Saturday, July 28, 2007
Chilling at the Al Rashid [W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
THE GREEN ZONE (Baghdad) — Couple of distant explosions this morning, and the incoming alarm sounded.
Other than that, still quiet here in the Green Zone. My Australian journalist buddy, John Martinkus (who works for Australia's SBS World News), and I took a walk over to the Al Rashid Hotel. But not before being physically searched (patted down) at least four times by Peruvian Army guards positioned throughout the maze of checkpoints between our building and the hotel.
At the hotel, we sat in the lounge, had a Diet Coke, and watched some Iraqi businessmen and a few parliamentarians milling around, laughing and talking. Two American soldiers came in and had something to drink.
It's just so unfathomably hot. Even with all the air-conditioners and generators rattling and humming away at full capacity, there is only so much cooling they can do. Everybody is sweating all the time. Whenever we do go outside, it's to make a beeline to a waiting vehicle or another building. At one or two of the bases I've been on over the past few days, simply making a head call (restroom) meant a 100-200 yard walk in the searing — and I mean searing — sun from my particular tent to a line of port-a-johns. Shower trailers were usually farther away.
After about 20 minutes, we left the Al Rashid and made our way through the gauntlet of Peruvian soldiers back to the media center.
Johnny Martinkus and Doug Grindle — a freelance videographer working for FOX News and C-Span — both of whom I met in Kuwait, are heading up to Diyala in a few days to begin work on separate films.
Tonight, I'm slated to take a helicopter out to my own destination with Uncle Sam's Marines.
Editor’s note: Please see this note.
07/28 11:42 AMShare