Got my first rugby run in tonight. My knees are sore, my thighs are sore, did I mention my knees? There were a bunch of Brits and South Africans there, so the rugby was actually at a pretty good level. It was just touch, thank heavens! Imagine playing rugby on a clay tennis court. That is what it felt like. And, from what I understand, this is a major improvement from last year. I haven't really played rugby since October. I am happy to say that the moves are still there...the wind isn't. I could barely breathe. I used cold diet pepsi cans to ice my knees tonight. I can't wait until next Sunday!
I am so glad I gave my team the day off tomorrow. Get to sleep in tomorrow for the first time in a few weeks. Still have work to do, especially with the move over to the other side of the base, but at least I can wake up late.
Not sure if anyone there is paying attention to the elections here or not, but the Iraqi people turned out to vote! There was actually more bad stuff happening than when they had their last elections, too. Just not as dangerous. Sat around with some of our interpreters today and talked about the importance of these elections versus the ones they had in 2005. BIG difference to them. This is the first elections that, in their opinions, has all of the major groups represented...not only that, but their Army and Police are primarily responsible for the security of the elections. There were a lot of attacks today, but most were designed to dissuade people from voting, not to actually injure or kill anyone. I wish that we could have made it through the day with no casualties, but the numbers were far lower than expected. And the voter turn-out was higher than expected. A couple of weeks ago we had a great deal of senior officers here running a battle simulation to practice the election day scenario in Baghdad. There were over 18 news agencies there for the press conference and it was big news for the Iraqi people. I can't help but think that it had a very positive affect on the voter turn-out.
There is really a good mood here amongst the Iraqis. They were proud to show us their purple fingers today. They wear it with pride. Much more pride than most Americans take in participating in our electoral processes...Let's hope that all turns out for the best. We have much to learn from each other's cultures, that is for sure.
3 more days in my hotel-like CHU and then I move into the stone-aged ones. Thanks again Big Army.
Miss you all...