June 14, 2004

outta dodge

Safe arrival in Amman, went to the Dead Sea today, going to go hang out with the gang tonight (there are about a half dozen of us here from the same project), and then hop a 3am fligth to Frankfurt.

The ride to BIAP was (in)tense. We took a private car, like on the way in, and not one of the big armored buses I had been seeing around. The PSD's told us not to talk to them once we started moving. We were in a really big American SUV that was armored to the moon and got a long briefing before we left on what to do in situations like "there is someone outside with a gun who wants you to get out of the car" etc.

Anyway, I had picked up a hunk of marble from Saddam's Secret Bunker (see previous blog) that was heading for the landfill. The tour guys told me that if I didn't take it that it would end up as trash, they said I'd have no problem getting it home too. So I lugged this crazy thing around the Green Zone, cleaned it up, found a box, etc. and tried to ship it via APO (the military mail system to which we have access), which involves a few hundred meters of lugging this thing in itself. Well, the APO won't ship "sand, rocks, or bricks" and I guess this was a rock. So I decided to pay through the nose to check it on the airlines. All the locals thought I was insane "why you want this? It is junk. There is stuff like this everywhere. Nobody want this." I told them I thought it would look great on my mantel. They still think I'm crazy for lugging this thing around in the heat.

...It got confiscated at the airport. They took my rock. I'm still bitter. They took another guy's deoderant. They're apparently making up rules as they go along. Whatever. Have fun with the rock. I think they're going to use it as a door stop. Grumble.

Anyway, it's good to be someplace where stuff doesn't blow up. Though I admit to feeling a little agoraphobic walking around outside w/o body armor or a security detail. I assume this feeling will wear off soon.

Posted by rick at June 14, 2004 08:17 AM