Sunday, March 18, 2012

Training week in Mahboula, Kuwait

The ABC Towers in Mahboula, Kuwait
When we last spoke, I had just arrived in Kuwait, and we had experienced the wonders of Ali Al Salem. Well, my contractor, ITT/Exelis, has procured apartments in a downtown area in Kuwait City known as Mahboula. So, we are shuttled in a nicer bus (still with curtains drawn) to these apartments, not knowing what to expect. There were 19 of us, all of differing ages, experience levels and job statuses. We arrive at the buildings, and WHOA! There, we find two 18-story towers, with glistening marble floors and all the trimmings. We would be housed on the 2nd and 3rd floors, with our group split mostly in half.

The strip mall in front of the towers

McDonald's, with a Play Place!

Hardee's and Baskin Robbins
The apartments were 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, with plenty of furniture for everyone. The biggest drawback were the bunk beds in each room. The apartment was made to sleep 18, but we were lucky to get by with only 10. So, we each claimed our bunk, then set out to explore. Across the street, there was a strip mall, which housed a McDonald's, a Hardee's, a Baskin Robbins, a Starbucks, and several other American cuisines. We also had a Domino's Pizza next door, as well as a Buffalo Wild Wings directly in front of our building. Down the street, there was Taco Bell, Burger King, TGI Friday's, Chili's and a host of other American delights too numerous to name! It was like I never left home!

Talk about a motley crew!
Every day, we would wake up very early, do our morning routines, and be on a bus by 6:30, headed across town to our training center, which was actually a 3-story home in a residential part of Kuwait City. We would be downstairs, taking tests and filling out the necessary forms to ensure that we could not only stay in Kuwait legally, but work for the US Army legally, as well. Lunches were fish and chicken every day, but in different forms. It was a very deliberate process that concluded on time--surprising, considering we were a day late because of the airplane incident. Our last day in class would be Friday morning, and we would conclude just after lunch, at which time we were divvied up to be shipped to our respective final destination, be it Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar or Kuwait. Some were on their first tour, but several were on their 2nd, 3rd or even 4th tour. Most were headed to Afghanistan, some were off to Iraq, and a handful were headed to Kuwait. All in all, not a bad bunch of guys.

Outside our window at 9:00am
Outside our window at 12:00 noon
Our departure from the villa was delayed by two days due to--you want to guess?--a dust storm. This one blew in so fast that we weren't even able to make adjustments. We woke up to crystal blue skies, but within just a few short hours, visibility was down to nearly zero. It lasted for a day and a half, but we had to get out on Sunday, because the next group was going to be there within just a few minutes. So we made our exit, passing the next incoming group on our way out of the parking lot. What an adventure!

Now, it's off to Camp Buehring...a very remote post located just eight miles south of the Iraq border. It's not close to anything, and it is completely cut off from the outside world. There are no trees, no grass, no bushes...basically, it's just a camp in the middle of hell. More on that in my next posting. Until next time...

1 comment:

Kerry said...

I also lived in Mahboula, Kuwait for a short stint at The American Baccalaureate School in Khaitan. I've kept some mementos from Kuwait; I have this pretty purple dress that says "Made in Kuwait" on the inside tag and a soft camel figurine purchased from the "Friday Market" in Rai, Kuwait. For my duration abroad the camel was displayed on an end table along with a green lamp with a black butterfly shade in my apartment's living room. Now they're both safely tucked away in a storage bin so won't get dusty. However, I miss my friends more than anything!