Friday, 24 February 2012

Heading to Bastion and My Birthday !!

More poor weather in Tarin Kowt last week delayed my departure by two days last week, some very heavy rain and clouds again disrupted air traffic to the point where my outward flight to Kandahar was delayed form Friday to Sunday, even after which I was further delayed for five hours Sunday morning as they cancelled the Chinook flight that I was meant to fly on....
Just as I was departing the terminal (a very fancy word for a very basic facility I might add), I was beckoned by a US Air Force Officer who whispered that the Australians had five seats available on a C-130 departing in twenty minutes if I was ready to go, and yes, I was very much ready to go, so forty minutes later, I was on the tarmac at Kandahar Airfield, such are the oddities of military travel in this country.
Monday was my birthday which I spent at KAF and got lots of fantastic messages on Facebook and e-mail from colleagues from around the world , in particular back home in Ireland, including my wife and kids singing “Happy Birthday” to me on a Skype Call ! Brilliant.
Its hard being away from home on your birthday and even more so in an environment like this but thanks to modern technology and a very thoughtful Pizza from my colleagues at KAF, I made the most of it and it pretty much marks the mid-point in my current stint in Afghanistan.
Tuesday, I took a very straightforward flight down to Camp Bastion in Helmand to take up my new role there, and I have spent the last few days familiarising myself with this vast Military Base which is approximately the size of Reading in the UK.
So far at Bastion, I have met a Badging Officer from  Portadown , a Bus Driver from Limerick and a Contractor walked into my office yesterday from Youghal in Co. Cork, It seems the Irish have indeed infiltrated Camp Bastion.
Otherwise Bastion is vast and spread out and a complete contrast to the small, tight knit environment that Tarin Kowt is, I look forward to making progress here over the coming weeks....