But on with today’s topic of conversation. Why is it that some really screwed up places I’ve been sent to have no street signs? In Bosnia , there were almost no street signs anywhere…even in the bigger cities. When we went to visit with some local, we had to be able to find the place without using a map.
Usually it was passed on from the last rotation…or somebody would describe how to get there: “Go up the road past the traffic light in Uglivk, then turn right at the next intersection. Drive past the coffee shop that’s still blown up until you get to a blown up house with plastic tarps on the right side. Stay out of the mind field. Turn there and drive to the end of the road.
After being in Bosnia for a few months, I learned how to get around with directions like this. I also went out and drove around as much as I could to be familiar with our AO. I knew the area pretty well by the end of our tour. So well, that I was tasked with some interesting things I might talk about someday.
Each month, our fearless (useless) leaders would have us all drive down to Eagle Base for a meeting and update briefing. This took us about 2.5 hours to drive down there and 2.5 hours to drive back--thus wasting the entire day for nothing. The first meetings were pretty useless, then they got ever worse after that. (dang it, now I’m sounding negative again, oh fuck). At one of the meetings, the female LT, who’ll I’ll call LT “M” was giving a briefing on some of the “mess kit repair” reports our teams had sent back. Most of the other male soldiers referred to her as a MILF (not sure what that means, but I guess something to do with Military??)
During one of her talks, she was explaining how the teams needed to put the full address of whatever or whoever into the report. She said she wanted the Street name and the house or building number.
I put up my hand and asked LT MILF: “Mam, have you ever been outside the wire? With all due respect, you should go out sometime. If you find 3 street signs between here and our camp, a two and a half hour drive, I’ll eat the signs.”
It’s Bosnia , where the streets have no names. They were still in dispute. The streets had local names before WWII. After Tito and the communist took over, all the names were changed to communist type names. After the commies left, the locals began fighting over everything…they even fought over what the streets should be named. So, most of the streets have no sings. I asked a Bosnian mail man (post man for the proper English) how he knew where to deliver the mail. He said: “I just know.”
Some days we don't know how luky we are.
More "Streets with No Names" to follow later. Have a great new year!