Thursday, January 22, 2009

On the boardwalk

The boardwalk at KAF is just about the worst strip-mall you've ever seen. Its one redeeming quality is that it's better than any of the other shopping options at KAF...since there aren't any to speak of.

There's a French bistro that's so new they were still screwing doors on the cupboards when we came in. In fact, there's construction everywhere at KAF, including on the boardwalk. This picture is of a new Italian restaurant that's coming soon.

Lots of stores selling cheap t-shirts and junky knicknacks. A local guy selling rugs. Another one selling leather jackets.

I popped into one of the American PX stores on the boardwalk, and found this little bit of politically incorrect funniness. I saw the logo on this t-shirt and thought immediately of Kathy and Wendy:

The Timmies always has a line-up. Always. And it's full of Americans and Brits and Romanians and Dutch, as well as a healthy contingent of desert CADPAT uniforms. The only reason there's no queue in this shot is that we arrived before it opened in the morning (I know - that was my first thought too: there's a Tim Horton's somewhere in the world that's not open 24/7? Heresy!). Honestly, the base could support two, especially if they delivered like the Pizza Hut does.

One thing I did find interesting about the shops: there's no metal coinage for change. You pay for everything with American dollars. But you get these cardboard pogs back for change. They've got pictures of American soldiers and kit on one side, and an a large-print indication of what they're worth on the other. I kept a bunch for souvenirs for my boy.

Of course, shopping's not all there is to do there. There's a ball-hockey rink inside the square confines of the boardwalk, and a big open space where I saw some people playing a rough game of cricket with a tennis ball, using a cigarette disposal stand as a wicket. When entertainers come in, often the performance is down at the boardwalk, I'm told.

There's also a small memorial there, one of many you seem to find all over military establishments wherever they are.

After spending a couple of days getting shepherded all over KAF, I understood what many of the troops there told me: they'd much rather be out at the FOB's than on the base. It's a huge, muddy (or dusty in the summer) camp, with very few things to do other than work. Oh, Canada House is a welcome place to gather and watch the big-screen TV's, like everyone did for the Obama inauguration the other night. But it gets tired really quickly. And if you're going to lack for creature comforts, you might as well be out at the pointy-end - at least, that's the reasoning I heard again and again from people who'd been out and rotated back into KAF. They were itching to get out again.

You can only walk the boardwalk so many times.

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Blogger WE Speak said...

I guess the carboard pogs make sense, no jingling change in the pocket. Probably a lot cheaper to ship to Afghanistan than real coin.

12:14 a.m., January 23, 2009  
Blogger Unknown said...

Now I'm curious. How'd you find the Timmies closed during daylight hours? I've got pics of soldiers in line ups (inside and out) of Timmies at 4 dark 30...

1:44 a.m., January 23, 2009  
Blogger VW said...

Have you had a chance to visit the PX near TLS yet? Because I'm sure you'll just loooove the cutlery.

9:34 p.m., January 23, 2009  
Blogger Revnant Dream said...

That was an interesting post. Thank you. Have a question though. Are they expecting more American troops?

5:57 p.m., January 24, 2009  
Blogger pst314 said...

The Major League Infidel t-shirt is by Crye Precision ( but their website says that they are down for a redesign/relaunch.

9:14 p.m., January 27, 2009  

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