just updating this thread for anyone wanting any up-2-date info on Ali Al Salem...
this info is all about The Rock (the Air Force part of Ali Al Salem):
As most everyone knows, you will wear PT gear or ABUs on base. civilian clothes are not authorized, except for swimming trunks when at the pool. there's also no alcohol or pornography allowed. altho, if you bring your laptop, who's gonna know you have porn unless you're bragging about it to the 1st shirt?
Everybody lives in hardened dorms now. Each dorm has 2 wifi waps for internet, called DAWGNet. dawgnet is about slower than dial-up. we have 4Mb/sec bandwidth limit servicing 300-400 people at any give time (i've never seen more than 400 people online). you'll be lucky to download anything faster than 10-15KB/sec. youtube, facebook, myspace, etc take forever to load. i get disconnected from gmail chat at least once every 10-15 minutes. however, next month they will be upgrading the bandwidth to 45Mb/sec. that will be nice. also, there are 24/7 quiet-time rules in effect around the dorms. don't be one of the a$$holes that talks and laughs loud to your buddies when walking in the hallway because the hallways echo LIKE A b*tch. you can hear everything that goes on in the hallways.
everyone in the squadron lives in the same dorm. each room has 3 bunkbeds, are assigned 3 people, and has their own shower, toilet, and sink, and has 12 AFN channels. most rooms have TVs. matresses are twin size. lodging is in the middle of replacing all the sh*tty matresses with pillowtop mattresses. they are very firm, so if you like a softer bed then you should bring or have a matress topper shipped out here. you dont have to bring your own sheets and linens out here, but you might want to invest in some. the comforters are pretty small and thin. not to mention, just about everyone ends up turning their bunkbeds into a clubhouse of some sort with the blankets their issued or with linens bought at the bx. every room has about 5-10 220v outlets. you can buy 110-220v adapters at the bx for like $4.
the bx/px is decent. they sell some electronics at inflated prices (a few digital camers, laptops, memory cards, headsets, blah blah blah), along with snacks, pt gear, and toiletries. they have books and magazines, sunglasses, uniform accessories, and boots and shoes. it's open 7 days a week, 9am-10pm. the px on the LSA (Army) side of base is crappy, but is open 23 hours/day. yes, 23 hours.
the chowhall is open 24/7, but serves hot food 4 times a day -- breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight chow. when they're not serving hot food, you can pick up to-go cereal, sandwiches, chips, and some fruit. the chowhall on the LSA side typically has better food because they get their food from the US. our chowhall on the rock is from Kuwait, but it's still pretty good; and we have a much nicer building than the LSA side.
we have a building called The Flex that has lots of recreational activities going on. they have about 20 tables set up for blackjack, poker, whatever. i believe they have texas holdem tourny's every friday night and saturday morning. prizes range from $10-$50 AAFES gift cards. they also have bingo that offer the same prizes. there are 3 or 4 pool tables, and a couple ping pong tables. they just started renting out electric/acoustic guitars. hopefully they'll get a couple drumsets and figure out a place for people with musical talent to hang out and jam. adjacent to the flex is the Hadji Shop. the hadji shop sells lots of bootleg/copied movies and tv shows for $5/dvd, $7/season. There's also a jewelry shop in the same building.
the pool is open 6am-11pm 6 days/week. its a decent pool. they take pretty good care of it. no diving board, it goes from 5ft - 8 ft deep. which reminds me, dont worry about brining sunblock. the med unit has tons of sunblock for free (and johnsons baby lotion, and condoms 8O ).
the gym is open 24/7 and a decent workout room with plenty of benches, dumbells, and kettleballs. the ab room has several weight machines and medicine balls. the cardio room has like 20 treadmills and bikes and bunch of other equipment. there are two racquetball courts inside the cardio room. if you're an experienced racquetball player, bring your own racquet and glove. the racquets at the gym are dented, distorted, and gripless because of retarded and short-tempered players. there's also a basketball court that hosts many organized games for squadrons to play eachother. there is no running track.
this place gets hot during the daytime. at night it cools down to around 85-90. it's very common for the winds to reach 50+knots. dust and sand will fly everywhere so be sure your UDM doesn't try to lowball you. try to get him to issue you a Recon Wrap (http://www.specopsbrand.com/ProductDeta ... roductID=3
, about $15) and polarized sunglasses with foam to keep the sand out. our squadron just had two members get their cornea's scratched from sand because their sunglasses didn't have the foam around the frame.
that said, it also get's cold during the winter months. AGAIN, DO NOT LET YOUR UDM LOWBALL YOU. you WILL need to be issued coldweather gear if you're here during the winter months or else you'll be the only one freezing your A$$ off because your UDM is a piece of sh*t. my UDM gave me the "you're only gonna be there for 2 months during the winter time, so I'm not issuing you those" excuse. guess what, f**k him. i'm having people from my chain of command at home to issue me cold weather gear and foam-padded sunglasses. dumb b*tch, i hope someone paper cuts the webbing in his fingers and toes.
that's about all i have for now.