Pax Terminal Kabul My Tent as I left Kabul
TEN YEARS LATER #3  Wintering in Afghanistan
The Pax Terminal I Flew Out of in Kabul
February 20, 2012…Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan.  I'm in a new place that I've been to before.   Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan.  I've actually been in the exact room I am sitting in right now.  It was  over 110-degrees last time I was here and crowded with other embed hopefuls.  Now, it's like a ghost  town and the rain has flooded everything including a fair portion of the room I'm in.  Sitting here at 2:00  AM, barefoot, tired but needing to write, I ponder a few things that I've done this week and during my  life.    For most of my life, I've been able to travel to faraway places, sometimes even in my mind.  This week I  said goodbye to a few friends in Albuquerque including the governor.  Then I went and had lunch in  London.  I've been told that sometimes I'm runnin' just to be on the run. Tomorrow I know it is going to  be a long Monday sittin' all alone. Pretty much this world has made me crazy as a loon.  It is one of the  reasons I like to take very long walks.  And so it goes, listening at the speed of the sound of loneliness,  preparing the next leg of this final project called "Ten Years Later". This is the way that my world goes  'round. It is a blessing to walk in spirit, in the zone. There is music in the air.       It was snowing when I walked over to the pax terminal to depart the warmth of my tent and  comfort of my surroundings to push south towards Kandahar.  For years I said I would  never come to Afghanistan in the winter…so, here I am in Afghanistan in a winter snow  storm.  I am glad to do this.  After presenting my documents and badge I was told to put  my bags on a conveyor belt, including my precious carry on with laptop and camera inside.  It was explained to me that there would be zero carry-ons for this flight.  I bit my tongue,  hoped for the best and watched my bags vanish in the snow.    I was shown where to go after passing through screening and sent upstairs to room #1 to  wait.  I was in a room with over 120- local Afghan men who mostly looked like either  recruits or prisoners.  I couldn't tell.  But, all eyes were on me.  I noticed there were some  special US soldiers in the area keeping an eye on these guys.  That was good.  After about  half an hour one of the Afghan men came up to me and said in broken English, "Sir, you  are in the wrong room.  This is for these men only".  Well, I couldn't have agreed more with  him and I went to the next room.  Upon entering the room I was asked to produce a CAC  card.  I told them, "I don't have one".  They said, "oh, you're not American?"  I abruptly  responded, "Oh yes I am…!" Then I produced my "media" badge.  That went over like a lead balloon but I was granted access to the "room" I should have been in, in  the first place.  Soon, I along with about 20-other passengers would board an  Australian C-130 which happened to make in through the storm.  Leave  it to the Aussies to make things look simple.  In years past I lived in  Australia and it is always fun to be among them.  They are loyal allies  and can be counted on in a pinch.  Such was the case this night in a  snow storm trying to get from Kabul to Kandahar.  No worries mate.   Done deal.   The flight was about 90-minutes and we landed in a rain storm that  looked like something even Noah would be concerned about.  The back end of the C-130 was opened as we taxied to the ramp for parking.  I  was concerned my bags would be soaked.  Lucky for me the crew chief  realized the weather and re-adjusted the ramp so water would not hit  the luggage.  We taxied to the parking spot and unloaded.  We were  taken to the baggage area where we all retrieved our bags from the  pallet.  Baggage claim in the war zone.  It works well.  All my stuff was intact.  I phoned my point of contact at the media  center who was happy to hear from me and said she would be there  shortly.  I was not going to be allowed one inch past the red line  without my point of contact as an escort.  This was made very clear to  me by the Air Force security person.  I'm used to it now.  No problem.  The Sgt from the media center picked me up in short order and took  me to the room prepared for me and got me all squared away with the  necessary paperwork. This particular media assistant is among the finest I've come across in all my travels.   It was  now really pouring rain and even my room was a small lake.  All my gear was put up on a top bunk and held safely  out of water damage.  I signed a few papers, picked up a few bottles of water and got my bed ready.    I am in Kandahar.  From here it's a short waiting game to find the folks I'm looking for.  The Army media assistants  here handling me are working on locating my unit.  I'm in good hands.  Each day is a new day followed by another  new night. This is the way that my world goes 'round.    Jim Spiri         
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HELP! Feb 20 - Clay Sauer Feb 20 - Jim Spiri (Left) and Clay Sauer
Jim's first interview with a soldier happens  to be longtime family friend, Sgt 1st Class  Clay Sauer.  Click to hear this amazing  man's story.
The View on the Side of my Tent as I Left Kabul
Clay Sauer Audio 2-20-2012 Listen MP3
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