From Babbitt to Baghdad (Part 28)

The U.S. Navy has some of the best bases in the world. Rota Naval Air Station in Rota, Spain is one of them. The base is situated right on the beautiful southern coast of Spain. One can stroll down the cobblestone streets and dart in and out of the numerous retail shops, and coffee houses. The beach area is long and wonderful with a boardwalk.

In Europe, many stone  city structures are centuries and centuries old. Everything is stucco, stone, and tile. A stone sidewalk elegantly flows into a small shop threshold, and then onto a floor built from Spanish mosaic tile. The fresh treats are proudly displayed in glass cases. Once the espresso and chocolate eclairs have been purchased, a warm and friendly wooden chair was waiting in the corner by the window. I would settle in, take a few sips and look out over the street. The road would be filled with little Fiats and scooters with a beep here and there. The sidewalk full of beautiful young Spanish girls with tight Levi jeans, pump boots, and super bras in thin t-shirts. Most if not all had wonderful figures. Their  long thick hair shiny and healthy.

In the evenings, after a sedated walk on the boardwalk, the crew would head to a little Spanish bar and grill. We would sit outside, feast on fresh Spanish fare and drink ice Sangria by the pitcher full. The weather would be perfect as a Mediterranean breezed  blew lightly. On occasions like these, the crew knew that it was a once in a lifetime experience. The normal banter of aircrew would give way to reflection, enjoyment, and simple harmony. Of course one of the loads would utter “Ola” incessantly as the copious beautiful Levi-clad Spanish girls with super bras and high-heeled pump boots wondered by. With each gulp of Sangria, we all became bolder and cheered the Hawaiian Load whenever he  blurted out “Ola!” Soon the evening would be filled with laughter and hilarity. But alas , it would be an early night. The crew would finish the last tasty picture of Sangria and head back to Rota NAS. We would stumble back to billeting and get good rest for the next day’s sortie. A quick stop at Ramstein and then on to McGuire AFB, New Jersey.  The old world cobblestone streets, stone, and tile, would become an asphalt jungle,  franchise fast food eateries, and an Eastern seaboard winter.

There is nothing like flying over the Rock of Gibraltar at 10,000 feet on a clear day. The Rock is massive and strikes awe. On this trip, we were to crew rest in Morroco. We landed at a Morrocan military field and then took a taxi to a nearby city. The morning fog was so thick that one could not see more than a few feet ahead as the taxi driver sped along.

Later in the evening, the hotel bar was full of people. I was extremely jet lagged but managed a few beers while sitting at the bar. One fella was buying 80 dollar bottles of premium hard liquor for the group of people he was with. When he turned to go back to his group, he dropped his Red Box Marlboro cigarettes. I jumped from my bar stool, picked them up. tapped him on the shoulder, and said, “You dropped these!”  He would thank me in perfect English and invite me to his table. He also had a waiter retrieve another bottle of $80 hard liquor.  He then gave it to me as a gift for picking up his cigarettes. He also offered me any of the women at his table for sex. It turns out the guy was a Saudi Air Force pilot who belonged to the Saudi Royal family. All the women at his table were Morrocan whores. He said, “here take her, she is yours and my gift to you!” I was jetlagged to the max, didn’t drink hard liquor, and these Morrocan whores scared the hell out of me. I thanked him and then excused myself from the table.

In Saudi Arabia, women cannot drive cars and must wear the burka in public. In Saudi Arabia, women have no rights and can be stoned to death for even the slightest offense. I found it odd that a Saudi Royal Prince was sharing company with filthy disease ridden Morrocan whores and offering them up to strangers for picking up a pack of smokes from a bar room floor.

Out in the courtyard of the hotel, a Morrocan wedding party was in full swing. It was still going in the morning when the crew jumped in the taxi and headed back to the airfield.



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