Camp Gibson is in the north part of Kabul, right up against a rocky hillside, and like most camps designed by DynCorp, it is roughly 200mx200m. I find it interesting that my 40,000sq meters is all that I get for the next year. My trips to the airport, four of them plus the trip home at the end of the year, will be my only opportunities to leave the compound.
So I guess the question is whether or not I’m going to go absolutely street-rat crazy. So far, this is what my days are like (and it’s seven of them in a row before I start another set of seven. . . .)
When I first arrived here, the time differences, plus the altitude, made it really hard to sleep. I slept about 4 hours each night and spent a lot of time watching movies and reading books I had brought with me. I’ve settled down to a more normal sleep pattern, but I’m in bed by 9:30 or 10 p.m., about lunch time in Boise.
I used that crazy jet lag time to set up a normal wake up routine at 5 a.m. It is 6:30 p.m. in Boise and let’s me get some good Skype time with family and most days, with Layne. It also gives me a good 90 minutes before I have to even think about getting ready for work.
I live 30 meters from my desk. I’m at the east end of building 18, and right across the main “street” of the camp, is the finance building, where my desk sits in the east end. So it takes less than 30 seconds to walk back to my bunk, and I get to stop in at my computer several times during the day to see what’s happening on Facebook or whatever. It’s very nice. Plus, the bathroom in my building always seems to have a distinct odor about it, and it takes almost as little time to use my own. I’m never far from my home base. This is good news.
Directly north of my office building is the DFAC, and it opens at 6 a.m., so I normally wander in there by 6:45 or so and eat the breakfast of champions. Out the south door, I’m 20 steps from my office and 20 more to my desk. I’m normally there about 7:15 or so.
11:30 is when I break for lunch and normally just get a snack. Sometimes, I run at 11 and get some lunch after that, getting back to work at 12:30 – when the office actually opens up again.
Another 5 hours later and most of the staff leaves for dinner at 5:30. I normally take this time to run a few miles, then hit the chow hall at 6:00. There are about two nights out of the week that we have conference calls with our headquarters in Fort Worth, TX. They are 9.5 hours behind us, so at about 6:30 -8:30, we either keep working or come back in to talk to the big bosses.
It’s definitely a longer schedule than I’m used to, and in my first two weeks, I put in about 65 hours in each of them. The good news is that I’m salaried! Wait, that’s not good news. Screw it.
So I get home by 7:30 or so each night, a little earlier sometimes and I get to talk to Layne over Skype before she heads to work. It’s at this point that since I’m 10.5 hours in the future that I tell her what’s going to happen during her day. Don’t believe me? Just try to surprise her. You won’t be able to.
A few movies, some reading or mandolin scales and I’m ready for bed. I hear that there are a bunch of people that play in some little poker tournaments, nothing major, but I probably will try to get in on those eventually. I enjoy losing money in a foreign land.
There are a couple of rec facilities, and I fully anticipate becoming the ping pong champion of the Kabul Northern Region, but I’m working my way into it.
I think, in the end, that a year won’t be long enough to make me stir crazy. It’s a small little place, but I think that I’ll find ways to stay busy.