Hi. Welcome to Joeslist for April 8, 2003. It's pleasant breezy evening here in southern Iraq
and for us it's been a slow, "wait for it" kind of day. Much news north of here as I'm sure
you've heard. At this time we still don't know whether Saddam is dead or not, all are hopeful.
Each day, there is a bit more light from the the town of Umm Qasr, and things get a bit less
annoying since the Brit ship "Sir Galahad" came to town. Since yesterday, we've been able to
eat (good food!), (hot!) shower and wash clothes there. I've had a few meals and enjoyed the air
conditioning and satelite TV news several times yesterday and today.

*** News flash! I just head that the ship is "quarentined". I haven't verified this yet. I
suspect that this means we are again screwed. I may be able to tell you this before I wrap
up this message. Hah! It **IS** quarentined due dissentary (spelled right? Naw!). Now I hope
that we don't all get sick.

I took a hot shower (water pressure AND heat at the same time!) and had breakfast, lunch and
did laundry on the Brit ship whil I enjoyed the air conditioning. We had a BBQ with some burgers
and dogs that the ship flew out to us on the copter. Life is good. (Well, it sucks less than
yesterday anyway). I watched TV as SkyTV did a story about the ship that I was on at the time.
Another humanatarian ship arrived yesterday and unloaded. I think that things will start
improving rapidly for the people around here. I certainly hope so. It looks like we'll be
getting out of here soon. I can't discuss where we'll be going or what we'll be doing, though
our work is done. I'll let you know as I can.

A bunch of us got tired of dealing with dirty, stinking greasy hair and shaved our heads today.
So for the next day or so I'll look like a cancer patient or a nazi skinhead (with desert colored
boots!). It sounds kind of extreme, but feels really good.

I've got the TV going while I listen to music on the MP3 Player (Thanks Rusty!). There's no point
in trying to listen to the TV sound cuz it's in Arabic or Farci or ??? So I just look at the pictures.
There are times that they pick up a feed from CNN, Fox or Al Jazeera and you see the english text
in one "window" and another with the "arab dude or dudette" providing translation and possibly
editorial for the Arab audience. We get TV from Iran, Iraq and Kuwait here (on the TV that I
looted from an abandoned office <just like LA!>). Our place is about as wired as you can be in
a dusty, disgusting old warehouse. We have TV, LAN, AC and DC power and lighting. Electric fans
and I was going to steal a refrigerator today, but it looks like I'll be leaving shortly. War
enables you to do things that you'd never imagine youself doing (looting, killing and eating
food made in 1992). I've avoided killing, not caught any diseases (yet) and only looted (actually
borrowed since I'll be returning everything) a bit. We did "open" a few uncooperative steel doors
with a forklift (That was really satisfying! Are you listening Cingular Wireless?). I really did
have a hard time taking the TV out of there, as I just kept flashing back to Rodney King era LA.
Some of our MRE's **WERE** made in 1992, but the government assures us that they remain "daisy
fresh" and edible (they wouldn't lie).

Some of the video on the sat TV was really dramatic and surreal. I know that it was real because
I recognized some of the reporters and places and other things. This whole thing has been a unique
life experience. I may be on a helecopter tomorrow out of here, we'll see how it goes. I also
heard rumors that the 3 of us from Mobile Unit SEVEN may be able to leave ahead of some others.
Lets all keep our fingers crossed (mine are).

Tim Rainer came out on the bird yesterday from the ship. Last night was his first night trying
to sleep (and othewise function) here. He's adapted well, though he had the usual "couldn't sleep
with all the machine gun fire" problem. Before you get really alarmed, all of the machine gun
sounds we hear are not REALLY machine guns. This will sound really odd to you I'm sure but some
of us have these fold up cots that sound EXACTLY like machine guns when you roll over. I don't have
one of these (I sleep on the floor, it's OK though). But the sound they make is exactly like gun
fire. This is a cruel trick, that I couldn't have dreamed up it's so nuts. Your first night here
really sucks. I was here earlier when it was less safe than today and was scared shitless, but
things got better rapidly.I'll close for now but tomorrow brings many possibilities: Saddams demise?
Dissentary? Unexpected travel to another area garden spot/armpit?

Hopefully you'll hear from me tommorow or shortly after.

Talk soon!