|hello from the other side [letter from shaun]|
|Saturday, November 29, 2003 - Safwan|
|Hey everyone, it's 11:30 pm [classified] time, you're all probably eating lunch right now. Just wanted to let you know that I survived the 17 odd travel hours in spite of horrible movies, an extra refueling stop in Gander nfld., and losing one of my sleeping pills in a harsh shuffleboard game in the officer's mess the night before we left. I'm writing from a terminal in the Metropolitan hotel in the [classified] after spending the day touring around, swimming in and parasailing over the Persian gulf and wandering through the "Suke" markets, being loudly invited to buy everything from Rolex knock-offs to Iranian rugs. We rehearsed in CFB St-Jean, just outside Montreal for a few days and performed a show for the folks there. Dave Broadfoot is hilarious as you'd expect and has been doing these trips since the Korean war. The two members of Adam Gregory's band (who is maybe the most polite and sincere 18 year old I've ever met) who are supporting me in the second, accompanied half of my show, proved to be quick studies. I play the first half by myself and it's been novel and fun. The comedy group are kinda like "Whose line is it anyway" and they're surprisingly funny on and off stage. In fact nobody really annoys me which is nice. After watching the Grey cup we ventured into downtown Montreal where my friend Pavin opened a VIP room for us in his club and we danced and celebrated into the wee hours. The next day we flew to Trenton, noteworthy only for my aforementioned losing of a sleeping pill to Dianna from the comedy people. For the next two days we flew, until finally landing in the camp where we were briefed on all the political and physical weirdness and some protocal as we're here during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, during which devout Muslims fast during the sunlight hours, vast numbers of whom make the pilgrimage to Mecca and then celebrate for a few days starting on Eid which is determined by the lunar calendar. (Forgive me Saf for the parts I'm forgetting, or mangling.) We were then fitted for protective gear and helmets and briefed on how the next leg of our journey will be on a Hercules plane, the big ones you see multiple tanks driving into the back of, and how they do nausea inspiring swoops and dips when in any active zone. Then we travelled here to rest up and prepare. We found out tonight that the next hercules is full, leaving us to enjoy another full day in Dubai, which we plan to spend taking a boat trip through the canal and maybe riding camels/surf boards down some sand dunes. I feel great, I'm safe and I've grown to quite like some of my fellow adventurers. Kabul is going to present some rougher times and less of a chance to interact with the locals, but also a lot of shows and interesting photo/memory opportunities. Wait till you see the pictures from the parachute overlooking the Persian Gulf...I love you, see you soon. Shaun.|
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