The temperature has been surprisingly pleasant in Baghdad. It still gets hot during the day, but the highs are in the low 100s rather than the mid-100s. The mornings are the best time because the weather is cool and breezy. The only problem is that the breeze stirs up the dust and causes it to linger in the air. Since I’ve been in Iraq, I’ve already inhaled and ingested more sand than I believe is healthy. People who suffer from asthma or other respiratory problems must have a hard time in this area of the world.
The other day, I saw some Marines on their morning run. One of them was covered in sand and I thought that he must have fallen down. I quickly realized that he had not fallen down, but that the sand in the air was sticking to his sweat soaked body.
On the security front, things have been a bit dicey. As expected, car bombs and other attacks have increased during Ramadan as insurgents try to chip away at recent security gains that have driven violence to its lowest level in more than four years. On Sunday, September 28, two car bombs killed 13 people and wounded 37. In addition, there seems to be much turmoil as the Iraqi politicians work to make laws and establish their political process.
All of this confusion has made me really miss my family. Because of the time difference and the long hours that I work, I have not been able to talk to them as much as I would like to. My plans to use Skype and a webcam to stay in touch were nixed when I found out that I wouldn’t be able to bring my personal laptop with me.
Even worse, I’ve missed two of my son, N’s, soccer games. My wife, K, told me that he was quite the superstar in his last match. He defended several shots at goal and led his team down the field on scoring drives. K felt bad that the other dads were on the sidelines cheering their sons on while, N, only had a mommy cheering section. I felt more terrible than she did. I made these grandiose plans to never miss a game or a practice. What a difference 8,000 miles makes.
To add insult to injury, I have gained 3 pounds since I’ve been here. While the “chow” is not great, it is plentiful and the catering contractor is quite creative at making new entrees out of leftover items.
I’ve got to get home soon.