Leatherneck, Day 1
Sent August 28, 2009
Last night we came in from Kabul in our body armor to Camp Leatherneck, Helmand province, Afghanistan.
We are traveling with 4 people and 16 cases of equipment. We got to sleep around 4:30 and our first meeting was at 8:30! But much of today has been spent getting our bearings, eating (the food is pretty good and the mess hall is open 24/7) and meeting some potential film subjects.
It is midafternoon and maximum heat (110? 120? Not sure exactly) and naps are being taken and equipment being checked.
Our tent is 2nd from left.
Living quarters are adequate and air conditioned. The cloth duct running along the top of the room pumps in cool air. It is too little by day and too much at night – but so much better than the alternative.
Our itinerary has us viewing the expansion of camp leatherneck as well as moving to some of the places outside the fence that Camp Leatherneck supplies and re-supplies. A city rises in the Afghan desert. And when the NFL starts, the games will be playing in the mess tent in the middle of the night.
Hard to describe how crowded yet desolate it is here.
Will write again as soon as possible.
Leatherneck, Day 2
Sent August 29
Dawn on day 2 at Leatherneck. The thing in the mid-ground that looks like an air mattress is a very large bladder where well water is pumped. It is not drinkable, but is used for showers and toilets and frees up drinking water.
According to our driver, we’re having a heat wave. By late afternoon it is at last 120.
Today we are still planning and scheduling a shoot that grows more complex each day, but we also captured some principal photography of activity at the Main Entry Point of Camp Leatherneck/Camp Bastion (Bastion is the smaller British camp that has been here since 2002).
We saw a cute terrier sniffing the cabs and undercarriages of massive trucks carrying every imaginable kind of goods into camp. As you can surmise, security is the number one issue at the entrance to camp and the procedure for getting in is complex. More on that later.
Contractor truck drivers, their vehicles sniffed and searched, their bodies patted down and their retinas scanned, return to their vehicles to drive their goods into camp.
Marines clean their weapons of “moon dust” using baby wipes.
Crew are well – no injuries, nicks, etc. More soon I hope!