Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Cinco de Mayo Madness

Since fighting the Groundhog Day effect is an ongoing battle while deployed, you find yourself willing to make sacrifices to do things that will liven your day. Today, the North DFAC was having a Cinco de Mayo fiesta during their lunch hours-- a meal that normally I am sound asleep through. But my teammate and I decided we needed to spice things up, so I got up 3 hours early and she, as the night shifter, stayed up late so we could go. But things did not go as easily as planned.

At exactly 9:46am (the middle of my night) the smoke detector started going off in the room next to me. I was up like a jack rabbit since a fire in our enormously interconnected CHUs would be devastating. After a solid minute of sniffing the air and listening for crackling all I heard was the racket of the guy next to me trying to turn it off. After a lot of scuffling he got the thing silenced. He left the room. 15 min later it was back at it. I shoved my ear plugs in, pulled the pillows over my head and shut my eyes.

When I woke up about an hour and a half later it was still blaring. I grumbled against it's inconvenience and headed to the shower. I flipped the shower on and was most distressed to learn that with the water turned as hot as it would go, it was no warmer than my University pool. No! I looked at our hot water heater and sure enough, the thing was ca put, on zero. I grumbled some more and decided to wash my hair and face using the nozzle, without getting my body wet. As the water got progressively browner, I knew our water heater was dead.

I entered my torture chamber to get dressed while the alarm continued it's mind-altering repetitious beeps. Soon my teammate and I were ready to depart and she looked at me and said "Be ready, it's ugly out there." Sure enough we're in the midst of a full blown dust storm. Visibility 25-100 meters, the base command even sent out a bad weather warning! Not to be discouraged, we headed over to the DFAC for some celebrating.

As it happened, the place was packed despite the weather and the military and KBR did a great job with the event. They had a pinata strung up from the ceiling, a DJ blasting everything from Shakira to Pit Bull to Juanes, with couples dancing to the more traditional tunes. In an attempt to liven the celebration, (in the noticeable absence of the standard alcoholic beverages) we had Sangria made with Sparkling apple cider, sprite and slices of apples. The had tons of cake available, and bizarrely their main entree was fried chicken which I'm pretty sure is not a Mexican staple. The highlight of the event came when this burly guy was taking a monster swing at the pinata, missed, and sent the broom handle flying into the tables of diners and spectators. Everyone ducked with the military precision of an incoming rocket and the military decided that was the end of the pinata!

We only stayed about 45 min, my teammate at the end of a long day and myself slightly traumatised and sleep deprived, but it was worth the sacrifices. Sometimes what you go through makes the experience that much more memorable.

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