Navy Entertainment brings Scarletta to the Middle East
All we can say is WOW! What an AMAZING trip!
Swimming with Whale Sharks
Scarletta lead singer Emilee Allan strikes a pose after swimming with whale sharks off the coast of Djibouti, Africa.
As I sit here and reflect on the past 10 days, I can hardly believe all that we have done. Navy Entertainment has given our band an amazing opportunity to entertain our troops on bases all over the world, and we are so thankful! We have reached the end of our trip here in the Middle East, and at this very moment, I am floating on a house boat in the middle of the Gulf of Aden, staring at the rocky hills of the African coast. Across the water to my left, the country of Yemen looms in the distance. We just finished an incredible day full of snorkeling and exploring a pristine reef, and earlier today, we tracked a group of giant whale sharks making their way up the coast. We were able to jump off our boat into the water and watch these enormous 30-foot sea beasts feed on plankton right in front of our faces. If you have never been "up close and personal" with a shark in the wild, believe me...it is intense! Definitely a surreal experience!
Before I get ahead of myself, let me back up and start our adventure from the beginning. We left Nashville on January 10th and we flew to DC. From there, we took a 13-hour flight to Kuwait City, Kuwait. After a short "holding period" in the Kuwait City airport, we re-boarded the plane and took the final 45-minute flight to the small desert country of Bahrain. We were met by our wonderful guide named Hussein, who then took us to the main military base for food. By this point, we had been traveling for 26 hours straight. We were hungry, tired, and ready to pass out. We ate some late night cheeseburgers, and checked into our hotel, the 4-Star Best Western Olive.Our first day in Bahrain was a day off, which allowed us all to rest and get over our jet lag. We walked around the neighborhood a bit, and later we went to base for our meals. That following night was our first full band show at NSA Bahrain. After the show, we discovered that there were two "clubs" that occupied the 3rd floor of our hotel. Being the instigator I am, I rallied everyone to power down some cocktails with me and go see what these clubs were all about. The first club was practically empty, and had extremely loud Arabian dance music playing. There were a few "women of the night" sitting around smoking hookah by themselves, and they were charging $15 a beer inside the club. Needless to say, this place was not exactly our cup of tea. We decided to go across the hall and see what the other club had to offer. This club had a live band playing traditional Bahraini music, and us being musicians, we were intrigued. Before long, a beautiful belly dancer came out and performed for us. We all gave her a standing ovation afterwards. I think we made her night.
The next day, none of us were feeling too great (I think the cocktails got the best of us). However, we pulled it together to go visit Base Pat 5, which houses America's supply of Patriot missiles and their launchers. We did a short lunchtime acoustic performance for the 30 troops there, and then we took a tour of the base. We saw all the heavy-duty radar and navigation equipment used to guide the missiles, and finally, we saw the missile launchers themselves. They were bad ass! All I have to say is don't mess with America! 6
The following day we were able to see more about the country of Bahrain. We visited a giant mosque, and by law, Emilee was required to wear a black full-body burka wrap inside the mosque. Our guide taught us the basics about the religion of Islam, and it was actually quite interesting. Afterwards we went and visited the King's camel farm, which houses over 600 camels.
We then flew to Djibouti by way of Dubai, and when we landed in Djibouti, the airport was a mad house. It was terribly unorganized; bags were haphazardly strewn about all over the place, and all the Africans seemed to be yelling at each other. Getting our three day visas was a challenge, even with our military guide Donald helping with the process. We finally got out of there 1.5 hours later, and began making our way to Camp Lemonier, the only American military base on the continent of Africa.
We had heard from troops on other bases that Djibouti was not a fun place to be. They said the people there were miserable, and that we should expect the worst. However, upon arrival at the base, nothing could be further from the truth! Everyone there was incredibly friendly to us, the food was amazing, and we got to see and do some incredible things. We slept in these small cargo ship containers called "CLU's" that were outfitted with a twin bed, a sink, and a small bathroom. There was an A/C unit on the wall, which kept them nice and cool. Despite their funny look on the outside, they were actually quite comfortable. I slept like a baby most nights.
We got to meet most of the individual units on base in Djibouti, and they even let us handle some of their weapons. Benji wore a sniper suit, which smelled terrible. (Apparently it's bad luck for a sniper to wash his camouflage...gross!). That night we had an AMAZING show on base, and the crowd even called for an encore. The show the next night was great too.
Big thanks to Navy Entertainment for bringing us to such amazing places and for providing us with such memorable adventures. This was quite a journey, one we won't soon forget!
-Scarletta We would like to give a special shout to our sound and lights man Bill Price, who made us sound great everywhere we went.
STAY TUNED FOR THE RELEASE OF THE NEW ALBUM THIS SPRING!