I caught a ride on a Rhino this morning into the Green Zone, where soldiers from the press information office met me almost as soon as I got off. A Rhino is aptly named. I didn’t get any photos of them, but the are armored SUVs the size of dumptrucks. If Rhinos had puppies they’d be called Hummers, that’s how big they are.
It took longer to get off the Baghdad airport base than it did to drive through hostile territory, but then again once off the base the driver floored it and used a siren to clear traffic. It was still dark when we left, I was in the second of four Rhinos. They have a turret on top, and a soldier scanned the side of the road with a spotlight as we drove. Nothing happened.
The sun was rising when I got off the Rhino in the Green Zone. Again, that’s been the best indicator on this trip, because after only three hours sleep I couldn’t tell what day it was (I know it’s Tuesday morning back home, so I think it’s Tuesday afternoon here).
Two soldiers from the press center met me at the Rhino stop and brought me to the credentialing office, but it wasn’t open yet. We went and grabbed some breakfast, and I met up with some of the soldiers I’d been going back and forth over email with for the last month.
I got in to get my press pass around 9 a.m. It’s just a letter, because their card printer is broken and the new machine hasn’t arrived yet. I’ve been going everywhere with my travel orders and my passport, which always get funny looks because everyone is supposed to have an ID. I thought that was going to end today. Oh well. I haven’t been stopped yet, so I guess it isn’t something to worry about.
Then they took me to my room, another CHU. I said I was going to sleep for an hour or so, which they said was fine because they had to figure out some transportation stuff.
They woke me up at 4 p.m. I slept basically all day. And what’s more, I’m still tired. All the travel has caught up with me, I think. But I’ve got a nice place to sleep tonight, and a reasonable start time of 7 a.m. tomorrow, so hopefully I’ll catch up.
And I’ll also be getting to work. The Rhino drivers are from the 94th Military Police Company, one of the units I wanted to visit. It’s finally be time to pull out the microphone.