Al Udeid would not be a bad place to be deployed if you had a domicile which was not a tent and the weather was like February year round. The last time I was here the air was relatively dry, the evenings were cool, and the days were blue skied; hot in the sun, temperate in the shade. The endless white rubble known as Qatar is not so merciful in the summer months. The only ones outside at noon are madmen and Englishmen, as many an Indian has said.
For these few days in Qatar, I have adjusted my schedule, both in deference to the CST which I will soon be rejoining, and, more importantly, at the moment, as a strategy to deal with the heat. I sleep through breakfast and lunch, sit in the Chaplain's makeshift living room (an air conditioned lounge that has wireless internet) until the sun goes down. Then it is time to make the 1/2 mile trek to the dining facility. Here I am again today: bloggin', email'n, surfin', and readin' the news.
The heat here is worse than Iraq. The temperature is not as high, but the humidity is much higher, and when it is 110 and humid, it sits on you like a full length hot towel. You feel like the cheese in a burrito. One can really understand the dish-dash-ah and the gutrah - the long white cloak and headdress, respectively - worn by the locals. I guess every place has a less pleasant/unpleasant season. The 6 months of nasty heat here seems inequitable share of nasty - like an Alaskan winter.
It is a shame to be stuck in this Haji Grand Central Station for over a week (combining time here on the way to and from Iraq) and be unable to get to Doha which is less than an hour drive. Doha is home to a million people. Curiously, most of them are expatriates; a larger portion of whom are laborers from South Asia. The middle east is so different from what we are used to in the US or Europe. It would be interesting to walk around and see how things are done. Under different circumstances, I wouldn't mind seeing Doha, as well as Abu Dhabi and Dubai, which are the principalities of the UAE. That said, I don't see a dedicated trip for the this purpose in my near future.
Alas, here I sit. Alone in the desert, waiting to come home. Interesting how the military creates such intense desire for a 22 hour flight with 5 layovers.