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Wednesday, January 16th, 2002

Time Event
Falling off the edge of the earth
Here I am at UN Headquarters in Laayoune, Western Sahara. Some people would consider this the end of the earth, but tomorrow I'm going even further. Here, we have internet access and cheap phone calls to the US. Tomorrow I head out to my teamsite, where I won't have internet access, and my only connection to the outside world will be HF radio and a really expensive satellite phone (which I'll get to use for 20 minutes a month for free). Fortunately, I learned how to live without internet access while on the Appalachian Trail last year, but I'm still a bit concerned about going stir crazy, especially since I have a much better reason to stay connected than I did then.
On Monday night, I arrived in Laayoune, after being unable to connect to my email or make a phone call back home from Casablanca (if I had had more time, I would have, but I didn't get a chance to try until I got to the airport, which is much less connected than Heathrow). Being able to get my email Tuesday was a good thing. Another good thing was that none of my luggage got lost enroute. of the 7 of us coming from the US for the mission, 4 lost bags, although all but one have them back.
Tuesday morning, I started inprocessing, and since then I've gotten my UN ID and driver's license, my blue beret and scarf, a blue UN baseball cap, and a blue turban (which I need to learn how to wear). I also dropped my luggage off at the cargo office to ship to my teamsite at Mijek, and the guy in the cargo office decided I looked like Steve McQueen. Except for Steve and I both being American and male, I don't see much resemblance between the two of us.
We also got a medical in-brief, and the Korean doctor (the medical unit is all Korean) was playing "Let It Be" on his computer and singing along.
Send Food
As I mentioned in my response to zahl's comment, the US contingent has a shared email account at MINURSO22 [{at}] hotmail {[dot]} com. I can also get snailmail, and would appreciate cookies, chocolate fudge, caviar (obviously in a sealed jar) and toys for the poor kids in Western Sahara (preferably portable, non-electronic ones - dolls, matchbox cars, etc.). For my snailmail address, contact just about anybody on my livejournal friends list (I don't think any of them will mind, and some of them owe me favors anyway), or, if you don't know any of them or are too shy, ask me at the hotmail address. Mail to the hotmail address should have my name in the subject (just BOB!! is fine, Robert or LT Williams if you want to be formal), since the other Military Observer who is forwarding it to me on a floppy needs to know who gets it.

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