Guamanian barbeques (always with lilting steel drum music in the background) were the social highlight of the week, and the Guamanians were excellent cooks. They have an odd penchant for singing the happy birthday song, and every week they'd gather everyone together before eating, run through the ubiquitous Catholic before-meal prayer, and then point to someone in the crowd and shriek out -- "hey, is it your birthday? It's your BIRTHDAY!" and then launch into the song for no reason at all.
(Guamanian food is generally excellent, and they make a corned beef that they smoke and then cook on the grill that's truly outstanding. I will concede that the one time I got miserably sick in Farah was off Guamanian barbequed fish, dredged in a garlic mayonnaise sauce and grilled in a foil packet, served alongside a lemon juice-cured raw fish ceviche that I knew was folly to eat. Both were delicious but desert ceviche was a bridge too far, and I was incapacitated for days. I have no regrets).
A Guamanian barbeque in full swing. The guy in camo clutching a diet soda is there heretofore un-photo-documented Captain Firepower.
I assumed I'd turn this into a photo post, but it turns out that I have very few photos of the Guam guys -- I usually take photos on missions, and they're always on missions but always in the background, pulling security. The photo below was taken just after one of those missions, as they were unloading a .50 cal from an MRAP. "Take a picture," they told me. "It'll make your mother feel better about you being here."
The guys could start circulating out of Farah as early as Saturday. I'm hoping I can catch up on photographing and blogging about people before the grand exodus begins -- there are hundreds of people who haven't been mentioned here who deserve to be written down, lest I forget them at some point in the future.
On a hillside in stunningly beautiful Purchaman district, Eastern Farah; the truck laden with Afghan Police and Guam guys hadn't been able to handle the grade, and this photo was taken from the window as we drove past them. The Staff Sergeant in the front, one of the SecFor leaders, has an uncanny knack for catching my eye during painfully long meetings and giving me a wink as if to say -- man, I'm glad it's you and not me who's stuck taking notes.