautiful eyes. SHe turned out to be just as sweet as Karla. Right before we left the base to meet Fareed, I had to go back to the military doctor. My “bad allergies” had developed into a bronchial cough and it was starting to worry me a bit. This doctor gave me sudafed, mucinex, and an inhaler for my wheezing. Even though I don’t have asthma, he said this would be a good idea to dry out all the mucus in my lungs.

Finally, we’re off to meet Fareed who will be our guide through tonight’s show and Dubai. We are so excited about finally being able to get off base. It felt liberating! Within a matter of 2 hours we went through desert, a series of large developments, and mountains. It was beautiful and extremely surreal to enjoy such a bright, sunny day with foreign surroundings. We had not seen anything but military bases the entire trip! Fareed told us there would be many developments in the desert…from the largest Disneyland in the world to underwater hotels and restaurants. UAE was surely to become the largest most tourist friendly city in the entire world. THey were building a massive sports colliseum where the Olympics would be held in the near future and there is also an Autobahn style racetrack. The rest of the developments would take place within the next 5 years! All this on the way to our 5-star hotel where we will be playing tonight. Coincidentally, it’s called Starlight just like our label 🙂

We made a stop on the way over  and it was a gas station that had a domino’s, baskin robbins, and POPEYES! Now, anyone who knows me knows I loooove Popeyes and even though I knew it wasn’t going to be the same, I HAD TO try it. It wasn’t bad at all and even though there was no bbq or honey mustard, the buttermilk sauce was pretty good. The only thing that tasted close to anything back home was the biscuit. We got back in the van and Fareed was zippin in and out of cars spewing obscenities to anyone he had to….I like this guy! He was actually super cool. Originally from Pakistan, he has lived in UAE for 19 years and works for USO – Navy branch. He says he *loves* his job – driving and escorting bands around. We pull up to our hotel and it’s really elegant. We check-in and make our way to the venue which is in the hotel. We get to play for the “sea-men” tonight! As soon as we walk into this upscale lounge club, we see why it’s called “Starlight”. There are twinkles of light all over the top portions of the walls and as soon as we look towards the stage we all “Wow-ed!” Right there on the velvet curtain it read, “Welcome Rebel Crew Band”! How’s that for a nice welcome!? We are super stoked about the show tonight! Actually at 5pm so I have to get going…

Finally our tour load is starting to lighten up. We are about half-way through our tour now and even though it’s SUPER HARD WORK and I’m starting to get a little homesick, I don’t want this adventure to end!

So it’s been a few days but let me tell ya…it was * really* hard gettin out of Afghanistan! Thank goodness the great Cheif Lateste hung out with us that entire day. He really brought some good vibes and enlightening to our trip. We were in Kaia airport the whole day just waiting for our flight to take us to Qatar. That seemed like it would never happen. We were all ready to leave Afghanistan at that point with the worst of our allergies, sinus, and sniffles. Outside the airport it looked like the desert was blowin around. That worried me because if there was “low-visibility” the plane wouldn’t take off and that’s why we had such a delay. Finally we had to say goodbye to our dear friend Cheif Lateste. That was hard. He had been such  bright spot on our trip. We offered to bring him on as our mascot but he declined. At least now we have a good friend in Belgium 🙂 We walked outside and got caught in the sandstorm…WHY on earth are they trying to get us on this plane right now? They drove us to the plane and the wind was so harsh and cold then we ran in the plane and waited for the low-visibility to ease up so we could take off. We finally arrived in Qatar at 10:30pm. Now only 8hrs ahead of Central time wooo hoooo!

As soon as we landed in Qatar and took the first few steps off the plane I started to feel better. Even though it was still desert, it wasn’t nearly as bad as Afghanistan. My sinus pressure felt better and my eyes didn’t burn. Thank God for relief! And guess what!? It was actually WARM! It felt like Texas weather….yaay! We went through customs and waited for our next POC (point of contact.) A few minutes later a pretty smiling face walks through the door. She introduced herself as “Serria” our POC for Camp Al-Uedid (pronounced Al-yoo-deed.) We finished going through customs and told Serria we were all starved. Our last meal had been several hours before when Cheif Lateste bought us pizzas. She said we were just in time for the “Midnight Chow”. First she took us through a sandwich-snack line. The military does not hesitate to feed their men. We all got 2 cibatta sandwiches, 2 drinks, 2 chips, and 2 snacks. That was food to store to our fridge when we got into our accomodations. We went to midnight chow and ate like royalty then Serria gave us a tour of the camp and took us to our bunks. Our bunks were extremely cold. The a/c unit was not one that we could turn off or turn down because it was a unit that was outside and had HUGE airducts coming in. We had extra linens and made ourselves a cubby hole. It was still really cold.

The next day I tried to blog but all of the sites I wanted to access were blocked. This is a huge base so to try to get anywhere is a half a mile walk. Talk about gettin your workout. I’m obsessed with blogging now and got kind of bummed I couldn’t do it. Instead we all put on our bathingsuits and went to the pool. It was our first base that actually had a pool so we could go swimming and get some rays. The weather was so warm and nice. It seemed like most of the camp was out there. Al-Udeid had about 8,000-12,000 people between soldiers and civilian workers. There was probably about 200 people at the pool…athletic, muscular, hard-body soldiers! Hey, a girl can admire!

After that we went to the DFAC (chow hall), got some food, then headed to soundcheck. The stage where we were performing was HUGE. It reminded me a little of Woodlands Pavilian in Houston. Since this was a recreational base for soldiers we were allowed to have 3 drinks. The performance setup was really nice and probably the biggest stage we had thus far. We were all really excited about it.

Showtime was at 8pm. Soulfree was already out there Djing some R&B and ol’skool. They seemed like a really chill crowd the whole time but at the end of the show we had a long line for cd’s and autographs. Sort of surprised me because reading the crowd from the stage I didn’t think they were really into it. I didn’t think I did my best singing either. I was starting to get all that congestion out and it was ugly so I was straining to produce a nice sound or even stay on-key. I didn’t like the way I sounded but then again I am my biggest critic.

After the show while everyone was trying to max out on their limit of drinks, we met a few soldiers that had been injured and they told us their stories. Two guys both named Nathan – one was a Marine and one was in the Army had been “blown up”. Their stories were so amazing. They truly were lucky they even survived especially with all their limbs. They were both in good spirits and still found humor in their situations. They are to remain at Al-Udeid until they are both well enough to return. Not a bad spot to be either – this camp had a bar, media center, activity center, theatre, Dairy Queen, Pizza Hut, pool…one of the nicest ones I’d been to. It was nice to hang out with some of the soldiers after the show and hear their stories. We loved hearing them as much as they enjoyed sharing them.

Today we’re at a new base…Camp Al-Salliyah and we’re in the middle of soundcheck. We go on in about an hour and a half so I need to go get ready! I’ll fill you guys in on more later!