Celebrity actor D. B. Sweeney,  is probably best known for his
leading role in “The Cutting Edge” and most recently appeared on CBS’s hit series “Jericho”.  D. B. has  participated in numerous tours for the troops over the years and partnered with Stars for Stripes to screen his movie “Two Tickets To Paradise” for the troops.


Today I fly to Kuwait for a short tour of Iraq with actor/writer/director D. B. Sweeney.  He will be screening his movie “Two Tickets To Paradise” for the troops.  Check it out at: www.twoticketstoparadisemovie.com
The lady at the United Counter was less than friendly and the man working the Security line was downright rude.  But I smiled and tried to make them feel bad for being so unpleasant.  Boarded the plane in Nashville only to find that the aircraft has now been downgraded to one of the small little “puddle jumper” jets that I hate.  Good thing it’s only me on the flight and not an artist with a lot of musical equipment.  It would not have made it on the plane.  Going to have to come up with another plan when I take an artist with a band over.  The gate agent made almost everyone gate check their carry on bags.  Then the ground crew came on and said there wasn’t enough room in the cargo hold for all the bags and he had to bring some carry on bags back into the aircraft. Any time “weight” is under discussion, I get a little nervous.   Reminds me of that horrible Blackwater flight from Kandahar to Bagram, Afghanistan this past February with Bo Bice.  We finally took off and I have to say, I was very concerned about “lift off”.   There were 3 contractors sitting behind me and they were going to Ali Al Salem in Kuwait, Balad AB and Al Asad AB –- all places I have visited many times.  Talking to them kept my mind off the plane dropping out of the sky at least and everything was fine until we started to land.  Evidently we were put into a landing pattern and circled and circled – in turbulence. I will be delighted when I am flying on MilAir flights with our military!
I had several hours to kill in the Lounge while waiting for D. B.’s flight to arrive from LAX.  Spent most of the time answering emails and returning phone calls.  He landed on time and is so nice.  I’ve never met him, only talked to him on the phone and exchanged numerous emails.  He has toured Europe with the USO previously and does lots of Stateside visits with the troops.  It’s going to be a fun tour.   He wanted to find a “nice” restaurant to eat dinner so we wouldn’t have to eat the airline food.  There was nothing in our terminal but since we had a couple of hours still to kill, we took the shuttle over to the Main Terminal and ate at a new “Brew House”.   The service was very slow and they ID’ed D. B. when he ordered a beer! Our flight to Kuwait was scheduled to depart on time and we sat in the Lounge checking email while waiting for it to be called.  I decided to get up and check to see if it had been called and when I went out to the gate area, it was empty except for the gate agent.  Everyone was already on the plane! I, of course, had my usual panic attack.  We were the last ones on the plane and even then, we sat for at least 30 minutes prior to them closing the doors and taxiing.  There are lots of empty seats on the flight which is nice.  D. B. moved from his window seat to my row, so we each have an aisle seat and an empty middle seat between us for our “stuff”.  Hopefully there won’t be any turbulence.  I’ve been glued to the weather channel for a couple of days now because I had to fly on Monday and Tuesday this week.  Monday’s flight was definitely worthy of one of my “road kill”  reports.  I got up at 4 am to go to the airport for a 7 am flight only to taxi down the runway and have the plane break.  I had a very limited window of time to make my connection and not be late for my meeting so I got American on the phone and had them change my flight as I was standing in line waiting to be re-booked.  There was only one seat left on the flight that I needed to be on and the agent on the phone was holding it for me.  She couldn’t re-book it since I was already checked in on the flight with the broken airplane.  When I finally had my turn with the gate agent, the phone agent said, “Okay, I’m releasing the seat to her right now.  Tell her to grab it immediately”.   And then the entire Sabre computer booking system went down nationwide!  An hour later, it came back up and my seat was gone.  I was beginning to see it as a “sign” that I needed to stay home.  But, never one to give up without a fight, I hung in there and was re-routed to a different destination that still allowed me to make my meeting in time.  Flight back to Nashville yesterday was uneventful, thank goodness.
I didn’t eat since we ate before take-off.  Tried to watch a movie but was just too tired, so I slept most of the flight, except for the half dozen times I had to get up and go to the galley to beg for water.  United will not give you a bottle of water in business class even though the fares paid for business are outrageous.  Then, the flight attendants don’t come around and refill your glass – except once…I did get one “in-seat” refill out of them.  Nice flight attendants, just not very “attentive” and it’s always this way on the flight from Dulles to Kuwait and back.  Back is worse because the Kuwaiti security is located as you are entering the gate.  You have to throw your water away and then there is no where inside the gate area to purchase more.  Last time I tried carrying the empty water bottle through in my pack and they even took it and made me throw it away.  My thought was to covertly fill my bottle with water from my glass during the meal flight when they would refill it regularly.  Oh well!
We are landed on time and our Visas were waiting for us.  Then we waited and waited and waited for our luggage.  Just when I was convinced I would be spending the entire week in the clothes I had on, all our bags came out at once…the last ones to come out.  They had searched them very thoroughly.  D. B. and I both had a lot of Challenge coins packed and he was actually missing several of his.  Clayton and our security escorts were waiting right outside Customs for us.  D. B. broke his sunglasses and stopped to purchase a pair before we left for the hotel.  He actually bargained with the shop owner – something I’ve never seen happen in the airport and I was very impressed when he got him down on the price!
Hotel had our rooms ready for us and I answered a few emails then hit the gym.  D. B. was already in there working out.  They have a great gym here.  Did about an hour workout and then we had dinner in the fabulous restaurant in the hotel.  Tonight was seafood night and they had fresh fish laying out on a table in the middle of the restaurant.  You just picked what you wanted and they took it outside and grilled it.  Fabulous.
Now I’m back in my room and answering lots of emails.  Keeping my fingers crossed that the dust storm lifts and we are able to fly tomorrow.  I understand that Toby Keith’s group got stuck in Iraq an additional day because of the dust storm.  I don’t mind being stuck in Iraq but don’t want to get stuck here and not make it into Iraq!
So, you won’t get another road report from me until we start home – probably.  Might have access at one of the bases in Iraq.  Just not sure yet.  We will be visiting two bases per day in Iraq and then come back to Kuwait for the final screening and fly home.  Will be back in Nashville on May 6th.

FRIDAY, MAY 2, 2008:
So 1 ½ hours sleep.  Not the way I should start off a tour but couldn’t be helped.  Good thing is D. B. slept and then got up and ran and swam before we departed the hotel at 7:30 am.  We did not eat breakfast at the hotel because I had confirmed that we could eat at the DFAC at the flight terminal before we left.  Only the DFAC closed at 8 am and we arrived at 8:05 am. We were able to “sweet talk” the guy in charge and he let us take some yogurt, donuts, coffee and fruit.
The plane did not arrive until around 10:15 am so in the meantime, I think D.B. visited with everyone at the base.  We went office to office signing autographs and taking photos.  When we got on the plane, it was already packed full of troops and we entered through the back.  We had to sit in the last two seats and there was no way we could climb over everyone to get up on the flight deck.  I really hated that because I wanted D. B. to ride up there.   It was about an hour and a half flight to Balad and much too noisy to chat much with anyone.  When we got on the air conditioning was not working.  Think 110 degrees outside and about 160 degrees inside.  Sauna!  But once we took off, it cooled down quickly.
As we were leaving the hotel, I pointed to a stop sign and asked D. B. what the Arabic lettering looked like.  He immediately answered – “two guys in a canoe”.  I couldn’t believe it.  I emailed Aaron Tippin and Bo Bice to let them know.  Bo’s response was “He’s a redneck, too”!  J  By the way, Bo auctioned off a guitar a couple of weeks ago and raised $2,000 for Stars for Stripes.  Unsolicited!  Is he wonderful or what?
We landed at Balad to really good news.  NOT!   Our luggage was never put on the plane.  I couldn’t believe it.  There were only 4 pieces and it was in the van that took us to the airfield.  A new organization called CAV handles the airfield now and they took us away from our regular escort and made us ride out with them.  That’s when things fell apart.  Knowing how difficult transportation is to coordinate, I fully expected to never see the bags again until about a week after we returned home.  Unfortunately, not only did the bags contain all our clothing but all our autograph sheets, posters, and gifts for the troops.  Our MWR reps got busy and said that Kuwait was going to put them on a plane that was scheduled to arrive at 5 pm.  That would have been perfect because I had about 200 autograph sheets in my carry on bag and D.B. had a copy of the DVD of the movie with him.  We could “punt” for that long.
We ran by lodging and checked….no bags to drop. L  Then we had a very quick meal at the DFAC and went to the Theatre on the Air Force side to show the movie.   My dear friend who is the General at Balad met us with his staff.  I know I have said this many times, but it is evident why he is pinning on his second star.  He truly cares about his “men and women” and always puts them first.  We had a great crowd in the theatre and D.B. spoke to them briefly.  Then the General and his guys took us out to tour the F-16’s.  A wonderful Airman named “Brick” (real name and it definitely fits him) gave the tour.  I have another dear friend that I met in Kuwait who is a Colonel in the Army and his name is Brick – very appropriately titled as well.  I met T-Mack who is now the General’s “go to guy” for me.  I told him he had big shoes to fill since “Willie” who was formerly with the General always met me at the flight line and carried my bags for me.  I did point out that T-Mack was forgiven this once since we didn’t have any bags!  Also re-connected with a great Airman whose call sign is “TUNA”.  I met him in Iraq several years ago.  I do love visiting this base because of all my friends.  The General is leaving here very soon but another wonderful General that I met when he was the Wolf at Kunsan is taking over.  This will be the third “Wolf” in command at Balad…all wonderful men who have quickly advanced to the status of General since I knew them as Colonels in Korea.
We got back to the theatre just as the film was ending and D. B. stayed around and signed autographs and took photos with everyone.  Then we went to the hospital for a visit.  This is the same hospital where Aaron and I met little “Saddam” who had the happy ending to story.  Fortunately, there were very few of our troops in the hospital.  We did meet one guy who had just been shot in the face a couple of hours prior to our visit.  He looked amazing.   His face was very swollen and there was a lot of blood but he was alert and talking.  Even wanted to take a photo with D. B.  He is SOOOOOO lucky.  We also met little “Sarah” – a beautiful little Iraqi girl.  She doesn’t speak English but as we walked by, she started waving at me.  She is 4 years old and lost her hand past the wrist, lost her left eye and her legs are badly burned and are in braces.  But, what a terrific spirit she has.  They said when they asked her what happened, she said “A bomb fell on me”.  Do you see the type of people we are fighting here?  This isn’t Iraqi’s killing their own men, women, and children!  Just breaks your heart.
The final stop on the tour of the hospital was at the Surgery unit.  We could look in the doors and the surgeons were happy to “display” their work.  A local was undergoing surgery on his leg and they were having to remove muscle in his calf and do something.  His leg was split open all the way from knee to ankle and they doctors made sure that they stood aside and showed us their work.  I have a feeling they were saying behind their masks, “Hot dog.  Here come some more civilians.  Let’s see who we can make pass out first!”  J   Let me tell you, if I had looked for one second longer, I would have fulfilled their dream for them.
We had less than one hour to “rest” and with no luggage, that’s about all we could do.  Except I found someone to call on the DSN line and spent my time talking.
Again we had a very quick dinner at the DFAC.  The General and T-Mack met us at the theatre on the Army side to show the film.  I sat between the two of them and watched the entire movie.  The picture was not great but the sound was horrible.  I only understood about every other sentence.  However, there was one very “graphic” comment that was the absolute highlight of the movie.  I can’t repeat it here, so you’re going to have to by the movie on Amazon when it comes out in July to find out what it is.   I couldn’t help laughing but was also concerned because I was sitting by the General.  However, he was laughing harder than I was.  I can assure you that there are troops on every base that watched this movie who are now trying this “comment” to see if it is true.
After the movie while D.B. was signing autographs, my helicopter pilot buddy – Dave – showed up.  I met him when I was here for NYE with the Comedy tour.  He has a huge crush on Karri Turner (what man doesn’t?) and he has stayed in touch with me via email.  He is a real sweetheart.  His chopper pilots are going to be flying us to Baghdad tomorrow.  We got to chat while D. B. signed autographs and he promised to come over to the airfield tomorrow morning since he works the midnight shift.  Get this – our departure time from lodging is 4:00 am!!!
Our bags did not show up at 5 pm on a flight from Kuwait (as I predicted).  We were told that they would be put on a flight with a DV that arrived at 9 pm.  Then, that plane was late and didn’t show up until after 10 pm but the good news is….the bags were on there!!
D.B. and I went with the General and T-Mack to sit on top of their office building and watch the planes.  It was also to “celebrate” his second star.  Hard to celebrate with “near beer” but D. B. and T-Mack also smoked some Cuban cigars.    It was beautiful sitting up there and the temperature was perfect.  I did ask Burt if we should be concerned about “in-coming” and he admitted that he had been face down on the roof before when there was an attack.  Fortunately, we didn’t have one.  It was nice to see the offices where they work and the area where they live.  We usually only get to see the Army side of the base.  The General also let me check my email on his computer.  I couldn’t believe I only had 80 new messages even though I didn’t get to check it all day!
We stayed out MUCH too late. It was after 1 am when we got back to lodging and I only got 1 ½ hours of sleep again for the second night in a row.  I actually showered when I got back, put on my clothes that I was going to wear that day, put on my makeup and laid down on top of the bedspread.  But, what a wonderful, special day with the troops.  I’d do it again and give up whatever sleep was necessary to have another day/night like this one.


Set my alarm for 3 am and was almost dress when our escort pounded on my door and said we had to leave earlier.  Now I KNOW that we are going to have to sit for quite a while and wait on our flight and that it is some civilian in the PAX terminal who is being hard-nosed about our arrival time.  But, we left early and I got to say hello and good-bye to my friend Dave again.  Even bought him a coffee (You owe me one, Dave!  J  )
There was a female co-pilot on our flight and she was featured in Parade magazine when they ran an article about an “all female flight crew” handling a mission in Iraq.  That was pretty cool.  They didn’t have a headset for D. B. but I asked if they could give him one and they did.  We did depart exactly on time but we are not going to Falcon in the IZ as originally -planned.  We actually spent a very long time yesterday trying to re-arrange our schedule.   Baghdad issued a “no fly rule” between noon and 8 pm which meant we had to arrive Camp Liberty before noon since we are staying there and performing there tonight.  Camp Prosperity (in the IZ where I visited February 2007 with Chely Wright) was added to the schedule.  But, our flight took us from Balad to Taji (also been there twice – once with Chely and once with Charlie Daniels) to drop off pax and then to BIAP (Baghdad International Airport) where we got off while they refueled.  We had an hour on the ground, so we had breakfast at their DFAC.  Then we got back on the chopper for the 5 minute flight to Prosperity.   By the time we landed, it was 7 am.  We were scheduled to show the movie at 8 am and get back on the choppers to go to Liberty at 10:30 am.  However, since this visit was a last minute addition, the word did not get out to the troops that we were there and everyone was working.  We decided not to show the movie but walked around and signed autographs for the troops that we could find.  We did go up to the top floor of the bombed out palace and said hello to the TOC folks.
Then we finally got D. B. the haircut he wanted!  I couldn’t believe he let an Iraqi cut his hair.  The first two swipes he made really made me nervous.  Then, he gave him a facial!  He put something on D. B.’s face and used a hair dryer to “set” it.  He must have spent 20 minutes blowing it on his face and D. B. slept almost the entire time because he has had as little sleep as I have.  I videoed the entire thing.  The haircut actually looks pretty good.  The haircut and facial only cost him $14 U.S.
We left Prosperity on time and arrived Liberty on time.  The chopper pilots gave us one little “thrill” on the ride but it was very tame compared to what I’ve had in the past.  But, it was fun for our escorts and D. B.
Maybe our luck is changing because we got rooms in the Palace.  I really wanted D.B. to have that experience.  I am back in the Taji suite and have it all to myself.  Once again, the internet is down and I was so looking forward to being able to hook up my laptop and work on email. L  But, there is a computer center in the Palace and I was able to answer a few.  Wish I hadn’t opened them as there was no “good” news in any of them.
We actually had 4 hours of “down” time (purposely) and after checking email and eating a quick lunch, D. B. and I took naps for a couple of hours.  It was exactly what I needed and he looked tons better afterwards.  He did an on-camera interview and then we went to Al Faw Palace to tour.  He did the “usual” – sat in Saddam’s throne chair and signed autographs for everyone.  I got to meet all the wonderful people that I’ve been working with via email on this tour.  Paul – our main escort who is with us the entire time – is awesome.  But we have several more great ones with us at each Camp.  There is a total of 12 new civilian MWR folks who are now handling entertainment and I like them all.  Unfortunately, several of the military escorts will be leaving soon.  It’s a great group overall and a pleasure to work with them.
While we were in the Palace signing autographs, I noticed a familiar face coming my way.  Our very first escort when I came to Iraq for 2 ½ weeks over Christmas and New Year’s with Craig Morgan and Jolie Edwards in December 2003 was Stew Stephenson.  I can’t tell you how happy I was to see him.  To say that Stew is an “old soul” is an understatement.  This man has the most beautiful “spirit” I have ever encountered.  This is also his third deployment with a total of 36 months when he finishes this one and ALL VOLUNTARY.  He’ll go home for a few months and then realize he wants to be back making a difference and off he’ll go again!  We have stayed in touch via email since 2003 and I’ve seen him twice since then…once with Aaron Tippin and once with Charlie Daniels.  We had some time to talk about that wild and crazy first tour.  The Army just wasn’t prepared to handle entertainment at that time and it’s a wonder we survived.  We actually rode up and down Ambush Alley and Highway to Death for hours on end in soft vehicles during that time!  We had some great laughs that had everyone staring at us and wanting us to share the details.
I stopped by to say hello to General Petraeus’s scheduler – Janel – but she had gone to the gym.  Left her some “goodies”.
We stopped by the Base Exchange and my favorite jewelry store and then went to the DFAC to eat.  I had the best meal I think I’ve ever had in country – Stir Fry.  I noticed that it had the longest line so I jumped in and got some “tips” from the troops waiting.  You get to pick all your ingredients and select from about 10 different “sauces” to cook it in.  Mine was terrific.
Went straight to the theatre after dinner to show the movie.  Again, the sound sucked but the picture was clearer.  I guess I shamed Stew into coming to the movie and we were able to watch it together.  Right after the “best comment of the movie”, the power went down.  It took a few minutes to get it up and running again and they re-wound it to a point just before the “great comment”.  I think they did it on purpose so they could hear it again.  LOL
D. B. signed autographs for everyone and Stu and I shared more stories.  Then Marlene – my first escort in Kuwait again for the Craig and Jolie tour – showed up.  It was a terrific reunion for the three of us.  This has been the highlight of the tour for me so far.
Finished by 10 pm and we don’t have to depart until 8 am via a Marine Chopper.  I sure hope it’s not the one that leaks hydraulic fluid out of the ceiling the entire time but I heard that it could very well be.  Will wear “old” clothes just in case.
I took my shower tonight, checked email, and for the first time was able to write some on my Road Reports.  I honestly have not had time to even turn the computer on for the past two days!  Rarely am I that busy.  Going to bed now and will get up at 6 am so I can check emails before departing.
For the record, D. B. is so awesome with the troops.  Very friendly and spends an inordinate amount of time with them signing autographs and just talking with them.  Everyone recognizes him from the numerous films and tv shows he has appeared in.  He’s been wearing Marine ACU’s and tomorrow we will finally visit a Marine Base.  The Army and Air Force have been giving him grief about wearing Marine pants.  What a trooper he has been to keep on going and going with jet-lag and NO sleep.


Got up at 6 am after not sleeping very much at all.  After dressing, I left the suite to go and try to check email before departing.  My suite is adjacent to another suite and we both share the same bathroom.  Just as I walked outside my door, an older man wearing nothing but a towel walked out of the bathroom right in front of me. I don’t know who was more embarrassed…me or him.  I knew he had to be someone high-ranking because that suite is reserved for Generals, etc.  I asked the front desk and it turns out he is a General from Australia.
As luck would have it, the internet is down for the entire palace.  We departed for the helipad a few minutes late but would still have made it on time except our drivers kept making wrong turns and couldn’t get us on the right road.  We could see the Marine choppers waiting for us, but couldn’t get to them.  Once we go on board, I noticed how much different it is to ride with the Marines.   The inside of the chopper was as spotless as it could be with all the dust.  Absolutely nothing was out of place.  They had a headset all ready for D.B. to use and a cooler full of cold drinks for us.  It was about a 55 minute flight and Paul and I were sitting in the wrong place.  The wind was blowing so hard in the windows that I was afraid my sunglasses would fly off.  They told us to move to the back of the chopper and it was MUCH better.
Our first stop was to meet the Marine General.  He was very nice to us and D. B. and I both gave him one of our coins. He gave D. B. one of his but didn’t give me one L  Guess I am losing my “touch”!
We went into the TOC and signed some autographs and once again found proof that it is a small world.  One of the guys that I was talking to looked familiar.  He turned to his computer and pulled up a photo of him and Chely Wright on the C-130.  He was one our pilots last year when we departed on the “Angel flight” from Al Asad back to Kuwait!
We left there and went to the MWR facility to sign autographs and tour the facilities.  Met a really nice MWR lady who is in charge of the facilities and the theatre.  We left there and dropped our bags at lodging – same CHU’s that I stayed in when I was here with Chely Wright in February 2007.  Then we went to the DFAC for a quick lunch.
Next stop was the hospital.  No one was in ICU which was great news.  There was one Marine there who had his appendix removed yesterday. No Iraqi children either.  The good news is, this area has been “safe” since last October until an attack this month.  This is in the Al Anbar Province – the one I told you about last year and how our troops have had success in “cleaning” it up and making it a safe place to live.
Next stop was a visit with the Seabees and a tour of the MWRAP and humvees.  We saw several “dust devils” as we were driving around the base.  Looks just like a tornado but made of dust.  The Seabees were so nice to us and gave us a great tour of their area.   Then we went to see the F-18’s and the Osprey’s.   I am SO impressed with the Ospreys.  We actually got to go inside one and I’ve started working on them to give Aaron Tippin a ride in one when we come back for Thanksgiving.  Our last stop on the tour was to visit the Combat Team that goes outside the wire.  THAT was very interesting.  Was also impressed to see several women in that Unit.
By that time, it was almost 6 pm so we went to the DFAC for dinner, to the room for a quick shower, and then to the show site.  I was able to get on email for a few minutes and check the “fires”.   This is a large theatre and we had a huge crowd.  The picture and sound was 100% better than last night.  D. B. answered questions afterwards and signed autographs for about an hour.  I met some contractors from Nashville and had fun chatting with them.   Afterwards, D.B. went with the Marines to smoke cigars and I went to check email and make some phone calls.   It’s almost 1 am now and we depart at 7 am for breakfast and then wheels up at 8:45 am.  Guess I’ll close this out now.  It was a VERY full, perfectly organized day.  The Marines really know how to take care of business, don’t they John V. ?  J


Got up at 6:30 am and went to DFAC at 7:15 am for a quick breakfast.  The Marines were manifesting us and we were told to be there at 8:15 am for an 8:45 am departure.  When we arrived at the airstrip, a C-130 was already on the ground and I told them it had to be ours.  Our Marine escort said that it wasn’t ours and a few minutes later, the plane left.  It was ours.  Just when I was bragging on our Marines, they dropped the ball! To make matters worse, while we were having breakfast, a dust storm rolled in.  All rotary wing aircraft was grounded but supposedly fixed wing could still fly.  Since we missed our flight, they are having to scramble to find another aircraft to get us to Kuwait.  We have to be at the airport tonight at 10 pm in order to fly back to the U.S.  Guess we won’t be able to do the screening at Ali Al Salem today!  Of course, we sat out on the flight line for over an hour before we learned that was our plane.  D. B. made the most of the “down time” by signing autographs for everyone waiting for their flights.
Just got word that they have a Marine C-130 flight for us.  We depart at 1 pm which means we should be in Kuwait by 2:30 pm….still time to do the screening.  We went over to the control tower and while D.B. talked to the guys in there, I made some phone calls.  Talked to our contact in Kuwait and asked them if the screening could be moved to 4 pm instead of 3 pm.  Then I found out that we were supposedly flying into Kuwait International Airport instead of Ali Al Salem.  I certainly didn’t want to make anyone angry by asking why we couldn’t go directly to AAS, so I let it go and just told our escorts we would have to drive for an hour across town as soon as we arrived.
We boarded exactly on time and the crew was super nice.  Three guys up on deck and one below – only 4 people.  Usually with the Air Force, there are 6 people.  They let me and D. B. sit up on the flight deck the entire tour.  He got to experience some really cool stuff with them.  The plane was built in 2005 – only 3 years old and it is SWEET!  Spotlessly clean (a la Marine) and has a coffee maker and microwave built into a console on the flight deck!  It was about an hour and a half flight but it went by so quickly.  When we landed, I mentioned something about needed to hurry to get to Ali Al Salem and the pilot looked at me and said, “Are you kidding?  Why didn’t someone say something?  It would have been so much easier for us to go into AAS!”    Now the only pleasure I get out of this is by being able to say, “I told you so!”.  J
We bolted across town and were able to start the screening at 4:30 pm.  D. B. and I went to a DV suite and took showers while the movie was being played.  He finished a lot quicker than I did and went back to the theatre while I “repacked” everything for the flight home.  He answered questions after the movie and signed autographs for everyone.
D. B. wanted to eat on the “local economy” and that was a struggle because our escorts don’t really go into town to eat.  I finally called the Radisson for a suggestion and we went to a terrific restaurant.  The food was excellent and definitely Middle Eastern.  Now I don’t have to eat airplane food.  J
I was able to upgrade us both from Business to First Class which is very, very nice.  We definitely deserve it after the little bit of sleep we got on the tour.  We have short connections in DC, so I’m hoping we land on time – or early!
We landed early after both of slept almost the entire flight.  Can’t believe how tired I was but guess all those nights of very little sleep caught up with me.  Plus there was no turbulence to keep me away.  We landed an hour early which was nice not to have to run through Immigration and Customs.  Flight for Nashville left on time and landed on time.
Again, a wonderful, life-changing trip.  D. B. could not have been any easier to work with or more “genuinely” compassionate with the troops.  I am sure it was life-changing for him as well and just as sure that I’ll get him back over for a return visit.
Let’s support him – his movie “Two Tickets to Paradise” will be out in late June on Amazon.com.  It is available now for pre-sales.   It really is a great, “funny” movie and well worth watching again and again.