For this journey through Iraq, I fit everything into a backpack.
But it’s a heckuva of a pack — a Lowe’s Expedition, which looks like an over-stuffed sausage.
It wasn’t so much the clothes — though I did indulge in extra socks and boxers — but the flack jacket and ceramic plates took up an awful lot of room.
I tried tying my new helmet to the outside of the pack but the folks at the Northwest Airlines counter suggested that I might do better to carry it with me.
So along with my briefcase and computer bag, I’m now toting my Kevlar helmet en route from Seattle to Amsterdam to Kuwait, then on to Baghdad and beyond.
Our last view of Seattle was of the Christmas rush. Long security lines snaked up and out of the tram-area for what appeared to be a city block or two long.
The first leg of the flight was a straight shot, nearly eight hours, over the pole to Amsterdam.
We were plied with plenty of food while traversing over Baffin Island, Greenland and other Arctic climes. Outside, the temperature at 32,000 feet was 60 degrees below Fahrenheit.
We left Seattle at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20, and arrived in Amsterdam at 7 a.m. Sunday morning. The morning sky was gray and woolly like...Seattle.
The tarmac was stacked with jumbo jets from around the world. Inside the terminal lots of shops sold cheeses, sausage and cheese pastries that — even more than the duty-free perfume — scented the lobby.
The international travel lounge is friendly place, offering plush reclining seats to help jet-lagged passengers sleep it off before their next flight. We cocooned ourselves here for most of the day, awaiting a 4 p.m. flight to Kuwait.