Working ten hours a day six days a week and a 4 hour day on Friday makes Friday the weekend and Saturday Monday. On the 26th of July I woke up and immediately thought, "I can sleep late tomorrow, but I have to get through Thursday first, then it's the weekend." I got up, got dressed, went to work and it was a half hour before I realized it was Friday the 27th, not Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
So the next morning when I woke up I was ready for a Monday. And Mondays never disappoint. During my first meeting of the day I received word that my trip was postponed 90 minutes. This was a good thing since meetings tend to run long.
When my longer then it should have been meeting got over, I still had time to answer a few emails and put out a few fires before suiting up for the trip to Camp Arena.
Arena is about 2 miles north of Stone and when Camp Stone closes in 5 months the plan is to move everyone from here to there. In its present form it is pretty half-baked. Half-baked indeed since the temperature rose to 109 (or 42 Celsius, technically 42.8, but having already made one DNA reference I prefer a second one as well). At this stage it is pretty much a "fend for yourself" situation so the plan was to reconnoiter for ourselves in order to find a spot we can relocate to.
The one office spot we had tentatively scoped out had previously had one American Air Force Officer in it. Now it has a different American Air Force Officer and an office full of El Salvadorans. Strike one, was our only strike though. Especially since we changed games.
Our next task was one of getting badges for some of our security team. There is one Italian who works odd hours in the badging office. He speaks about as much English as I speak Italian. The one thing I did get was that he couldn't email me, but if I had a thumb drive he would have given me a copy of a picture on the wall. After five minutes and a phone call to Vito, we left to meet Vito.
Vito spoke pretty good English and we were able to solve some of our issues, but for the other issues we had there was another walk to a third office. This one run by a Spanish guy. After about 45 minutes with Vito and his replacement, Vitale, we were communicating rather well and I regaled him with my firm grasp of Italian. He doubled over laughing when I told him I can't speak Italian in Italian.
As we left Vito, I finally used "Ciao!" without feeling like I was trying to be a pretentious, arrogant windbag. So, when in Rome, we did as you might expect. We went for pizza. Despite the fact that there was no meat for the pizza (though there was meat sauce for the spaghetti) it was a good pizza. Everything you'd expect an Italian pizza to be, including cheap because they priced it in Euros.
After lunch, we strolled across the plaza and through some alleyways to another plaza that was Spanish. Here we went for doughnuts. I had a glazed and a chocolate covered one and got 2 to go. Plus I drank a miniature cup of espresso, like Ciao again for the first time without feeling like a douchebag.
We went into at least four different shops in several different plazas just strolling along picking up various "can't live without" items until it was finally time to go back to Camp Stone.
Despite the fact that I was still behind Hesco walls, fences and concertina wire, today was the first time I just felt like a true tourist wending through the unexplored, pedestrian filled streets of a town that spoke another language. Today was a day to fuhgetaboutit all. A good day, great for a Monday.