So Qatar was pretty fun minus the missing the wife part. Chilled by the pool a couple times, had a 22 dollar "top sirloin" at Chili's. Yes you read right. 22 dollars. but it melted in my mouth so at that point in the faux-vacation it was amazing. They limit us to 3 beers a day which we can drink from 6-midnight in certain locations. They don't serve alcohol at this Chili's of course because its inside the pool area walls, literally 15 feet from the pool water, so that would be too fun. Forgive me for my sarcasm. Fosters was the best choice.
I did get the opportunity to get a 1 hour massage in a little room with a big sign that said something about no soliciting extra massages. Me so horny. Funny because all the gals in the spa (and all the other laborers on base) were Philipino. Seems like half of Qatar is Phllipino/Indian. They're like the new working class there. At the mall I sometimes forgot I was in the middle east. Back to the base and the spa, I got a pedicure which was nice except the part where the lady took a huge chunk out of my heel with that razor blade thing they use to shave dead skin off your feet. Bled all over the place. They still charged me for it and she didn't even finish my heel, so thats still dry and cracked. Got a facial (shush) only because they massage your face too. You guys have to remember I'm a cuddly guy who hasn't had a hug in 3 months. This is bullshit. I even got a manicure. It was all relaxing. I didn't even let the blood screw up my relaxation. By the way, this was the day BEFORE I swam in the ocean. F'n pedicure.
They usually offer about 8 tours in the area like deep sea fishing, golfing, chillin on a boat in the Persian Gulf, tours of the city, etc. However, its Ramadan going on right now.
Ramadan is about a month long deal with Muslims where they abstain from food, water, smoking, sex, PDA, stuff like that during daylight hours. They do this to purify the soul, realign their spirit with Allah, etc. All they do is sleep part of the day and so all this other stuff all night, so whatever. My Iraqi friends wonder why they do it too.
Back to the story:
What this meant to me is that the military is trying to hide us from the locals during this holiest of holy months (their feelings are more delicate I guess), so no tours except going to the mall and the tour you see me in pictures of above. Remote beach with no locals. It also meant I had to buy a long sleeve shirt to add to the jeans and shoes I had to wear to totally cover my body. Another Ramadan "thing." However, how many Catholics don't eat meat on friday during lent? Same with Ramadan, so we're like the only ones wearing long sleeve shirts in the fucking desert in September. After all, our group of military hair-cut tennis shoe wearing white guys were trying to "blend in" so they didn't think we were soldiers.
Traveling with the military isn't like traveling commercial. In the military, you fly when its convenient for them
. Created some amazing experiences though, like stumbling tired into a tent in the middle of the night full of nothing but folding chairs (comfy) Tinselworm
on the big screen (youtube it), and what looked like a bloodstains from a body that had been dragged across the floor. Earily quiet yet the TV was blaring this loud British accent. Attempting to take all this in made me wonder if I'd eaten the wrong (right?) mushrooms. Got to sleep on a concrete floor, fly in an empty C-130 (like driving an empty 1 ton pickup on gravel), and get my Gerber confiscated by the Qatarians. Super.
It was nice to decompress, however, and wear civilian clothes for a week. There were no flights out of Qatar going back to Basrah for a while so I got "stuck" in Qatar 2 extra days. Thats 6 extra beers. I didn't even notice I was decompressed until I landed in Basrah and felt my shoulders tighten up. Weird. The Army's a trip.