Going to War First Class
I was one of about 40 soldiers that got to sit up in First Class, and I curled up with "Dr. No" by Ian Fleming for the takeoff. Ten minutes into the flight, while reflecting that "Dr. No" was one seriously disturbed individual, I fell asleep and did not wake up for 8 hours, until the wheels touching down in Amsterdam for our layover. We deplaned at Amsterdam International and sat for half an hour in an enclosed terminal. Many of the soldiers enjoyed the novelty of being able to smoke indoors, and we were quietly guarded by Dutch police with submachine guns. The Dutch were quite polite, and they offered us pastries that we wolfed down.
We touched down in Kuwait at 3:30 am local time, and boarded buses, where we were instructed to keep the curtains closed to prevent people from seeing us on the bus. I attempted to speak my pidgeon arabic to the driver, but it turned out that he is a Seikh from India, whose brother drives a Taxi in NYC. It turns out, that most of the workers and laborers here are either from India or Pakistan. We received bottles of water, and it was quite sobering when two soldiers on each bus recieved live ammunition. This was to defend the bus in the event that we were attacked on the trip from the airport to our present location.
By 8:30 in the morning, it was already 90 degrees. By 12:00 it was 120 degrees. Imagine putting your face into a lit oven, turning a powerful hairdryer on your face, and throwing sand in your eyes. If you can picture such a thing, this is what it is like in Kuwait. The sun rises at 4:30 am, and turns into a big ball of fire in the sky. When the wind blows, there is no relief from the heat, because the wind blowing turns the sky into a sandstorm. Why anyone would want to live in such a place is beyond me.