So it looks like I'll be leaving for awhile...


May 10, 2004, 08:40 AM
I've aluded to this in other posts, but here's the score. If you all remember, back in January, High Roader Hal Romberg (hope I spelled that right) posted a thread about defense contracting opportunities in Iraq.

It intrigued me, as I was facing a dilemma. I was halfway through my junior year at college, and my savings were about spent. I knew I could make it another semester or two, but I was sure to graduate many thousands of dollars in debt and flat broke.

And I want to go to graduate school. With a four year political science degree, you can't do a whole lot, and I want a job that doesn't involve a nametag that says "Hi, my name is MIKE". So yeah, I want to get my master's.

Grad school is expensive, though, and I've already got student loans to pay off.

So I applied with a defense contractor. After a long application process, a criminal background investigation, a physical, a drug test, a pistol qualification, and a physical fitness test, I've been approved, pending my giving them a copy of my final NGB22 form (the National Guard version of the DD214) after I ETS in June (they want to make sure I'm not going AWOL; understandable...I just hope the Guard gets the form to me in a quick fashion; I know how sluggish military bureaucracy can be). I have two years in the IRR (inactive reserve) on my contract after I get out, but that's normal for anyone who's in the service (it's longer than two years for some; it's like 10 years for medics!). I'm certainly not letting the remote chance that I'd get recalled stop me from jumping on this opportunity (in any case I've been told they probably wouldn't recall me if I'm already in the middle east, working for a government defense contractor).

So, around the end of June or so (unless something bad comes up), I'll be heading for Qatar. I'll be a security guard for a US military installation there (or "mercenary", as the European media likes to call it. Truthfully, "mercenary" sounds way cooler than "security guard"). The company is providing just about everything (the only necessity I have to provide for is my own food, and I can shop at the base commisary for that), and there're no income taxes or local taxes (still have to pay FICA, though). So, yeah, it's going to be pretty lucerative for me (as least from the perspective of a typically broke college student).

I'm excited about this. I'm less excited about the weapons I'm going to be issued (and AR-15 or M16 rifle and a 9mm pistol of some sort), but hey, it beats harsh language. You've got to understand; Las Vegas is the farthest from home I've ever been, and Canada is the only other country I've been to. This is a big adventure for me.

I'll be gone for one year. When I get home, I'm going to pay down my student loans, maybe buy myself a new (used) car, and go back to school. It was a big decision to do this, but I realized that I don't want to grow old and say I never had an adventure.

I have no delusions that I'm going to love every minute of it. I imagine being on guard for eight hours a day in the 120 degree heat can get old pretty fast; but, working hard for awhile isn't going to kill me. Besides, in the villa the company's putting me up in, I not only get my own room, I get my own BATHROOM. Already my accomodations there will be nicer than my college dorm. Heh.

My internet access will be spotty. Once I officially withdraw from my school, they'll pull the plug on my e-mail account. Once I'm in-country, I won't have a computer, and will have to rely on internet cafes (if they're to be found) for internet access. THR withdrawal is going to be hard on me. :D

My friends are all pretty exicted. My mom is entirely unhappy with the idea, as you might imagine. She's thought up every worst-case scenario you can imagine, from me getting kidnapped and dragged through the streets to me falling love with some exotic Persian woman, getting married over there, and never coming home. I told her not to worry about that; hell, my guns are here! :D

I'm told that I'm going to like Qatar, though, and that it's a really nice little country. I'm certainly looking forward to it. I grew up in a small whitebread town; this whole thing is pretty exotic to me, even if they have a Burger King and a Bennigan's there.

I'm open to advice from other High Roaders that have spent time in the sandbox (especially if you've been to Doha, Qatar). I've never lived in such a desolate, desertified place before (I've been to Utah several times, but I haven't lived there :neener: ), and any advice on adapting to the climate, what to bring, what to wear, etc.; would be much appreciated it.

What are the firearms laws in Qatar like? All I can find is that you can't import them without an appropriate government permit. I'm hoping I can find a range where I can rent guns and shoot on my own time.

Any other tips for living in the middle east would be appreciated too, and I thank you all in advance.

Keep you fingers crossed for me that nothing comes up before I go. This adventure means a lot to me (both internally and economically) and I'll be most upset if it doesn't pan out (espeically after I've gone through all of the application process!)


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May 10, 2004, 08:56 AM
Fingers are crossed, keep us posted when you can.
If I were thirty years younger I might do the same thing.

May 10, 2004, 09:03 AM
Any excuse to get out of writing a new story, eh?? ;)

Seriously, be careful we don't need to lose anymore High Roaders. I'll keep my fingers crossed. If you get internet access send us a note. If you need anything sent over contact us somehow and I'm sure we can help out. (Dri Slide, beef jerky, gun porn, etc)

Stay Safe,

May 10, 2004, 09:04 AM
While I don't really know you I'll be praying for your safe return. Good luck and remember to keep aware of everything going on around you.

May 10, 2004, 09:08 AM
i wish i was 20 yrs younger.....good luck....remember trust no no object.....and dont get in too deep..our bodies are not invincible

May 10, 2004, 09:10 AM
Keep your head down, your wits about you, your awareness up, and your a$$ out of harms way.

Come home safe.

May 10, 2004, 09:14 AM
...but don't you all worry about me. I hear that Doha, Qatar is safer than Detroit, Michigan. You know, granted, that's not really saying much. (Or as I've been known to say, "hell, at least in Iraq you can shoot back!") LOL

What I'm doing is nothing compared to the sacrifices my fellow soldiers, as well as airman, sailors, and marines have been making in the middle east. My gig is downright cushy compared to what my fellow crunchies in Iraq are dealing with.

Thanks for the kind words, though, folks. In any case, I'm off to the gun store. I've got to buy some .45 ammo, then it's off to the range. I'm going to practice as much as I can afford with before I go; I intend to be as proficient as possible before going in-country!

The Undertoad
May 10, 2004, 09:32 AM
Congratulations. :D

Good luck, bro. I remember that thread too, if I had the experience to apply for the job I would have done the exact same thing. Stay safe over there. If there's stuff you find hard to come by but that we could ship to you, feel free to ask. Shoot me an email if you want. Be happy to help out.

I can't imagine living with that sporadic of internet access, maybe I'm just too accustomed to it. Says interesting things about our society (of course most people would care more about the TV...)

May 10, 2004, 09:48 AM
No experience in Doha. Outside town, the sand (fairly fine stuff) can blow around a lot. Sticks to your skin a bit. Probably gets in weapons more than one would like. It gets pretty hot. Don't know what your sun tolerance is. If it's low, come prepared. Should be safer in Doha, than, say, (pick someplace in Iraq and insert here), though.

Internet cafes are fairly common around the ME though. Get a free hotmail account and you'll be set.

Not much help, but I only spent one night in Qatar, and didn't move around much off base. Good luck and stay alert anyway, no matter how safe someplace seems, complacency will get you horizontal.

May 10, 2004, 10:00 AM
Good luck. Stay safe. Take graphite.

May 10, 2004, 10:08 AM
Sounds like a plan!!:)

If it all comes together then ..... it'll be quite some experience and probably valuable at that .. even aside of the fiscal benefits. No doubt you'll let us know when it has all come together and you are departing. Good luck.

May 10, 2004, 10:15 AM
Wishing you the best, Nightcrawler.

Tell me: Is there any kind of health examination before they'll let you go over there? I'd like to get out of Shady Podunk myself... the thing is, I can't join the military because of my headaches (and some say, my eyesight). Do you already have to be a member of the forces?

If there's anything you need, let us know. We'll band together and send you anything we can.

Remember to check six and keep that AR clean.


May 10, 2004, 10:19 AM
Make sure you browse up on the MALL NINJA threads for your new duties as security guard, N/C! :p

Good luck!

May 10, 2004, 10:42 AM
Good luck, stay safe, and watch your six.

May 10, 2004, 10:44 AM
Best Wishes, NC. I hope everything goes well for you. Please try to post at least once in a while as we are gonna miss you, dude. I know nothing about Qatar, but it sounds like you are in for an adventure--which can provide interesting info for more stories (hint, hint--what are the chances of meeting up with Ling in Qatar? Hey, you gotta do something in your spare time.).

Stay safe & God bless you.



May 10, 2004, 10:48 AM
Best of luck to you Brother Mike. I will miss our chats and who will I find to help me torment you know who?

You have my home address and I hope you will write. Let me know if you need anything and I'll get it sent straight away.

You just watch you assets and come back safe and rich. Don't make us have to come over there and rescue you.

May 10, 2004, 11:03 AM
Enjoy yourself as much as possible, make the rough and tough times as good as possible. You only get to do this when you're young and the memories will be forever! Be the best at what you do!

Best wishes and prayers.


May 10, 2004, 11:12 AM

Good luck. Buy some good goggles that will actually keep the sand out of your eyes (as much as possible). Be sure to invest in sunscreen. Drink LOTS of water. PMCS those weapons before and after every shift, as well as after any duststorms.

Most importat of all: DON"T DO NOTHING STUPID!

Good luck and stay safe. The year will go drearily slow at times (most of the time), and brain-spinningly fast at other times. When you get back, consider yourself invited to a TN Mafia Get-Together-Day-At-The-Range-And-BBQ (tm).


Harry Tuttle
May 10, 2004, 11:21 AM
Qatar huh?

learn to say it properly:

buy guns
May 10, 2004, 11:21 AM
you should convince your mom to get you a cheap laptop as a going away present. that way you could go online whenever you need to as long as your place has access ;). good luck over there and remember, if something bad happens, blast metallica as loud as you can.

May 10, 2004, 11:21 AM
NC, feel free to PM me with the info on the outfit you're contracting with and I'll reach out to see if I can find where their logistics system is lacking. That way you wont waste time bringing things that they already provide. Every company is different and they all are weak in one area or another. The big 3 are pretty well equipped from the top down, but some of the smaller outfits struggle with certain areas.

May 10, 2004, 11:35 AM
Can't help with Qatar, but spent a year in Bahrain 30 years ago :what: -sweet jeebus, has it really been that long :what:

I was US Navy at the time, and our work day prohibited outdoor activity between noon and 2PM - temps in the summer run 120-130 F in the shade, some humidity during the winter months but still routinely in the 90's.

During November through January, the dust/sand storms would come off the Arabian peninsula and would etch the glass on cars; it's a fine grit that will get ino everything.

Weekends will be Thursday-Friday (Friday sunset starts the Muslim equivalent of Sabbath) Dunno about Qatar suqs (market places) but ask around for the best exchange bank; in Bahrain the Dollars-per-Dinar rates could vary as much as +/- 10%.

Learn the local manners/customs - don't eat with your left hand, don't point the soles of your feet at anyone while sitting, don't stare at the women, take your shoes off if you enter a mosque; DO haggle when shopping!

Have fun, be careful, stay cool & hydrated.

Watch your six!

May 10, 2004, 11:37 AM
NC - Spent a lot of time in Qatar a couple of years back. Was on the base where you will probably be located cutting open a safe for the crew that was opening the place... Qatar isn't bad. There was a really good pasta place in the food section of the mall up the street from the American Embassy. There is also a Bennigan's, TGIF's, Chilli's plus the usual - pizzahutburgerkingmcdonaldspopeyeskfcponderosa. Whatever you need in the way of junk food. I would suggest that if you want to meet people, find someone who "Hashes". Kind of like hare and hounds through the desert and then a blowout at the end of the run. Most groups get together weekly and monthly. Usually lots of good folks at these, families, single guys and girls - many nationalities. IF you have any questioins in particular drop me a PM or ask them here. The Middle East is pretty much what you make of it. It's real easy to be miserable there, but I had some of the best times of my life there. Been going since '83, living in Jordan now. If you have some questions I can't answer, I can maybe contact a friend of mine at the embassy there. Good luck. And remember to think hats, long sleeves, cotton clothes, and sunscreen...

Jim March
May 10, 2004, 12:20 PM

Check the forums there's a hotbed of Middle East gunnies :). Good people; the site owners are based in...damn, I forget, might be Qatar, it's one of the smaller nations around Saudi. Don't have time to poke around right now, it's in one of the FAQs or something.

May 10, 2004, 01:09 PM
I was thinking about doing something like this too.


May 10, 2004, 01:10 PM
OEF-VET said most of what you need.... keep your skin covered, and don't become complacent (it will get you killed) You should contact the State Dept. and get the current threat assessment

May 10, 2004, 02:45 PM
Be careful over there... use your down time to take notes. Travel is a great inspiration for writing.

One other piece of advice I've heard from a lot of guys who have gone far away to make a little money.. don't spend it. Don't learn to play cards for money. Save plenty. Set up a direct deposit back home, if you can't get to it easily, you can't spend it easily.

May 10, 2004, 03:18 PM
Good luck!

4v50 Gary
May 10, 2004, 03:25 PM
Watch your back Nightcrawler. Soft targets are in for Al Qaeda.

May 10, 2004, 03:31 PM
Like tcdrennan I was in that area 30+ years ago with the US Navy. Things will probably have changed alot but some things will still be the same.

1. Lotsa good sunscreen.
2. Light colored, long sleeved, cotton clothes.
3. Consider good wide brimmed hat.
4. Should look for info on the differences in day to day culture. Navy had a guy that would teach us how to avoid doing stupid fatal, troublemaking actions while there. Don't know if the DOD would have anything like that accessible on the Internet. Check with people hiring you to see if they can offer suggestions.
5. Look into some kinda language course in Arabic/local lingo. Even if you cannot be fluent the ability to get a glimpse of what the locals are saying might give you that little heads up when things go south.
6. Visit several used car lots in your locale and see if you can get the salesmen to help you practice haggling skills. Most in this country have no idea about doing this. Will stand you in good stead in an area where people learn to haggle at their mothers breast.

As for the heat, It is still the only place where you can drink a case of beer and hour and not get drunk or worry about overloaded bladder. :D

May 10, 2004, 04:00 PM
Good luck Nightcrawler! It's gonna be weird not seeing you posting here next to me in the middle of the night. :D

May 10, 2004, 04:10 PM
Going to 'net cafes or american restaurants will make you a target, so minimize exposure with a laptop and eat at the commissary.

PolySci majors with a knowledge of Arabic and the ME should be able to write their own ticket after grad school.

May 10, 2004, 04:21 PM
I wish you the best Nightcrawler, hurry back and keep your ass in one piece while you are in-country. Remember the reasons why you are there and be aware that there are folks here thinking about you. Good luck and carry an extra ammo mag or two... just in case.

May 10, 2004, 04:31 PM
Just remember, let the OTHER guy die for his country. Everything either burns, itches, stings or bites. Eat only from containers that YOU opened. You are a evil foreign occupier. Watch your six. Do not gamble. Direct deposit IS a good idea.

May 10, 2004, 04:38 PM
Heh. Maybe I'll see you over there. Look for me around January. I'll be one of the guys riding a Bradley, instead of my natural habitat, an M1A1.

Good Luck to you.

May 10, 2004, 06:19 PM
I have some friends doing the same, paying off some debts working for security contractors. Seems the job is incredibly dull, but the pay is nice :). Well miss your presence around here. Good luck, and watch your six.

May 10, 2004, 06:30 PM
Good luck, stay safe, and bring back some stories with happy endings when you come home. :D

May 10, 2004, 07:18 PM
Good luck!

I'm one of those guys that would consider joining you if one or two things were different. In my case it is only 4 months military (bad ankle, discharged after basic), no clearance, 50-60 extra pounds, and my religion isn't exactly popular over there.

Anyway, I've never been there but I am interested in Qatar. From what I read it seems you are going to one of the most open and cosmopolitan of the Gulf states certainly, and possibly of all the Arab states. I don't think it should be a bad experience, and if you do it right it could be a great experience.

With a poli-sci degree and experience in the Middle East you are setting yourself up for some good job opportunities later (esp. if you already have a clearance). Be sure to learn the language as best you can, both now and once you get there.

Try not to only hang out with other Americans and other Westerners. Get to know some locals. Maybe visit a mosque now and again, one of the best ways to get strangers to open up is if you seem genuinely interested in their religion (and Arab and Islamic culture tend to be very generous in this respect- they make great hosts).

As Unlucky said, if you play this right, and come out of it with a real knowlege of the country and/or region you will be in high demand, possibly able to write your own ticket.

Also, as other's have said, you may want to consider buying a laptop either before you leave (check up on whether our appliances will work over there- most of the rest of the world uses a different system than we do, I think it is the voltage that is different) or when you get there. If you have your own computer and can sign online whenever you wish when off duty, that should do a lot to alleviate homesickness.

If you won't be able to do this, and you want some THR penpals to keep up with things in general, PM me. I'll be happy to give you my address and be one of your penpals (hmm, I wonder if I still remember how to write a "real" letter :rolleyes: ).

May 10, 2004, 08:40 PM
Good luck dude!!! Thats a ballsy move!!

falling love with some exotic Persian woman, getting married

That doesn't sound so bad to me! BTW Catherine bell is an exotic Persian woman.

May 10, 2004, 08:43 PM
i applied for an international police position on kosovo through dyncorp, but was offered the same job that you took in qatar. i thought about it, but the pay wasnt' quite good enough. i would really like to have them call me and offer that kosovo job though. $90,000 tax free for a one year contract is a LOT of money. the qatar job was only going to be $41,500, not bad, but if i'm voluntarily going into harms way, i want to be getting paid well. enough of my yacking, good luck, and keep your head down.

May 11, 2004, 03:44 AM
Yes, $90,000.00 would be nice.

But, for my training level, with nothing more than my Guard training as experience, and no special security clearance, I'm happy with what I'm getting. The pay will be enough for college money.

Anyway, thanks to everyone for the words of support. I tried to buy my laptop from the university. No dice, as I've only had it for one year. I asked if I could buy a different laptop; nope! "We don't do that", I was told.

So to hell with it. If I need a laptop I'll buy a cheap one when I'm over there. I'll have no use for it back in the States anyway, so maybe I can find an old one that runs on 220 volt current.

Thing is....I do want to go to graduate school, for either political science or international relations. As of yet don't necessarily want to focus on middle eastern studies (if international relations); I was thinking of focusing on Asia, actually! LOL Who knows.

I'm going to try to learn as much Arabic as I can while I'm over there.

Anyways, I get two weeks paid vacation with travel expenses. I think, if I can, I'll go to Switzerland. But there's plenty of time to worry about that yet.

Biggest adjustment is going to be the weather. I come from a cold place.

Oh, I've heard you shouldn't eat the beef overseas. Am I going to get some strange disease eating in a McDonald's in Doha?

May 11, 2004, 04:19 AM
Hope you get hooked up over there, I'm usally hanging out here overnight also :D Good luck and stay safe.
I have lived in several Asian countries and it's a good idea to research or find out right away when you get there whats "okay" to eat and whats not. I can't anwser your specefic question about the beef but your employer or others in the area should be able to help you out. I too would like to go over, but I like my wife and kids quite a bit more. That said, if I was single and could qualify I would have been there already.:)

May 11, 2004, 01:33 PM
Hey NC,

My good buddy just gave me the word too.. He's leaving end of May, so about a week or so ahead of you.

He finds internet access somehow, whereever he goes, I'm sure you will too!

May 11, 2004, 02:01 PM
Desolate like Utah? :p Dude, we are like frickin Hawaii comapared to where you are going!

Seriously, good luck and be careful.

May 11, 2004, 02:10 PM
I'll have no use for it back in the States anyway, so maybe I can find an old one that runs on 220 volt current.

You'll have tons of use in grad school and most PCs will accept 110 or 220 w/o incident. Look in your local penny shopper rag or the local paper for a used one.

Am I going to get some strange disease eating in a McDonald's in Doha?

Lead Poisoning, perhaps? McD's would be target #1 for anyone trying to off Americans.

Beef should be better than something like chicken for number of parasites and BSE is the main thing I think about with beef, which should not be a problem if you don't eat neural tissue. Lamb/mutton and goat (maybe camel) would be the local meats of choice, along with fish or chicken.

McD's would likely keep US level meat inspection standards and the beef is likely US, Australian or Argentinian.

May 11, 2004, 03:22 PM
Am I going to get some strange disease eating in a McDonald's in Doha?

Probably not, but it's been my experience that in the ME, hamburgers taste like hot dogs and hot dogs(when you can find 'em) taste like potted meat. The first place most folks hit after getting home is the steakhouse. Take it for what it's worth.

May 11, 2004, 03:38 PM
So to hell with it. If I need a laptop I'll buy a cheap one when I'm over there. I'll have no use for it back in the States anyway, so maybe I can find an old one that runs on 220 volt current.

Pretty much any laptop on the market (Or made in the last few years) is dual voltage and able to run on 110 or 220.

I know my iBook can, it's just a matter of getting an adaptor plug (Or replacing the plug on the AC adaptor, since it just slides off just for this purpose.)

Good luck, stay safe (Shouldn't be much of a problem though, since Qatar is one of the better places in the middle east from what I understand).

Also, don't they have drinking and gambling allowed in Qatar, or am I thinking of a neighboring country?

May 11, 2004, 03:54 PM
Bahrain is the "Vegas" of the ME, with booze and gambling and the cheapest real Rolexes on the planet (Rolexes = cash in many turd world countries, should you get into a scrape).

May 11, 2004, 04:21 PM
You'll have tons of use in grad school and most PCs will accept 110 or 220 w/o incident. Look in your local penny shopper rag or the local paper for a used one.

True enough. BUT, here's the thing. My univeristy has a "laptop initiative", where all students are required to rent laptops from the univeristy at considerable expense. Most of us get IBM suckpads, a few (those friggin' snotty art students I love so much) get Macintoshes. (Fitting.)

So, if I buy a laptop there, I won't have any use for it here, as once I get back to school I'll have to rent one. (Yes, they still make you rent one even if you have your own.)

May 11, 2004, 04:36 PM
Generally, most folks don't go to grad school where they did undergrad and you probably can use what ya brung elsewhere.

I'd buy a used one and write it off, such that it can get broken, stolen, etc. and you're out a few hundred bucks and if it survives, then it's gravy and you can use it or sell it as you please. You may find that it would bring a premium overseas among guys who didn't think ahead or with a local and that you can get cash for it and buy something else you need on the way home from the ME.

May 11, 2004, 04:40 PM
Generally, most folks don't go to grad school where they did undergrad and you probably can use what ya brung elsewhere.

Yeah, but I haven't graduated yet. I have about three semesters (or a year and a half) to go at my current univeristy. THEN it's time for Grad School. I'm taking a year off and jumping on an opportunity while it's there.

As for graduate school...anybody know anything about the Political Science or International Relations graduate programs at the Univeristy of Utah? I'd like to go there. (PM me if you have anything for me, please.)

Country Boy
May 11, 2004, 05:05 PM
NC - Good luck and God speed. Enjoy the ride.
"A large volume of adventures may be grasped within this little span of life, by him who interests his heart in everything." - Laurence Sterne


May 11, 2004, 05:44 PM
And remember not to surrender to radical muslims because they'll chop your head off with a large knife.

May 11, 2004, 05:54 PM
And remember not to surrender to radical muslims because they'll chop your head off with a large knife.

Surrender? To those kind of people? Like hell. If I get killed, I get killed, but I'm not going to end up on some Al Jazeera propaganda video that ends up in the next Faces of Death video if I have anything to say about it.

May 11, 2004, 06:06 PM
NC, good luck on your adventure.

If you have not done so yet, check out the State Department's website and information on Qatar. Might be of some use.

Also, do have to get vaccinations for anything before you go?

May 11, 2004, 06:27 PM
I'm less excited about the weapons I'm going to be issued (and AR-15 or M16 rifle and a 9mm pistol of some sort)

Hey, what's wrong with 9mm?!?!? Seriously, good luck over there. I have never been to the mid-east, but lived overseas. It can be very eye-opening and will definately give you a different perspective on the world. I learned to appreciate how good things were in the US.

June 17, 2004, 07:28 PM
Well, it's all set and I have my plane tickets. I'm leaving on the 30th of June!

Truth be told I'm really excited.

As for the weapons? 9mm I can live with, would prefer a Ruger GP-100 in .357. M16? Feh. I'll take a FAL, M14, or even an M1 Garand instead, if I can. But, alas, I can't, so at least I'll be using a rifle I'm familiar with.

Anybody want to send me one of those Ontario "diamond steel" M16 bayonets? :D

Only $189.00! LOL

Observe. (

June 17, 2004, 07:45 PM
If I were you, I'd start a journal about the adventure. That way, if something happens (God forbid), you'll be able to parse together an accurate book. Hell, even if it goes well it might be interesting enough for a book. Or, you can use your experience to write a work of fiction where something interesting does happen.

And as far as weapons, I prefer the M1 myself but I would still take a LOT of confidence in a 5.56mm rifle. I also have a great deal of faith in the 9mm.

Good luck! Keep us updated.

June 17, 2004, 09:05 PM
Good luck! If I could, I would think about doing that. Alas, my parents would have a cow and a calf, and I need .mil training anyway. Not to mention the shedding of a few pounds myself.

Please keep us updated. Start a blog on blogspot where we can keep up with you when you dont have time to converse on THR.

June 17, 2004, 09:36 PM
Start a blog on blogspot where we can keep up with you when you dont have time to converse on THR.


No "blogging" for me. I talk too much as it is. :uhoh:

June 17, 2004, 09:43 PM
Hmmm .. a mere 13 days away.

Dude .. if I don't say it later nearer the time ..... very best wishes to you .. and stay safe - watch your 6 at all times.

Devonai's idea/suggestion ... to keep a log/journal . DO IT! It'd be great to have something on which to build your next masterpiece! I forget how long you said you'd be gone .. 6 months? Year? And also forget - will you get on line ever?

I'll keep watch on this thread anyways 'till you leave. :)

June 17, 2004, 09:57 PM
Laptop and 220 v - all you need is one of those laptop cables that has a trnasformer built into it. Most laptops some with those. Look at the lettering on yours if it has one - it should say if it's able to do 220 or not. A cord with a transformer is a lot cheaper than a laptop.

There is a guy at the cz-forum that has been in Qatar as a defense contractor and has made a website with a lot of info. on culture, places to eat, etc. He goes by HungWeiLo and here is his website....

He will be leaving there soon it seems like but you should try to get in touch with him through his website - he's a nice guy judging from his posts and website.

Good luck!


June 18, 2004, 02:04 AM
Take care, I'm somewhat envious:D I'm a little to old and would really need to get back in shape... but that's not whats stopping me. I have four wonderfull people at home, counting on me to be there for them. I afraid my window of opportunity for this sort of thing has passed.

I too would encourage you to keep a log/diary.... and don't forget to check in here and let us know your OK.

June 18, 2004, 02:09 AM
Good luck, Nightcrawler, Qatar is pretty laid back, Doha has plenty of expat Brits and Irish sailors, oil company Dutch, Germans, and Americans, and even some very cool Aussies (check the downtown area). Dubai, UAE is great if you get the chance to go, and Bahrain is even pretty cool (I recommend the 13th floor lounge of the Best Western, and yes, there is a Best Western, and yes, it has a 13th floor).

Contrary to popular belief, most Arabs (even Saudis) could give a damn if you're American, but there are plenty of Iranians, Iraqis, Syrians, and Al Q's that want you dead, so watch your back.

Most laptop computers use an A/C adapter that is universal, so the companies don't have to manufacture a U.S. and a European version. The Dell that I'm typing on can (and has) handled 100-240 volts. UAE and Kuwait have the big three prong Euro plugs, and I think Qatar has the same. You can get the adapter at the airport (your transformer WILL get hotter on 240v). DO NOT PLUG YOUR MODEM CABLE INTO A HOTEL PLUG WITHOUT LOOKING! The hotels there have phone plugs (RJ-11) and ISDN plugs (also RJ-11), which supply a constant voltage sufficient to slag your puny American modem.

If you write a "I'm really poor/high speed-low drag/going to defend my country" letter to Dell, Gateway, or Tadpole (if you're into high speed Solaris UNIX laptops) they are likely to "lend" you a laptop for "evaluation". Same goes for Surefire, Buck, and Leatherman, last I heard. Surefire and Dell at least have no expectation of getting their ***** back.

Just from my experience (especially the modem thing!) and hope you have a good tour!

June 18, 2004, 04:36 AM

June 18, 2004, 04:36 AM

June 18, 2004, 02:19 PM
Thank you for your stories I have enjoyed them very much. I see you are going to Qutar for work. Others here have expressed their conserns better than I.

I could like to donate money to you. If for nothing else to pay for the intertainment from your writings. If it will help you, to write more, finish college, or buy that big knife. Any use is fine with me. Please let me know how and where to donate.

Might suggest a Paypal account so visa and other cards can be used.

Best to you.

Do not be embarrassed to accept my money for your fine work.


June 18, 2004, 02:29 PM
I very much appreciate the thought. However, I cannot accept anyone's money. I've gotten a personal loan to cover my pre-departure expenses, and I write the stories for my own enjoyment.

Again, thank you for the offer, but I must decline. My stories are, and will remain, free of charge. :D

June 18, 2004, 02:46 PM
Stay safe man.

June 18, 2004, 04:08 PM
I've got a hunting/shooting friend in the oil business that moved to Quatar about 3 years ago. He had to leave his guns behind in a storage facility. They live on the company compound. They said it's very western, and extremly hot. They said that the humiditiy can get pretty bad due to the close proximity to the sea. They also said that the sea was too salty to swim in or something like that.

Anyways, I've enjoyed your writings and your input on guns very much. Hopefully, you'll come back safe and with some cash.

June 18, 2004, 06:21 PM
good trip. Hope it's an adventure to enjoy. All the best.

9 m&m
June 18, 2004, 08:22 PM
Stay safe, and GOOD LUCK!!!!!!:) :) :) :)

June 19, 2004, 06:30 AM

I wish I had great advice to give you, but I don't. Stay safe. Whether or not you focus on the Mideast in future studies, a knowledge of Arabic will serve you in good stead-a lot of people in far flung places use it to communicate.

If you plan to get a laptop, get a digital camera, too, and burn it all on to disc.

Others have mentioned visiting mosques and getting to know people as people, and it is a good idea, where safe. You might consider taking some small or easily packed unique to Michigan items, as gifts. NO! Not Molson! :p But small, thoughtful items that you wouldn't find in a base commissary or Qatari mall, something that shows you put thought into the gift. It's a rich culture, and while an Arab might be your worst nightmare of an enemy, you will also not find truer friends.

I envy you-I wish i was going. Enjoy every minute of it!

June 19, 2004, 10:17 AM
The only thing I could think of to give someone over there, that they woudlnt' be able to find there, would be snow.

I don't know how I'd get it there, though. Heh. :D

I get two weeks worth of paid vacation and $1500 in travel expenses. I think that when I take my vacation I'm going to go to Thailand. I've always wanted to go to Southeast Asia, and my professor taught in Thailand for many years so he can give me the skinny on what to see, what to do, and how to get around without acting like a tourist. And, Thailand is cheap, compared to, say, Europe.

(Besides, after eight months in the desert, in a Conservative Muslim country, I might be tempted to go someplace where the women wear miniskirts and such....:uhoh: )

June 19, 2004, 11:33 AM
Good Luck NC.

Stay out of trouble over there.


June 19, 2004, 01:22 PM
R&R in thailand! Whoo-Hoo! Oh, I know, you really just want to look at all the magnificent buddhist temples, not try every bar and club on Patpong road, right? Some unsolicited advice: resist the urge to party and actually go do the boring tourist stuff. $41,500 will not last as long as you might like otherwise.
Be very glad you will be armed, I was not last time I was in that region. The chances of you seeing action are slim, but not zero. Treat everything as a potential incident and stay sharp, this attitude may wear on you in the short term, but you can always decompress afterwards when you come home.
Drink a lot of bottled water, a half liter every hour, especially if you are out in the open during the day. The climate is very hot and suprisingly humid. Look at purchasing Underarmor Cool Gear, the stuff works. A loose shirt over a tucked in undershirt will help with the heat. The locals dress in loose flowing clothing for a reason. Bring a lot of underwear, do not be suprised if you find yourself changing it twice a day, particually socks. Get some kind of desert boots.
Oh, and you will have more spare time than you think, so bring stuff to keep yourself busy. If you enjoy writing, by all means write every chance you get, it will help you pass the time. And take care out there!

June 19, 2004, 03:56 PM
You are talking about KBR?



June 19, 2004, 04:20 PM
Keep your weapon at hand, clean and serviceable at all times.

Ensure that you have your basic load of ammo ready.

Stay in a VERY high state of Condition Yellow.

Do NOT, under ANY circumstances, allow yourself to be captured.

Above all, stay safe, keep your head down and your powder dry, and come home to your loved ones safe, sound and in one piece. God Bless.

June 19, 2004, 08:42 PM
Maybe some small sample bottles of real maple syrup? Don't dismiss good coffee, either.

Strangely enough, college T-shirts are popular everywhere.

June 20, 2004, 12:36 AM
Good luck/stay safe and keep lights out going. :) :) Keep us in the loop when you can.

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