Wednesday, November 30, 2005

This fine-looking group consists mainly of my teammembers, the Long-Range Planners here at Multi-National Corps Iraq. The first three to arrive in country were myself (not picured), Stu, and Barbara (foreground, L to R), followed by Kristy (pink, behind Babs) and Sabah (white checked shirt, middle). Well, today we welcomed our two newest members, JD (white T-shirt) and Dan (gray shirt). They are both former Navy blokes, and we already know they're going to be a great asset to the team. So far, I'm thinking we pretty much kick butt.
I realized recently that I haven't said much about my office. My team is situated inside of Saddam Hussein's Al Faw Palace, Camp Victory, Iraq (see above photo). The palace and its extensive grounds were used by Saddam and his family as a sort of sportsman's resort. There's a pool or two here (not currently in use), tennis courts, and several gigantic lakes stocked with zillions of giant fishies. I think they used to have some game around here, like deer, maybe, for the guests to shoot at. There are many, many smaller buildings all around the lake and on the grounds that used to house relatives and gov't-type folks, but those are all occupied by the coalition forces now. There's also a ton of palm trees that grow dates here, too. I've tasted Iraqi dates, and I agree with our Iraqi advisors that Iraqi dates are the best in the world. They are super delicious. Look. Here's a photo of one, to the right:
What follows is a photo-journal of Al Faw Palace.

Now, in order to provide some more detail about the history of Al Faw, I have attached a lovely photo of the informational plaque found inside the main entrance. Enjoy.

Here is one of the most-photographed rooms in the palace: the royal bathroom. It's huge, co-ed, and quite comfy. (Paul is demonstrating it's immense size.) The toilets are painted with gold, and the floors and counter tops are marble. The stalls are private, with large wooden doors. Very posh, indeed.

This is one of the royal stalls. (Above.) Inside the stall is a royal bidet. (R)Since Americans don't know what a bidet is, each is just used as a spare toilet-paper holder. hahaha.


Here's a shot of the first four members of my group to arrive at Camp Victory, posing in front of the gigantic chandelier that hangs inside the palace. We're on the 3rd floor here. (L to R: Paul, Shannon, Barbara, Nancy)

This is me, Nancy, sitting on what must be the most-photographed couch in Iraq. That's, like, a giant tea pot to the right. Everybody who visits the palace poses for a photo here. All the other original furniture items and artwork have been tagged and relocated to a warehouse somewhere, to be returned when the palace is returned to the people of Iraq.


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