Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The "Palms"

The main cantonment area in the IZ where is behind the Embassy, surrounded by a maze of six-foot sand bag walls. Curiously, all of the sandbags are covered with custom-fitted canvas shrouds. The rain tends to soak the sand and rot the coarse weave of the bags, eventually resulting in a large but shapeless pile of spilled sand – my only guess is that someone thought it would be cheaper to cover everything with canvas in an attempt to keep the rain out than to rebuild the sandbags every spring.

This area, which is known as “The Palms,” includes the transient tents, the old CPA mail room, a pool, one of several KBR laundries, the locksmith (“We do Industrial, Home, Palace, and War Zone”), and acres and acres of portable trailers where all but the luckiest spend their sleeping hours. On a clear night you can hear the shots from across the river, and even feel the vibration of the explosions in Sadr City, about three miles to the northeast (one officer told me about the time that she returned to her hooch after closing up shop in the embassy only to find that the entire area was roped off. A rocket had landed next to her trailer, failed to explode, and lodged itself under the metal steps in front of her door. Needless to say, EOD wouldn’t let anyone get in until they had disarmed the warhead, so she ended up spending the night in a lounge chair at the embassy pool).


Post a Comment

<< Home