The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.

PICTURE AND MOVIE TIME |

November 21, 2007

PICTURE AND MOVIE TIME
Name: Old Blue
Posting date: 11/21/07
Stationed in: Afghanistan
Miblog url: billandbobsadventure.blogspot.com

In an earlier post, I mentioned that it was strange to an Afghan National Army M-113 armored personnel carrier (American made) with a Russian "Dashka" .50 caliber machine gun mounted on it, parked next to a BMP-1 Russian armored personnel carrier, painted in the same livery:

Framed_ob_in_pt

Here they are. This is just bizarre. Brave new world indeed.

Framed_ob_here_are_our_intrepid

Here are our intrepid EOD techs wiring up a couple of 60mm mortar rounds that magically appeared beside the road near one of our favorite ambush spots. Maniac called them in as IED's, which they weren't (yet). There is a reason why we call him Maniac.

 

Well, we had the C-4. Might as well just blow them in place, right? Right.

Framed_ob_this_is_a_room_2

  This is a room full of poppy stems and bulbs. They were saving them for the seeds to plant next year.

"What poppies? Those aren't mine. I don't know where they came from. That is just kindling for the winter fires."

Ummm... yeah.

Framed_ob_poppies

They score the poppy bulbs, which are just below the flowers on the growing plant, with razor tips embedded in wooden handles. Then they scrape off the black, tarry opium resin with a specialized metal tool, a cross between a spoon and a dustpan. Voila; opium. You can see resin residue on some of the bulbs. Kinda makes you want to lay around all day with a hooka, doesn't it?

Framed_ob_looky_what

Oh, looky what we found! Oddly enough, Mr. Taliban guy had an antitank mine (Italian, plastic, very nasty) and four RPG rounds (Russian, metallic, very nasty) buried within feet of the house in which his children lived.

"What? Those aren't mine. My neighbor is angry with me and trying to get me in trouble!"

Ummm... yeah.

We took him with us. And the other guy. And the old man who was selling the opium.

Framed_ob_burning_the

Burning the poppy bulbs along with some marijuana we found on site. We did a dawn raid on this compound to capture a Taliban bad guy and found more than we thought we would.

This is what we did with the mine. Boom. Nice. (Did I say, "Nice"?)

Framed_ob_walnut_trees
Walnut trees in The Valley That Time Forgot. SGT Surferdude and myself were the only Americans to ever go up in there. Truly beautiful. They literally spoke a different language.

Framed_ob_the_peaceful_beautiful

The peaceful, beautiful valley, counterpointed by RPG warhead tips. Art.

Framed_ob_the_bazaar

The bazaar in the little village in The Valley That Time Forgot. A dude in man-jammies, bazaar trash on the ground.

Framed_ob_doorways

Doorways of Afghanistan. I should publish a coffee table book.

Right.

Framed_ob_i_can_however














   I can, however, show you where the doorways of Afghanistan are made. Fascinating, no?

Framed_ob_some_of_these_kids

Some of these kids had never seen an American before. Yes, I have read the book, The Ugly American, and it has nothing to do with my looks.

Framed_ob_the_wily_afghan

The Wily Afghan Black-Crested Rockhopper in its natural habitat. Nature photography at its finest. It took patience to capture these secretive creatures on film... errr... electrons.

Framed_ob_really_cool_house

Really cool house perched among the boulders. The mountain top in the background is over 12,000 feet. Our elevation here was about 7,800. GPS means never having to say, "I don't know my altitude."

The owner of the house invited us to breakfast and served us Nan that was like buckwheat pancakes, and a buttery home-made cheese with chai. Delish. Afghans are very hospitable people.

Framed_ob_the_same_12000_foot

The same 12,000 foot peak, framed from outside the mouth of The Valley That Time Forgot. Yes, that means I was waaaaay the hell back there, and now I'm not. It was a big day. Sandcastle in the foreground framed by trees. More art.

Framed_ob_at_the_patrol_base_2


At the patrol base we became the Afghan kids' version of Saturday morning cartoons every morning. Please get these kids televisions, as this behavior is really disturbing.

Framed_ob_ah_the_beauty

Ahhh, the beauty of Afghanistan.

Comments

What contradictions.

Beautiful pictures!! Did you enjoy your stay? Have a Happy Thanksgiving and we thank you all everyday!!

Great pics!! You've got a good eye. I would like to see more Afghan doors, not that they compare to the jingle trucks, but they're fascinating in their own way. Thank you for seeing the beauty that is there.

What a great travelogue. It's terrific the way you show the good, the bad, the ugly, the intriguing, and the funny all in one little set of pictures. Keep 'em coming.

Great pics and commentary! Stay safe and happy Thanksgiving! We are thankful for all of you.

Great pics and commentary! Stay safe and happy Thanksgiving! We are thankful for all of you.

Great pics and commentary! Stay safe and happy Thanksgiving! We are thankful for all of you.

A coffee table book. Good idea. I'd buy it.

Thanks for the pictures/comments.

All the best.

Definitely!!! Keep 'em coming! Including the videos! You are putting together one hell of a journal! Thanks for the visuals and your eye, and being there...

Thank you for taking the time to put together these pictures (complete with humorous descriptions) to help us civilians see just a little of what you all are dealing with over there. Please take care.

Brilliant. Thanks for that - please take care.

Brilliant. Thanks for that - please take care.

I want a movie made after 1990-ish that's not supernatural-related and is just a really good horror movie. I've seen Halloween and Saw. They were pretty good but not the best. My all-time favorite horror movies are the three Scream movies, and The Last House on the Left.

Movies similar to those? Suggestions? Thanks!

Alright, But the studio has, over the last few months, been seeking both a new writer and a new director for "Mouse," with a number of up-and-comers on the list. We''ll keep you posted when they're hired, but the very fact of development momentum is noteworthy. Paramount has had success distributing DreamWorks Animation's films – the studio currently has the hit "How to Train Your Dragon" out in theaters -- but also has made the most of its few forays into animation production. "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie," a Paramount/Nick collaboration, earned $140 million worldwide back in 2004 (and that was long before the 3-D and hybrid live/animation crazes hit full bore, which could give a jolt to this one if the studio went that way).

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