Sunday, October 08, 2006


Sunday 10/8/06


Well, close enough. This morning I got enough packing done to know that everything will fit in. I concentrated on the uniforms and soft stuff, since I did the field gear yesterday. One key decision was to leave all my civilian clothing behind. Even though they said I could take it, it felt kind of strange to be packing it when I know that it’s not authorized in Iraq and Afghanistan where the real war is. And when space became a consideration, that clinched it. I’ll send it all home and have it sent to me later if it turns out that I want it.

I replaced all my wool/nylon blend boot socks with the new 82% cotton knee-high boot socks. They issued us four pair of these, and after wearing them for two days I went and bought six more pair at clothing sales. It goes against my backpacking experience to wear such a high proportion of cotton on my feet, but they issued these for the desert and that’s where I’m going. The major benefit is that they extend above the boot tops and allow moisture to evaporate. I’m wearing the polypro liner socks I got at REI underneath them, so my feet are dry and friction-free. I stuck six pair of the wool blend socks into my cold-weather boots before I packed them. I figure if I need those boots, I’ll want the wool socks, and if for some reason the new ones start to bother me, I’ll have the old standby to fall back on.

So two duffel bags are completely packed and closed, and the one I have left is for odd-shaped stuff. It has my ALICE pack with frame, insect netting and poles, cold weather fleece jacket and pants (bulky), my two extra pair of boots (HW and CW), and enough room left over for the ash and trash that’s still floating around the room. I think tomorrow I will try to re-pack the footlocker to reduce the weight. Coming here it weighed 78 lb., 8 lb. over the limit, so I had to pay an extra charge. I don’t know if they will allow that option on an international flight, and I don’t want to pay it anyway. So I’ll try to find some dense heavy stuff I can take out and put in the remaining duffel bag.

I changed the title of yesterday’s second entry to “No More Panera Bread”, as I decided that “Please Boycott Panera Bread” sounded a little overwrought. But I was ticked off when I wrote it, and still am. I walked two miles and spent $3.50 and an hour on the train to get to their place to eat, drink, and use the internet, only to be blocked from the sites I wanted to use. So today I am at a Starbucks paying for access, and this is where I’ll come for internet access until I leave.

I was thinking on the way home last night that I am really sick of having to search for wi-fi hotspots to get on the internet. There must be a better way. I think I’ll look into the other wireless options that are emerging. I know that Sprint has a wireless card you can put into your PC that will get you high-speed access anywhere in their network, and I believe Verizon has something similar.

I have no idea if any of them will work in Kuwait, but if I can find some reliable, secure way to have my own internet connection I will do so. All this walking around and sitting in restaurants and coffee shops has really made me realize how nice it is to have a connection right where I am, when I want it. And if I’m going to finish CGSC/ILE while I’m over there, I have *got* to have a reliable, convenient connection.

For the rest of today I am going to sit here recording music and reading. I may even watch a movie or something.


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