Hockey Day Minnesota in Kuwait: Arrival

FOX Sports North's Jamie Hersch at Camp Buehring in Kuwait.

Courtesy: Jamie Hersch via Twitter

We made it! After nearly 24 hours of travel, we arrived in Kuwait shortly after 10 p.m. local time Thursday night. While we waited for our customs paperwork to go through, I was surprised to see American favorites like Chili’s, Caribou Coffee, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and other places to eat. Same menu, only in Arabic.

Walking out of the airport was interesting, with somewhere around 100 people waiting for their loved ones behind these gates. Imagine a group of 10 Americans walking out and looking around to figure out which way to go. Let’s just say I know how a zoo animal feels being stared at like that. As you can imagine, there are not too many blonde girls walking around there. And by not too many, I mean one.

It’s about a 90-minute drive to Camp Buehring from Kuwait City and we all piled onto a bus with our military escorts. What stood out most was a bunch of tents along the freeway lit up with Christmas lights. Apparently it’s a religious tradition to spend one month camping in the desert at these sites at some point during the winter. But it’s impossible to describe the magnitude of these campsites; they’re everywhere! Tent after tent lining the desert along the freeway.

We finally arrived at Camp Buehring just after 1 a.m. Our FOX Sports North photographer, Ralph Gasow, and I went off to start setting up our equipment and running some initial tests. Everything should be all set to send back plenty of video to Minnesota to help make this Hockey Day Minnesota the best yet.

I learned Kuwait is roughly the size of New Jersey, and we basically drove through the entire country to get to Camp Buehring last night. We’re about 10 miles from the Iraq border, and the base is enormous. There are anywhere from 4,000-5,000 U.S. troops on the base right now, although with all the comings and goings from Iraq, they tell me it’s hard to keep track.

We each have our own rooms in these little trailers, and mine includes a bed, coffee table, desk and couch. I’m told these are much nicer living quarters than what our troops get, unfortunately. It’s much colder at night than I thought (40 degrees or so) but it’s supposed to reach 70 degrees today. Life in the desert!

We’ve got an action-packed day that includes a floor hockey game among the troops as well as plenty of time to get to know some of our fine men and women in uniform. There are roughly 250 St. Paul-based troops here and I think we’re about to meet most of them at breakfast.

I’ll keep blogging as we go, although Internet is somewhat limited here. Glad to be here and I can’t wait to see what life is like on a military base.

FOX Sports North’s Jamie Hersch will be blogging from Kuwait during Hockey Day Minnesota. Find all of her entries here.