Today we attempted to go to the old clinic to discuss some issues with the staff but we were unexpectedly sidetracked by security issues. We ended up spending the day over at Camp Eggers. Camp Eggers is another base in downtown Kabul. I was able to catch up with the people that I trained with at Fort Riley. When we first flew into Kabul the entire team stayed at Camp Phoenix for about 3 weeks and then the majority of the group broke off and went to Eggers because they were ready to start working and our clinic was not going to open for a few months.
There is a very interesting phenomenon in Afghanistan. People that visit from other FOBs (forward operating bases) always seem to point out only the good things about their FOBs and they always like to pick out things that they do not like about your FOB. They are like FOB snobs. Someone will visit and say, "Oh, my FOB has trees. I don't like Camp Phoenix because it is too dusty and there are no trees." Never mind the fact that they get rocketed on a regular basis and that you sleep in a tent, you still prefer your FOB because it has trees? I am exaggerating but you get the point. I think when people are forced into a bad situation you tend to point out all of the positives things to make yourself feel better about your situation. The weird thing is that you find yourself getting defensive over your FOB and you find yourself competing over who has the better FOB. It is all kind of silly. So the point of all of this is that the people over at Eggers do not want to leave Eggers and the people over at Phoenix do not want to leave Phoenix. We both think that our places are better then the other. Unfortunately, there is always talk of moving us to be with the rest of the team but we fortunatley have been able to stay put.
Another form of FOB snobbery is the whole going outside of the wire thing. Going outside of the wire is leaving the base. Some people do not have to leave the base because they have a job does not require it. Even so, there is still a subtle snobbery about this. There is even a name for people who do not leave the base, they are called Fobbits. The majority of the time you do not have a choice whether or not you go outside of the wire since it is dictated by your job. One last form of snobbery that I noticed recently is poker playing snobbery. It is starting to get so bad that I decided not to play last week. Here is an example, if you beat someone that has a strait on the flop when you get your straight on the river, they get mad at you because you got lucky with your river card and they deserve to win becasue they were dealt their good hand. Sorry for those of you that did not understand that. Start paying attention to the different forms of snobbery that is out there. It is really funny when you discover it.It was nice to catch up with my friend Puffy. We became pretty good friends over at Fort Riley. He is a really good guy. In the morning we hung out in the Eggers coffee shop. Puffy told us about all of the new things that he bought from the bazaar. He bought 2 metal giraffes, a wooden box, marble tea set, and a burka. He told me that he ran out of money when he was trying to buy the marble tea set so he had to resort to bartering. He ended up trading a pair of tennis shoes for the tea set. He still does not know how he plans to get everything back home.
Here is Puffy with some of his proud purchases.
By the way, did you realize that I have had over 500 hits to this site? I heard somewhere that the average blog was read by only one other person. Not bad.
Thanks for reading.