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  Our man in the Gulf: Back on land
Updated 13 April 2003, 14.49
The Ark Royal
BBC reporter and ex-Newsround presenter Matthew Price has been reporting from the aircraft carrier Ark Royal in the Gulf.
Matthew Price
Our reporter, Matthew Price

But now he's left the ship and is staying in a hotel in Kuwait.

Here he describes what it feels like to be back on dry land.


Diary entry 28:

Sunday

"I am off the ship! In a hotel room with a large bed and doors that you don't have to step over to get through. And I have windows and can speak to people on the phone whenever I like. At last!

My bosses decided it was time to leave when we realised the ship really had finished its main task.

It was nice while it lasted, but it's so good to be on dry land again.

Some of the other media on board left in the early morning. I had to wait for my lift until five in the evening.

So I spent the day packing and saying goodbye to people.

Helicopter taxi

Then, all my bags ready, I climbed aboard the helicopter. Just me and the four crew members. The world's most expensive taxi ride?

But a great one. We took off from the flight deck, and swung away from my home for the last four weeks. Over the waves.

I chatted to one of the crew members. Stan Hall, whose daughters Amy and Sophie are Newsround fans. They live in Cornwall and haven't seen their dad for ages now.

Stan asked if I wanted to see where we were flying, so I stood up and watched through the front windscreen.

And there, land! Kuwait. It came out of the mist, and we flew in low, over the city, and onwards to the airport.

Safe landing


We hovered over the runway for a few moments, and touched down to let a passing US airforce plane take off. Then back into the air for a quick two minute flight along the runway closer to a waiting minivan.

Helicopters are cool. You can touch down wherever you like!

We landed around six. Brian from the Royal Navy's team on the ground met me. We moved my bags across to the minivan, and then I said goodbye to the crew, and got in the vehicle. Last leg of the journey, off to the hotel.

It was great on board. But definitely time to leave.

Life in a way seems more complicated here. The clutter of everyday life is all around. Traffic lights and cars and noise and buildings are what I noticed at first.

Back to normality

That sounds silly, but I've been without any of it for four weeks, so it kind of sticks out a bit.

Things are busier here, on board it was slow and more relaxed. But this is the real world. The ship felt very removed from everyday life.

Where do I prefer? I'll leave you to work that out from all I've written!"



Watch/ListenBORDER=0
Matt on reporting on shipMatt on reporting on ship
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More InfoBORDER=0
WorldALL Matthew's Diaries
PicturesPix: Matthew's life on board
Find OutFull Iraq section
ClubYOUR reports

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Past StoriesBORDER=0
Our man in the Gulf: Watching Saddam topple
Our man in the Gulf: Boredom on board!
Our man in the Gulf: My cabin on 5 deck

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