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100 People, 100 Places: Vodka in Evian Bottles

I’ve been thinking about some of the strange and interesting experiences that I had in Kabul, a place where many people had graduated from contracting in Iraq to contracting in Afghanistan.

One ordinary night, someone I had recently met, asked if I’d like to come along as she delivered portable loos to an American base, which I agreed to, of course.

The guards at the gate cleared her vehicle and we drove in past the barricades with these rows of plastic toilets in tow, and a bunch of plastic water bottles on the seat.  No one would have thought anything of it as everyone carried plastic water bottles and on the base hundreds of crates were stacked all over, for the purposes of drinking to combat dehydration in the high altitude and heat.

Except the liquid inside these water bottles wasn’t fresh, clean water, instead my friend had smuggled vodka onto the base, which she kindly distributed to grateful American soldiers who were forbidden to drink while deployed. And I now had my answer to the question of why she was so popular.

I hope the recipients of the ‘mineral water’ enjoyed their tipple although I don’t know for sure, but I do know that sometime later the bootlegger went to prison in the States for business irregularities that related back to her contracting days in Iraq. I wonder if anyone was able to smuggle vodka in water bottles into prison in the US?

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