The PSD (personal secuity detail) that guards us is run by South Africans but as well as Iraqis includes Nepali and Indian Gurkas supplemented by Sri Lankins and Filipinos. We have been chatting with them all and one night a Nepali guard cooked us home made Nepali Momos with a spicy sauce. Glenn (from Marquette MI) is also of Hungarian decent and we talked Rudy (our Filipino cook) into making Chicken Paprikash one night. So now we find out our biggest danger here is too much good food and too little excercise. Of course the 12-14 hr days take a toll as well.
This is also a grey zone. The grey color of concrete barriers almost 2 stories high called T walls because they stand on T shaped bases. These are everywhere in the green zone which is safer then most streets. While the T walls are about security there are always the polical realities and surprises like the City lawsuit for $1billion against the US for marring the beautiful city. This is a place of contrasts and seemingly unreal realities when nothing is easy. our local staff sometimes take 2 hours to get to work because of the checkpoints and bureaucarcy, but take it as a fact of life which is hard for us to imagine.
For us the armored vehicles and guns everywhere remind us that this actually is a war zone. The other morning we heard some explosions about 6:30am and asked the gueard in our bus about them on our way to the office. He chuckled and said those were 4 "incomings" (rockets or mortars aimed at the US Embassy) which can pose some danger because their aim is so poor they could land anywhere. Cobra said they don't even think about them until there are a dozen or more at once.