Sunday, February 25, 2007

Djibouti Souk

Hi everyone! Today is my last full day in Djibouti.

Kristin woke me up very early again. She said we needed to get to the base early because we were going on another field trip. Man, the military sure likes to start early in the morning!

Tony picked us up at the hotel and took Kristin, Keith, and Malcolm to Camp Lemonier's cafeteria again to get breakfast. Kristin told me that we were going to see some special military training. And she told me if I was really good, I would get to ride in a Humvee just like the ones the soldiers in Iraq ride in. I was REALLY excited.

But as soon as we got to the place on base where the Humvees are parked, Tony found out that the military training had been cancelled. I could tell Kristin, Keith and Malcolm were disappointed. I was sad because I wanted to ride in a Humvee. :(

I asked Kristin why we didn't get to go on the field trip. She said we had to get special permission from the Djibouti government to go on the trip. Tony had worked most of the week to get the special permission and he told Kristin that the permission slip was approved last night.

Tony made a few calls and we later learned that the Djibouti military that was supposed to train with the US soldiers had to cancel the training. I'm still not sure why they had to cancel the training. I think Kristin knew I was disappointed I didn't get to ride in a Humvee, so she had Keith take a picture of us by the Humvees.

Keith, Kristin, and Malcolm then decided they wanted to visit the local "souk" or market so Malcolm could get some more pictures for TV. I thought the "souk" would be like the ones I saw with Keith and Kristin in Doha and Dubai. But this "souk" was very, very busy. It was also loud, dirty, and hot! I told Kristin that I wanted to stay in her purse to stay cool (I was kind of scared when I saw all of the people...but don't tell Kristin I said that). Here are some of the photos Kristin took in the souk.

This one is Kristin's favorite.

Kristin had to be very careful when taking these photos. Sometimes the police would stop Keith, Kristin, and Malcolm. I thought they were in trouble but everything was fine once they showed the police a special piece of paper Tony gave to them. Kristin says the paper was a "press pass" that allowed them to work in Djibouti. I think this is like the hall pass we have in school.

I was SO happy when we left the "souk." A cab driver took us back to the hotel and then Tony picked us up an took us back to Camp Lemonier. Malcolm did something he calls a "stand up" for TV. A "stand up" is when a reporter talks in front of the camera. I had no idea! Tony then took a picture of Keith, Kristin and Malcolm.

Then they set up the radio and TV equipment in a big conference room so they could interview Rear Admiral James Hart, the head of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. When the interview was over, Admiral Hart and several other people from the base ate dinner with Keith, Kristin, and Malcolm in the large cafeteria on base. I think this was very nice. I know the Admiral is a very busy person, so it was cool he had dinner with Keith, Kristin, and Malcolm on the last night we were in Djibouti.

I was so busy looking at all of the soldiers in the cafeteria that I forgot to ask Kristin to take a photo of me with the Admiral. After dinner, Kristin stopped at one of the stores on base she calls the "PX." She bought me a backpack and some things to share with my sister and brother. Thanks Kristin!

I would have had a picture taken with my new things but I had to help Kristin get it packed as soon as we were back at the hotel. We leave tomorrow for Iowa. Kristin says it will be a LONG trip, so I had better get to bed now.

Until next time.....