After the Portsmouth Hero’s Walk, the 300 or so of us got back onto the giant plane and took a loooong-ass flight to Germany!
Except for that whole Nazi business, I’ve heard good things about the country, so I looked forward to really experiencing Deutschland. I’m sad to say that Hahn Air Base was, well, less than exciting. I expected lederhosen and accordions, like, everywhere, but instead we got a sad little airport with a hotdog and a beer stand. The beer stand might not sound too bad, in theory, but the reality is that most people – maybe just me – don’t want beer after they’ve been awake for almost 24 hours, unless you’re on crack or something.
However, one guy I was traveling with did tell me this gem of a story: “Man, last time I was here, people got off the plane and got totally wasted. Like, they were making little forts with beer bottles and puking their guts out in the bathroom. It was so bad the toilets overflowed and the pilot had to cut them off. When we got back on the plane, it was not fun.”
So that didn’t happen. Instead, we hung out for three uneventful hours, perusing the tiny gift shop and duty-free store – because it’s Germany, of course there’s a gift shop. The shop had cute little German beer steins and things that were too bulky to drag to Afghanistan, but I DID think long and hard about purchasing a candy string thong:
Damn that general order not to fornicate while deployed! Maybe I can wear it underneath my uniform and feel sexy. So did I buy it? Did I?? You’ll never know.
You’d think a gift shop with candy thongs and nudie playing cards would have an anything-goes attitude, but not toward smoking!
The Germans do NOT approve of your smoking. Germany: “If you have to put something in your mouth, how about a candy thong instead?”
And that was Deutschland. Fun!
Then we flew to Kuwait, which was another seven-hour flight…
Finally in the Middle East, yay! Getting close to Afghanistan, but not happy to learn we had a six-hour layover in an airport with even less stuff than Hahn – as in, there were some seats in the terminal to sit in, and some bathrooms…the end. I took the opportunity to wash my hair and face in the sink like a homeless person. I also brushed my teeth in that same sink, before I saw the sign that read, “Do not use the water to brush your teeth.” Oops. My teeth felt fine, anyway.
The most exciting thing that happened in Kuwait was so many people plugged their doodads into the airport’s less-than-robust electrical outlets that a fuse blew and the power went out in the terminal for about a half hour. The dude working there sighed and said, “I’ll go get the instructions on how to fix it.” Then he went up some stairs, leaned out a window, and lowered down the paper instructions in a bucket tied to a string. Why??? That’s how they roll in Kuwait, I guess?
But yay verily, the power magically came back on and everyone was able to charge their shit, thank god. Then, six hours later, we pig-piled back onto the plane for a three-hour flight to Al Udeid, Qatar…