Saturday, June 21, 2008

Blogging From Dubai

Let me begin by thanking everyone who wished me good luck and safe travels, or who otherwise commented on my last post. Needless-to-say, I was the proverbial one-legged man in the ass-kicking contest the last week or so before I departed home. Surprisingly, I accomplished all my labor-intensive goals, but fell a little short on the paperwork things I was trying to accomplish. Luckily in the computer age we can continue to do such things wherever we go as long as we have laptops and Internet. Or perhaps that is unlucky.

Today, 21 June 2008, finds me in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Current temperature is 102 degrees with a forecast of dust. Yes, dust. If not for said dust, it would be a bright sunny day and perhaps a tad hotter. The hotel I’m in normally has a clear view of the Persian Gulf a quarter mile away, but today visibility is only about two hundred meters.

We arrived at about 22:15 (10:15 PM for all you civilians, or those who do not travel abroad frequently). By the time we got out of the airport it was almost 01:00 (1:00 AM). They put us up in the Chelsea Hotel in Dubai, a four star hotel with five nightclubs and four restaurants. All of which are hopping 24 hours a day. Luckily the hotel is built well enough that the rooms are soundproofed. In fact, upon entering the hotel lobby one would never guess that there were nightclubs surrounding the lobby unless someone opened a door to one of them.

My main interests upon getting to my room, however, were setting up my Internet connection, calling my wife, taking a shower, and going to sleep. Internet connection had to be first since the connection enabled me to call the wife free. I had called her at the airport, but with international roaming running $2.99 a minute in Dubai, outgoing calls can get a bit expensive fairly quickly. Ten minutes of talking on my cell phone equals 24 hours of Internet service in my hotel room. It’s a no-brainer.

I finally got out of bed at 12:30. I’ve spent the time repacking and getting ready for tomorrow’s flight into Kabul and reviewing the latest intelligence and security notes. We fly out to Kabul around 08:00 Sunday morning, but leave for the airport at 05:00, so it will be an early night to bed tonight. At least tomorrow’s flight is a short one, only an hour and a half. I have about four days of “processing” and briefings before I get to work. Hopefully I’ll get a quick post in tomorrow after getting settled in the safe house.