They call it moon dust. Swirling around my ankles with every step, soemtimes sinking in over the tops of my feet. Everyone here assures me that the overal road situation has improved over the last several months. Tons of gravel have been laid on all the main, non-paved routes. Never the less, Kandahar trumps Bagram on dust and dirt.
Situated on a long lost lakebed, there are mountains rising on two sides of the case visible in sharp detail against the early morning sky. By 1000 they have disappeared in the tons of dust and dirt raised by all the traffic. The haze from tactical, NTVs, foot traffic all contribute their share to the air laden with particulates.
I mentioned that MODS are the relatively new modular housing units made up of containers that replaced many of the old tent cities on this NATO base. Mostly they are permanent party. Laid out in columns and rows, it is easy to get lost at night, oh let us say about 200o when walking back from the wonderful new USO tent that has only been open since mid Sept. The numbers run from one end to the other; then starting again at the beginning of the next row. This might just explain why, when I was counting from 5822, I walked right past my location simply because it was on the other side of this particular row. Add in the challenge of absolutely no local street lights (why give the mortars an easier ability to target living locations?) and one can barely see the building numbers over the top of the Alaska barriers.
(you remember Alaska and Texas barriers? – I can cut and past from seven years ago if need be).
And yes, I am schlepping around my weapon. Not always loaded, but always with ammo.