10.29.07 – The hospitality and L.O.V.E. at Al Dahfra!

31Oct07

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!

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6 Responses to “10.29.07 – The hospitality and L.O.V.E. at Al Dahfra!”

  1. 1 Lynne

    Hi Karina,
    My mom side was kicking in….I was getting worried that you had not written in a few days. Sounds like you are having a great time…We miss you….Be safe.
    Lynne

  2. 2 Rete

    It’s so good to hear you are getting better, happy and being well fed! I fright not reading from you, (under the circumstances). ‘ Miss you, can’t wait to hug you!

    B.W.L.,
    Rete & Kinders

  3. 3 annette musick

    so awesome to be keeping up with all of you. It’s like I’m there with you. thanks for writing. It’s lovely to read it. 🙂

  4. 4 annette musick

    oh and Happy Halloween!!!!

  5. Hey K!!!!

    Reading your blogs make me want my own similar adventure. You write so well it’s awesome fun to read – most of the time I’m smiling while reading. As for the pics it’s kinda funny to see your little face poking out from under a big military helmet and kevlar. Glad you have it though. Looking forward to reading about your adventures at sea. Have fun!

    B

  6. 6 Ryan

    aww booboo hope that eye is getting better! Don’t want you givin me pink-eye when you get back 😉 jk. Miss you lots babe! Man that safari sounded hella dope too! I can feel the excitement from you about your ride through the dunes. Keep rockin over there supastar!


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