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14 March 2009

my day off at a war museum

yesterday was the first time in ages that pretty much the entire team had the day off, so we got together by the encouragement of TheTrainer1 to go about 1.5 hours north of here to one of the last battle sites of WWII. i'm not a history buff nor am i really interested in war or war relics, but i figured it would be something to do to get me out of the hotel. we left the hotel around 10:00AM to make our way past the beautiful north coast along the mediterranean sea. TheMech and i went with one of the drivers we brought here from the last site. he's not the best driver or brightest person in the world, but he is good for a laugh (sadly, it's at him and not with him). TheTrainer1 was riding up with a welsh couple he met in the hotel that are moving here for work and wanted to go as well. all we knew was to drive to the north coast and go west. we weren't even sure of the name of where we were going, so once we'd seen the signs for the german and italian war graves, i gave TheTrainer1 a call. we were ahead of him, so we told him we'd meet him at the italian war graves memorial and then head on from there. TheMech and i looked around the memorial which is basically a mausoleum for all the italians killed in the battles at el alamein. we ran into two of the italians we work with inside the memorial and one even showed us his full namesake on one of the marble plaques. pretty weird. there are several alcoves filled with nameplates reading "ignoto", which is "unknown" in in italian. it was really weird to see the name repeated over and over, knowing that even though no one knows the name of the person behind that plaque, they were at least individually called out and marked. as we were finishing, TheTrainer1 called and said they were there... but they weren't, they were at the actual war museum a little ways back. we got directions from their driver and were soon sauntering up to the ticket booth for the el alamein war museum ($1 for non-egyptians, egyptians don't pay).

we began outside with all the large pieces they have. they have maybe 20-30 vehicles in various states of damage from all sides: british, german, italian, and american. there were tanks, personnel carriers, mobile guns, and mortar launchers. there was even a british spitfire jet they'd pulled out of the sea in 1999. the tail was missing, but the wings, cockpit, and engine were mostly intact, and the props were all bent from the impact with the water. i don't think we were allowed to be climbing on them, but security was lax, so i got a picture on a tank, and there's a good one of TheMech driving an old ford personnel carrier. inside, the museum is very much like what TheMom described the mosque she visited in cairo to be. lots of plastic toys and dioramas reenacting what might've happened in various battles and strongholds. the "period" clothing hung slovenly on the ancient and, at times, ghastly looking mannequins. there were spent bullets, fake grenades, model mortars and the like. one of the rooms had a pretty large table map with those plastic army men that boys had as young'ns (green for the axis and white for the allies), christmas lights embedded in it, and switches on the side. especially with the switches, it reminded me of those OLD electric football games. now that would've been badass. instead, the switches lit up different lights representing the six major fronts of WWII in north africa.

we found out that the war graves for the commonwealth (UK, new zealand, australia, etc.) was just down the road from the museum, maybe 200 yards, so we walked down to check it out. it's a really nice tribute to the men who died here. the lay out is quite somber and reflective with an altar in the middle of the grounds and a cross emblazoned with a sword at the front of the theater. the picture at the top of this post is a panoramic taken from just under said cross. i took some pictures of some headstone with various quotes from families and some of unknown soldiers, pilots, and sailors. you can find them in my photostream. i really liked the photo i took here. there is another in the photostream that has some sunbeams shining past the cross. it was a tough decision. as usual, you can click on the pix for bigger versions, and you can see the rest of the photos here. we went back to alex after that, had a few drinks at the portuguese club, then TheMech and i made our friday intoxicated KFC run.

here is a picture of me after standing in the desert wind all afternoon. i think i'm kinda digging the mad scientist look. what do you think? should i cut it or leave it be?

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Blogger swedish chef dave said...


the hair looks great all crazy, I wish i had curly hair, when are you coming down for a holiday, I am getting all my furniture friday so we will be fully functional by the weekend

later dude

dave in the sierras

9:53 AM, April 01, 2009  

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