Another Friday night at Kandahar Airfield. Woot! Time to sit in front of my computer and reminisce about all the good times of the past week.
Mysteries of the Orient
I really wish I wasn’t so damn lazy so I’d be willing to walk somewhere other than the Far East for dinner. I’m really getting kind of sick of stir fry although the rice stir fries are reliably soy saucy good once you put soy sauce on ’em…the noodle stir fries, not so much. I’m pretty disappointed that there hasn’t been any sweet chili sauce available for a while. Lynn, at our head office back in Canada, was kind enough to send us two giant jars (probably just to stop my whinging) but I really can’t be lugging half-gallon jugs of the stuff into the DFAC every night.
On Wednesday, I had the roast chicken (and stir fry). Despite following the rules, it was incredibly dry. There was a piece that looked suspiciously like chicken ass but turned out to just be a particularly thoroughly dried out hunk of meat and skin. It was even drier than the rotisserie chicken I had eaten for lunch at the Northline….note: the Northline rotisserie chicken is usually a pretty good bet but it wasn’t on this day. I whinged about dry chicken being the best thing on the menu twice in one day and J commented that he’s eaten so much chicken this roto that “even on the days I didn’t have chicken, I had chicken“.Oddly, this made sense to me at the time.
For dessert, I had something called a “Bakewell Tart”. It’s basically a somewhat dry pastry with gooey pink stuff in the middle. It’s worth a try if you can’t get a profiterole. The intended flavour of this filling remains a mystery but it was alright. It was baked pretty well too so I suppose the name makes sense but it kinda makes me wonder why, if they’re going to be so literal in their naming conventions, they don’t have “DriedOut Cake” or “RandomlyThrownTogetherStuffWeFoundInTheFridge Salad” on their signage as well.
On Thursday, I had the “Lamb Something or other” on rice. Despite having to spit the first forkful into a napkin due to its very high gristle:edible bits ratio, it was nicely spicy and ok overall. I opted not to go for the Iced Diet Coke. I love Diet Coke. I also love iced drinks despite my susceptibility to ice cream headaches. Unfortunately, the Far East dudes seem to have kinda missed a few details. Yes, to make an iced anything, you need to put it in the iced drink device and turn on the agitator to prevent it from forming a solid block of ice…so far so good. You must also, however, turn on whatever switch makes the device get cold. Otherwise, you just end up with well stirred, flat, room temperature Diet Coke. I saw some lateral progression on this front today in that the Iced Coke machine was very cold. However, the agitator was not on resulting in the aforementioned solid block of cola flavoured ice. Maybe tomorrow they’ll have put all these steps together. I fucking doubt it though.
D had the “Vanilla Mousse” for dessert. “How is it?” I asked. “I can’t decide” he said less than enthusiastically. He did, however, break out into a little grin when he announced “I got two spoons in my utensil packet!”. The grin quickly faded along with the joy in his voice as he realized “Fuck, getting two spoons is the best thing that’s happened all day…” Gotta take the small victories, D. A then started to regale us with tales of an impending vanilla ice cream shortage for which the world is bracing. Sure, I don’t give a shit about the vanilla ice cream supply but I was pleased that a) he wasn’t full of shit and b) he wasn’t talking about mud on the concrete or roundabout standards.
A, J and I found ourselves at the Far East again tonight. I took a walk on the wild side and got the “Ginger Fish” and, at J’s suggestion, the “Beef Kheema”. The fish was a slimy, mushy mess with nary a hint of ginger…at least no ginger that could overcome the overwhelmingly fishy smell. Sure, I know, fish should smell like fish…but this wasn’t the “Ohh, doesn’t that smell tasty” fish smell of a trout freshly grilled in butter over an open fire. It was more like a “Welcome to Troms” kinda thing. Two nibbles were enough for me. It was obvious to me that the cook hadn’t drained any of the grease from the ground beef used in the “Kheema” and this, coupled with the over-enthusiastic application of anise, made it less than ideal but it was a hell of a lot better than the fish.
There were, however, bananas at the salad bar. That’s why you see no veggies on my plate…I wasn’t going to wait in the huge banana line just to get a couple of tomatoes and tasteless cucumbers. A had grabbed two bananas so I, of course, referred to him as “Pigboy” throughout dinner. I know, right? He deserved it but I’m ashamed to say I didn’t have the guts to call out the two armed US Army dudes who had five each. I feel much braver now that I am sitting anonymously at my keyboard so, Army dudes, you are piggy banana hogs but you’ll get your comeuppance. Ha! Seriously, five each? What the fuck?
A also got the “Three Bean Salad” from the salad bar. He said it was pretty good but that counted for nothing in my book once he pointed out that there were actually 4 types of beans in it; lima, broad, green and yellow. Fuck that pisses me off. Some may say I’m being unreasonable but they’d be wrong. Three does not equal four…never has, never will. A was almost equally put out by the US Army guy that picked out several of only one kind of bean from the salad and put it on his plate as the line piled up behind him. If he’d been picking one bean out to discard so it would be a three bean salad and not some mislabeled four bean monstrosity, then I’d have his back…but to turn a four bean salad which is labeled three bean salad into a one bean salad is mathematical blasphemy. I have to move on from this paragraph…I’m getting too upset.
Our dinner conversation was more highbrow than usual today…even if the food wasn’t. As I expounded on the tough job I have as an unpaid interwebz journalist, J asked “Hey, what about that phone hacking scandal in the UK? You think that was ok?
“I think if it serves that greater good than it is ok”.
“I think it’s an invasion of privacy”.
“What if you knew someone was torturing children in a basement and the police wouldn’t believe you and the only way you could prove it was to hack their phone?”
“I’d go kick their fucking door in and take care of it myself” (J’s ex-special forces so kicking doors in is one of his fortes…that and being inane.)
“What if you’re bedridden”
“I’d call some friends and have them kick the door in”
“What if you have no friends, you’re bedridden but you’re a genius hacker…what would you do?”
“I’d call Angelina Jolie.”
I’m not sure we settled this troubling moral dilemma but at least we weren’t talking about poop.
Let’s Do Lunch
On Thursday, taking advantage of a slow work day, A, L and I went to Independence Hall for lunch. I can’t say I was overly impressed with the main course offerings and, consequently, I opted for a baloney sandwich. I also got some “Baked Sweet Potato” but this wasn’t the regular old baked sweet potato. It seemed to be have been par-boiled, mashed, then shaped into little balls and baked. They were KAF-good…crispy outside, soft inside. And they had “Lime Jello”. Yay! Lime Jello is the best flavour of Jello because it tastes like Lime Kool-Aid which is the best flavour of Kool-Aid. If only real limes could taste as good as these staples of American cuisine. While we’re all in agreeance about fake lime flavour being better than real lime flavour, I just wanna ax you one question: Have you ever had a bag of jelly beans in which the green ones are mint flavoured rather than lime flavoured? Damn, I hate that. Mint just fucks up an otherwise great handful of red (cherry), yellow, (lemon) and purple (grape) fruity goodness. Yes, I know the black ones (licorice) do not complement the fruit flavours either but everyone bloody well knows that and eats them separately. Everyone that is, except the Brits apparently. L, our token Brit, told me she had never heard of licorice flavoured jelly beans and in Britain the black ones were elderberry or sloe or cumquat or some other fruit no one except Brits ever eat. I take my Jelly Beans seriously.
Water Ya Mean?
We drink a lot of water around here. It’s a very dry climate and easy to get dehydrated. During pre-deployment training we’re warned of the dire effects of dehydration and there are signs up around the base showing you what colour one’s urine should be. It’s a glamourous life we lead. After more than 3 years here, I finally took the time to read the label on one of the many brands of water we see around.
“With its supple and light feel, Nestle Pure Life has a purifying and thirst-quenching effect. Its flowing texture along with its inherent consistency enhances the sensation of refreshment and purity“. Holy shit! Pretentious much? Supple? Is there a water that isn’t “supple”? How about “thirst-quenching“? Stop the presses! They’ve invented thirst-quenching water! “Flowing texture”– I kinda think all water has a tendency to flow. My favourite is “inherent consistency”. Do they even know what inherent means? All they’re saying is that one of it’s essential characteristics is that it has a consistency. Let’s hope it isn’t the consistency of bubble tea or 40 grit sandpaper.
It’s to be stored in “clean, dry, cool and odourless place“. Ok, dry we can do but KAF is the dirtiest, hottest, stinkiest place I have ever been.
Does anybody ever actually call their “Good to Talk” telephone number? What the hell would they talk about? “Hi, I just had some of your water.” “Ok, thanks”. “Bye” “Bye”.
L was busily packing up a large crate for shipment and I asked her if she had everything she needed to ship. “Yeah”, eyeing a moderately sized box,”I just need some muscle to help me lift that in” and she started looking around for someone to help. I was standing right fucking there. So, this got me thinking that maybe I ought to try out on of those goddamn cross fit classes that are always on. So, later that day, I mention to one of our guys, C, that I may give cross fit a try. His eyebrows arch, he gets a look of concern and incredulously inquires “Really?”. “There’s a beginner one” I say. “Oh, good, that might be alright then”. Fuck it, I think I’ll just sulk in my room eating Twizzlers.
You’ll all be relieved to know that an emergency supply of toilet paper has miraculously appeared in our building and the washrooms are being cleaned daily. They still stink like hell, mind you, but at least it is far less likely that anyone will again wipe their ass with an empty cardboard TP roll and leave it on the bathroom floor. And if anyone places the roll of TP on the toilet brush handle such that one end of the roll swells with the poo water it absorbs from the brush, you can always go get a new roll. Things are looking up!
Good Friday my ass.
“I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.”- George Bernard Shaw