Kuwait Int'l Airport - I arrived kuwait to find that I have been "blacklisted" for "overstaying my visa" in 2003. There's not much more alarming than being detained in the head immigration office with a woman who has also arrived here from China and is in a shouting wrestling match with the authorities as they successfully and forcefully deported her.
Although I am somewhat scared because the large and burly Immigration man who is shouting "DEPORTED, DEPORTED," is going to deal with me next... That took 3 hours of negotiation to get word successfully through to the US embassy. The kuwaitis have my passport, my luggage and my return ticket which are all separated from me.
While I am shocked at my predictament, I know that the US is the friend of Kuwait and is generally held in high regard for saving the small oil-rich nation from Saddam's invasion in 1991, so I am finding confidence that there must be a way out of this situation.
But being the intrepid reporter that I am, I took the opportunity to ask many of the kuwaiti officials who dealt with me what their reaction to Saddam's verdict was - they were unanimously glad the dictator would soon hang.
Just to note, in a situation like this, it is impossible to figure out exactly who is really in charge - I never really figured that out although I gather that the chief wasn't the thief who stole my laptop.
At 3a local time, almost 12 hours after I arrived I am incredibly relieved to finally get a new visa and am met by the US Consul General "Sonny" Busa and his lovely wife past the customs barrier in the airport. I have new friends here for which I am forever indebted.
After scrambling a room at a downtown hotel room, saying I slept like a baby is an understatement.
Soon I will connect with my military attache and manisfest on a military flight headed for Baghdad where I will find out what the troops reaction to the election results. From there, it's forward in the field to the Marines on the front lines.
I'm already a little weary, but not deterred in my quest to tell the story of the troops. I read in the local paper today that the Kurdish PM in Iraq was criticizing the US media's portrayal of the war.
And despite what people say about America's image around the world, I was thanful last night that I was an American last night.