It was a far cry from the Fourth of July parties a world away, but five U.S. Marines in one of Iraq's most dangerous cities celebrated with what they had: a hookah, relaxing exhales of strawberry-scented smoke and thoughts of home.
( ... )
Some Marines chuckled about their last Fourth of July - also spent in Iraq on their prior deployment - when Sri Lankan dining hall workers dressed up in Uncle Sam costumes. In the distance, explosions sporadically echoed in the distance and helicopters raced across the midnight sky.
But the Marines still had their hookah, which had become a center point for socializing after they ran out of DVDs to watch. They bought the pipe for about $45 from an Iraqi shop on their base, which also supplied them with flavored tobacco.
"We get to know people better. We get to be tighter. It's a communal thing," Mallett said after taking a puff from the gurgling pipe.
Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the Open Post.