In the morning we went to Kani Masi to escort an earth mover to C Company. The earthmover itself is a compact little gem, made in Germany, that has every conceivable excavation tool built in. It really was a marvel of engineering. The only problem was it was front-heavy, and several times along the way it hut a bump and the rear wheels left the ground entirely.
After visiting C Company, we washed up at the bath point, then went over the mountains to Sirsenk. The pass on the south side of the mountains is just wide enough for the road and was probably barely wide enough to walk through before it was blasted wider. Most of the people Lt. Howells wanted to meet in Sirsenk were gone, but we did check out the supply yard, where the people in charge seemed quite competent. Then we ate at the mess hall, my first mess hall meal in a week.
Sirsenk International Airport is a huge complex designed to serve Saddam's Winter Palace. It seems purposely located to displace the Kurds, since the ground requires a lot of cutting and filling and there appear to be a lot of places in the valley better suited for an airport.
In the evening I spent a lot of time in a futile effort to get Haney's Coleman stove running. He tried, too, and we finally gave up and got a British hexamine stove to replace it.
We went to camp to check on the current move-out status and get mail, then went into Silopi. We picked up a few items in town, then went to the base. Haney had his foot checked. The mess hall had the sorriest excuse for a lunch I ever saw: soup, bread, and sardines. Corrigan suspects the French are running the mess hall this week; they eat lightly at lunch. The PX involved a long wait for bare shelves, but the Turkish PX next door was different. I found a nice chess board to replace my old Turkish chess board that was ruined in the flood last year. On the way back we stopped at the border post and I called Shawn. We stopped at camp again; I wanted to ask about clothing for one of the British companies to hand out, but it turned out most of ours had been given out by now. We got back to the Briish camp about 1500.
I went for a walk in the fields and encountered a huge land tortoise about a foot long. The area is crawling with little lizards, impossible to catch, and the stream is full of tadpoles. Corrigan tells me she has seen crabs in the streams (not crayfish but real crabs). I have found a few claws but have not seen any crabs myself. There are lots of squirrels about, more like red than gray squirrels. They're brown and small. There is also a gorgeous bird I have seen both here and in the Gulf. It has a gold back, turquoise breast and dull greenish wings. I found a dead one at Khobar. Nobody can tell me its name, not even the Kurds. (After getting back I looked it up; it's a common or European roller.)
On the way back from my walk I spotted a wall buried in the opposite stream bank. A closer look turned up some pottery shards. Kuyper and the Three Amigos have been calling me Indiana Jones for so long this had to happen. I showed it to Haney; in the morning we'll survey it and report it.
Created January 10, 2000; Last Update 14 December 2009
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