Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fighting the War on Terror, One Latte at a Time




OUR STARBUCKS LOOKS LIKE THIS ONE--EXCEPT FOR THE SAND WALLS IN FRONT OF IT AND BLAST BARRIERS ON THE SIDES AND REAR

Now that we are back on base, at least for now, I am back at my favorite place in this sand-covered, blast-wall enclosed corner of the Kuwait desert: Starbucks!! Yes, there is a Starbucks here. More importantly, it is within site of our tent and it is one of the designated Hot Spots that dot the base. We buy Internet service for $12 per week from a local guy who also sells cell phones. But the access card is no gaurantee of service, so the wireless nomads like me move around the base looking for a good signal. Starbucks is one of the best and therefore very crowded nearly 24/7. I get up at 4am to come here and call home on Skype when there is enough bandwidth. At 4am, the place is at least half full. By 6am the 70-odd chairs are full and the good floor spots near the power outlets are filling up.

It really looks like Starbucks too, pine furniture, proper color scheme, snacks next to the register. The drink menu is in English and Arabic which is different than my local Starbucks. The prices are 20% higher than US Starbucks so a Venti latte is $5.

The other difference from the Starbucks at Stone Mill Plaza in Lancaster PA is that all the patrons carry automatic weapons. Whether we are wearing ACU camouflage or PT uniform, we bring our weapons everywhere so almost every table and chair has a rifle or machine gun underneath it. After a couple of days, I got used to M4s and M16s. One day a group of SAW gunners came in to use the internet. I don't know why, but it seemed slightly stranger to see M249 machine guns under tables and chairs than the usual automatic rifles.

Also, Starbucks in Lancaster operates without 6-foot thick sand walls in front and 5-foot high concrete barriers in the back.

A VERY POPULAR FASHION ACCESORY AT OUR STARBUCKS


So for the time being I am fighting the War on Terror, One Latte at a time.