Flying in, it looked like flat piles of dust. A river runs through it, like every major city in Iraq, it is the source of life. This river is a tributary to the Tigris, don't know the name yet. With rivers in cities come lots of bridges. Can't think of a reason to live here.
Nonetheless, the city has densely packed housing and buildings in many places. The oil industry keeps this place alive. The city limits are eclipsed by the base so it is easier to get a mortar in here now and then but they don't shoot the rockets anymore. The military here is not hindered by an enemy-friendly media like in the more popular Baghdad. If a shell comes from your house here, the army blows it up no questions asked. That really has cut down on the frequency and accuracy of the attacks here. Most of the time I can't even hear them hit, they are so far away.
Go out at night. Orange firelight punctuates the circular horizon like points on a clock as the oil burn-off fires burn 24/7. So the night is never dark. Plus we have now a bright full moon and no clouds ever for the most part so that you can walk around at night without a flashlight it is so bright. During the day black smoke trails line the sky from those same burn-off flames. Dust makes the air almost constantly hazy. It's a hazy crazy place.
It is only my first day at work and things change daily, so I will tell you more about that later! Have a great Tuesday,