Sunday, December 25, 2005


The mood was what I expected last night—kind of a reserved festive atmosphere. I got dressed up for the first time since I’ve gotten here and went to mass at 1800, rather than midnight, since I still had to be here this morning at 0500. I grabbed Magnum from his Christmas play (he played Joseph in the service), donned my Santa hat, and we headed to the O’Club for the party.

I guess everyone else had the same idea, since pretty much everyone had the ol’ Santa hat on. They had brought out the full spread of shwarma’s and other Qatari cuisine, so dinner was taken care of. We threw darts, had our three drinks—what I would call a pretty typical night at the club. Until the bagpiper got there.

At around 2245 or so a noise blared through the tent. The conversations stopped as everyone was caught in what I could only describe as awe as a guy playing bagpipes strode into the bar. We had a bagpipe corps (about 20 or so players) that marched with us when I was in college so I was familiar with the emotions that the sound coming from a live performance can stir. Tonight he was playing “O Come All Ye Faithful” and it sent chills down my spine. The entire room was dead silent as he played through the verses, and then we all began to sing on the last verse. It was something I will never forget.

Today they have an equally impressive spread set out for us at the chow hall, with what I imagine will be an equally impressive menu. They’re cutting me out early, so I plan on going to Christmas Dinner with my friends and then watching some movies in my room. I’ll call the family tonight and try to take advantage of the 15 minutes they give us to talk.

Merry Christmas everyone, and a Happy Holiday from Qatar.

God Bless.

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