Reporter’s Notebook: Arriving in Djibouti
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By Michelle Tan – Staff writerPosted : Thursday Feb 7, 2008 16:23:06 EST
CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti — The initial bird’s eye view of Djibouti isn’t very impressive: dry river beds and a whole lot of nothing.
But as you get closer to Djibouti City, you see a messy jumble of shacks and small buildings, packed so tightly together they almost look like they overlap.
Photographer Sheila Vemmer said it looked like someone threw those houses across the city like confetti.
Vemmer and I landed in Djibouti at 2:16 p.m. on Feb. 6. We’re here for a month to write about and photograph U.S. troops and the work they do here.
After half a day, I can’t complain. So far, so good, and we’re looking forward to exploring the world outside the wire.
Camp Lemonier, the primary American military base in the region, is a typical military base. Home to about 2,000 troops, this will be our home base while we’re in country.
There’s a very fine looking gym, a basketball court, a Green Beans Coffee, a PX, a laundry facility, rows and rows of chus as far as the eye can see, all the standard amenities you’d find on most mid- to large-sized bases.
What’s not-so-standard is the cantina where soldiers can have three beers a night.
Vemmer and I checked out the cantina briefly tonight — but jet lag knocked us out of there early. I have a feeling we’ll be back.