...just a few shots of Thanksgiving in Iraq.
Sgt Garrett, Metal (our interpreter while Yoda is on vacation) and I were having lunch with an Iraqi LtCol one recent afternoon. It was the traditional kabob, chicken, vegetables and football bread.
It was a typical lunch, but with Iraqi's, we have to be overly careful to be courteous, respectful and mindful of our actions. You don't shake hands when either of you are eating; you don't talk business when you are eating a social meal, talking with your mouthful is fine, as it implies that your social conversations are more important than the food you are eating; you eat with your hands and you share plates of food.
The conversations were great. We talked about families, Obama and Bush, current events in the US and upcoming Iraqi elections.
Somewhere in the important conversation, I stopped paying attention to what I was doing and started really getting into the points my counterparts were making... the problem was, I was still eating.
...tear off a piece of bread, put some meat on there, some veggies on there and stuff in face... repeat process until you cannot sit up-right any more and then smile and comment on how great the food was....
I like switching the meat between kabob (lamb) and chicken, and switching the veggies, alternating between tomatoes, onions and pickles. That way, each bite tastes different, for at least 6 bites.
In putting one such bite together, I grabbed the bread, put some chicken on there and put a pickle (or what I thought was a pickle) in there and stuffed it in my face. 3... 2... 1....
About that time, an IED exploded in my face and I was on FIRE. That pickle was not a pickle. It was a pepper. My eyes immediately kicked in and tried to water it out, but they were not helping my social standing in the conversation.
OK, it really wasn't that hot, but when you are expecting a sweet, dill-ish taste and you wind up with something resembling a jalapeno, it gets your attention.
I reached for my ... I didn't have a water handy... The LtCol asked me a question (thank goodness for Metal. He noticed I was having a little gastric difficulty and took his time translating.)
I had to use the bread and a bite of chicken to calm the fire a little.
The question was small-talk, so I don't remember it or my answer, but shortly thereafter an IP brought us each in a can of Sprite. That did the trick and I was back in action.
Although I don't think anyone but Metal and maybe the LtCol noticed, but WOW!!!
At that point, I took all the peppers off my plate and strategically placed them on Sgt Garrett's plate (he actually likes them).
(That piece on the right was ALL MINE!) There were several of these cakes, so there was plenty to have for breakfast the next morning.
The Marines who drink got to have two beers a piece, courtesy of 2/9's SgtMaj. Those of us who don't drink were standing ready, just in case something went down... It didn't and all was well..... a sheep.....
The IP's out at Jazeera are well trained and really impressed us with how well they did their jobs. Some mentoring on our part and they will be ready to roll